Dec 312013

photo by Andy Ensslin

(I asked Topon Das, founder and guitarist of Canadian grind marauders Fuck the Facts, to share with us some of his favorite releases of 2013, and here are his thoughts about four of them.  And if you want an interesting change of pace, check out the latest release by another of his projects, Merderahta.)


GorgutsColored Sands

Gorguts is one of those bands that really have no room for a dud and even a good album has a hard time sticking out in their strong discography. Colored Sands isn’t going to usurp Erosion of Sanity as my favorite album of theirs, but it is really nice to hear Luc Lemay still making great mind-bending metal in 2013. There are a lot of really great riffs and ideas that might seem complex on the surface, but falling into their groove is  still extremely easy. This has always been one of Gorguts’ strong points. Continue reading »

Dec 312013

(In this new edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews the discography of Derelict Earth from Grenoble,GFrance.)

Recommended for fans of: Cormorant, Alcest, Borknagar

Like I’ve said before, writing each edition of The Synn Report takes up a fair bit of time. And, since my job is pretty busy these days – and involves a lot of writing/typing – it sometimes takes me a while before I have a chance to really settle into the groove of things, to find the energy and the impetus to put finger to keyboard and rattle off a new edition.

I do try and keep to a “one per month” rule, but sometimes that slips. It’s unavoidable. So, with that in mind, please consider this particular entry, the second for December (and the last of 2013), as recompense for the lack of one last month.

You see I’ve been wanting to talk about Derelict Earth for a while, but the timing’s never been quite right. Until now.

The brainchild of one man – Quentin Stainer – Derelict Earth have produced three albums of sublime prog melody and startling aggression, melding bold strokes of creative colour and artistic anxiety into a tremendous triptych of emotionally charged, intellectually stimulating, prog-metal majesty.

What’s best is that each of these albums is available for free on the internet, with the artist’s full consent. So if you like what you hear after the jump, then you’ll be able to immerse yourself in his creative vision to your heart’s content! Continue reading »

Dec 302013

(Through the efforts of NCS contributor Austin Weber, We have the privilege of premiering a new EP by a New York metal band named Cryptodira. Austin provides the following introduction.)

Cryptodira are part of a new breed of metal bands. They don’t play within merely one style or genre but instead craft a multi-faceted sound all their own. I’ve compared them to East Of The Wall before, due to their post-metal influence, but Cryptodira are quite comfortable interspersing death metal and groove into their music as well.

While Cryptodira’s new EP, An Unmarked Grave, does not come out until January 4th, they graciously hooked us up with an exclusive stream ahead of its release. Both tracks are chaotic treats of swirling chaos and swelling calm, though some differences between them are apparent.

Track one, “Descension”, is certainly the faster of the two, exploding with a violent energy, abounding in frenzied, hard-hitting drums until (as usual) the band take you into beautiful instrumental reprieves and a lengthy singing passage. Continue reading »

Dec 302013

(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list, because I’ve consistently found his musical tastes to be solid and interesting. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)

For many reasons 2013 was a musically poor year for me. I was very busy with work, I then changed jobs, I bought a new home, sold an old one, and then moved somewhere else. Hence I’ve not been out there searching for new music or even keeping up with my favourite blogs. As such, when it came time to make my yearly pontifications I realized I had barely heard ten albums, much less liked ten albums this year, so I relaxed the verbiage a bit and settled on “releases”, as this would let me include: EPs, demos, splits, and so on. In the end, most of the selections are albums, but some are not. So without further ado, here is the 2013 list of my favourite releases:

10: VallenduskBlack Clouds Gathering

An album I accidentally stumbled over, and have not been able to let go. Slow melodic black metal, nothing unique but generally well done. Continue reading »

Dec 302013

 (Our friend, fellow blogger, and regular commenter deckard cain has delivered a two-part year-ender for our LISTMANIA series, and here’s Part 2. Or rather, Scroll II. The first scroll can be found here.)

Greetings fellow brethren…

I hope the last scroll was sumptuous enough. If not then scroll II might just suit your tastes.


1. Thy LightNo Morrow Shall Dawn

If Eye of Solitude successfully harnessed the deepest yet emotional shade of doom, then Thy Light probably does the same for Black Metal. From a band that named its last album Suici.De.Pression, you just cannot expect anything else than something a lot bleaker than the last. Coupled with post-rock, this makes a truly captivating listen, even if it’s a heart-rending one at that. Continue reading »

Dec 292013

Here’s a status update that appeared on the Facebook page of Finland’s Insomnium today (emphasis added):

We’ve now recorded rhythm guitars for 5 songs. In addition to Marshall+EVH combo we’re also using Mesa Single Rectifier and my seven stringed Mayones to add some more depth and fatness to the sound. The new material is definitely more varied than before. For example, we’re flirting a bit with death/black metal vibe with some of the songs. Nevertheless, everything sounds very much like Insomnium and I guess that’s mainly due to our “trademark” melodies. We’re splitting rhythm parts pretty much equally with Markus and also try out different guitar arrangements as we go. All in all, the mood is very relaxed and we’re making good progress without too much pressure and stress.


Aw hell yes.   Continue reading »

Dec 292013

 (Our friend, fellow blogger, and regular commenter deckard cain has delivered a two-part year-ender for our LISTMANIA series, and here’s Part 1. Or rather, Scroll I.)

A stooping back, coughed-up blood, feet that grate, and yet death eludes me. A great evil works beneath the surface, ceaselessly, to guarantee me life, sustaining it. I reckon it is that good-for-nothing, hellhole-dweller, Diablo, once again. While the rest of humanity holds vitality dear to their hearts, I deny it with vehemence unparalleled. I seek the eternal silence so I may finally be rid of my physical burdens. But for now, senility is a curse, while immortality, thrust upon me, remains a bane of unfathomable proportions.

What eases my pain in these howling doldrums is companionship. I thank Lord Islander and his kin for offering this opportunity to spell out the contents of these scrolls. The great and exotic findings within will hopefully make for a sumptuous feast of music. I shall now reveal scroll I, once hidden away in a SATCHEL deep within Tristam’s boondocks.

Feel free to judge my character, and maybe piss on it…But in the end I humbly request you to…

“Stay awhile and listen” Continue reading »

Dec 282013

(We welcome back guest contributor and fellow blogger BreadGod with another of his year-end lists. I’ve taken the liberty of adding full-album streams for all of his picks.)

The metal scene sort of blew its collective load back in 2012, what with all that fear of the apocalypse and whatnot. They released a bunch of awesome albums in anticipation of an event that never happened. This means that there wasn’t a lot of good metal this year. Of course, that was only if you were looking at the topmost layer of the underground. If you took the time to dig deeper like I did, then you will have found lots of awesome new releases. Here are my top ten releases of 2013. Enjoy.


#10: AbyssalNovit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

The list begins with the year’s first album. On New Year’s Day, I received an e-mail from the band Abyssal that contained nothing but a download link and a single sentence: “The time has come.” When I pushed play, I was instantly enshrouded in a miasma of chaotic evil. It’s far more diabolical than their debut, Denouement. The production is a colossal wall of sound that will crush the life out of you, the drums offer up both ravenous blast beats and slow and sinister doom rhythms, the vocals sound like the grumbling of an ancient and vile entity that lurks in the deepest reaches of the earth, and the guitars run the gamut from vicious black metal tremolo riffs put through a death metal filter to slow and wicked chugs. I regret not putting these guys in my top ten list last year, because they have made something that is both evil and grand. Continue reading »

Dec 282013

Between the time I’ve spent with family and friends over the holidays and pushing out the biggest year-end LISTMANIA series our site has ever published, I’ve been constricted in my ability to listen to new songs and forthcoming releases. But I keep lists. I keep lists like a hoarder of names. Never mind that actually making it through the lists is a frail hope, given that they keep growing, and growing, and growing…

But yesterday, I made a small dent in them and came away with four songs I’m really high on. Two of them are new tracks by bands whose past work I’ve admired, and two of them come from bands who I’d never heard before. Musically, the four songs have very little in common, other than the fact that they are all winners — and they all have darkness in their souls.


Hail Spirit Noir’s first album, Pneuma (reviewed here), was unlike anything else I heard in 2012. It was exceedingly strange and yet brilliant, a splicing together of black metal, 60′s flower-power pop psychedelics, 70′s prog rock, 80′s New Wave dance beats, melodic doom, and even cool jazz. Each song was distinctively different from, though related to, the others, like cousins on a gnarled family tree. Continue reading »

Dec 272013

After only one listen, I proclaimed the debut demo by Italy’s Into Darkness “one of the best death/doom releases of 2012”. I wasn’t alone — the surprising first effort of this new three-piece drew praise from many quarters. Now, after a change of line-up, they’ve followed that auspicious start with a new 7″ EP entitled Transmigration of Cosmic Creatures Into the Unknown (also available for download on Bandcamp), and it proves that the 2012 demo was no fluke.

Vocalist/lead-guitarist Doomed Warrior is the only surviving member of the band that produced that demo — now joined by Ken Hunakau (also a member of Fuoco Fatuo) on bass and rhythm guitar and drummer Pide Guts (Necro) — but the new release proves she was (and is) the heart and demonic soul of this band. She still sounds like she was separated at birth from Martin van Drunen, despite being born more than 20 years later, and if anything her voice has grown even more depraved and destructive since Into Darkness’ first outing. And her songwriting and guitar work are equally striking this time around. Continue reading »