Sep 302016



Gaze upon the image above. It is the cover of a new release by Deathspell Omega. The name of that release is The Synarchy of Molten Bones. It will become available on November 8, 2016. It consists of these four tracks:

1. The Synarchy of Molten Bones
2. Famished for Breath
3. Onward where Most with Ravin I may meet
4. Internecine Iatrogenesis

It is now available for pre-order on CD, vinyl, and digitally — here: Continue reading »

Sep 302016

Vanhelga-Ode and Elegy


I discovered Sweden’s Vanhelga three years ago through the release of their wonderful EP, Sommar (reviewed here). For that EP, Vanhelga’s creator Jacob Ottosson (aka “145188”) was joined for the first time by Johan Gabrielson (“1853”), a former member of the late, lamented Lifelover, as a vocalist and lyricist. To be honest, that Lifelover connection was what first drew me into Vanhelga’s music, although the band had previously released two full-length albums and five shorter works. Sommar made such a deep and lasting impression that I included one of its tracks on our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

Vanhelga’s third album in 2014, Längtan, was yet another wondrous revelation, and by then Jacob Ottosson was joined not only by Gabrielson but also by guitarists J. Ejnarsson (Taketh) and Wadström (ex-Skogstron) and drummer D. Franzén.

And now we find ourselves on the verge of yet another Vanhelga album, this one entitled Ode & Elegy. It will be released on October 1, and today it’s our pleasure to bring you a stream of the album in its entirety. Continue reading »

Sep 302016



I’m a few hours late spreading this announcement, but better late than never. The news is that Maryland Deathfest has announced the final round of confirmed bands for the 2017 edition of America’s best metal fest, set to take place in Baltimore on May 25-28. Here they be, cut and pasted from the MDF Facebook:

Candlemass (Sweden) – Nightfall set
Tiamat (Sweden) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Grave (Sweden) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Root (Czech Republic) – Exclusive U.S. appearance
Oranssi Pazuzu (Finland)
Mother Brain
Fucking Invincible
Organ Dealer
Junior Bruce
Flash Out
Night Raids
Disparo (Australia) Continue reading »

Sep 302016



EDITOR’S INTRO:  Thanks to rendezvous points such as Maryland Deathfest and Migration Fest, we’ve learned that our allies at Metal Bandcamp are not only great writers with dependably good taste in music, they are also very fine human beings. And so it’s with great pleasure that we’re able to bring you this guest review of a fantastic new split by the California one-man projects Botanist and Oskoreien written by Metal Bandcamp’s Justin Collins. We ardently hope this will not be the last time he graces our pages with his words.


A few days ago, Islander gave us a preview of an Oskoreien song from an upcoming split with Botanist. I’ve made no secret of my enthusiasm for Botanist (see here and here and here ad nauseum), so I’m going to delve into Botanist’s side first, with no disrespect meant to Oskoreien.


Most people probably know about Botanist by now, but I always feel compelled to give a beginner’s course when I talk about new Botanist music, because there’s no easy summing up of this project. (If you know this spiel and want to go all “Choose Your Own Adventure,” skip ahead to paragraph 5 now.) Continue reading »

Sep 302016

Khonsu-The Xun Protectorate


Well, as I warned in Part 1 of this round-up yesterday, my fucking day job did indeed screw up my plan to post Part 2 later that same day. As I also warned, the music in this one is more obscure and arguably more ferocious than the first collection. But believe me, it’s damned good stuff.

And because of the delay since yesterday, of course I’ve discovered one more new thing to tack on to what I originally planned, and it’s the first item in this collection.


We’ve been very eager and excited about the new album coming our way from Norway’s Khonsu, the name of which is The Xun Protectorate, and this morning the first single was released. Continue reading »

Sep 302016



(In this September edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews the discography of Ohio’s Shatter Messiah.)

Recommended for fans of: Nevermore, Exodus, Arch Enemy

I want to start off this edition of The Synn Report with a quick history lesson, if I may? You see, back when Islander first started this site with his two cantankerous compatriots, the name “NoCleanSinging” was chosen as a response to the horrible proliferation of bands roughly shoehorning a sickeningly saccharine clean-sung chorus into every song in a vain attempt to appear more artificially “emotional” or to improve their commercial viability.

However, you may have observed that, in the past few years at least, we’ve not stuck quite as closely to that “no clean singing” ethos as Islander and co. did in those early days… which is why today I have no hesitation in bringing you an overview of the four album catalogue of Akron, Ohio Power-Thrash quintet Shatter Messiah.

Of course it’s impossible to ignore how much the band have in common with the much-missed, much-mourned Nevermore… not least a certain guitarist (and main songwriter) by the name of Curran Murphy. In addition the raw, gritty melodies of singer Greg Wagner (and, later, his replacement Michael Duncan) carry the same sense of spite and venom as Warrell Dane at his most vehement, as well as sharing a similarly indignant anti-religious, anti-authoritarian lyrical stance.

And then there’s the guitar work, Murphy and his chums delivering a plethora of massive, Loomis-esque seven-string tech-thrash riffs and soaring, fleet-fingered lead-lines (that would make the Amott brothers nod their head in serious appreciation) which mix proggy intricacy and dark melody with a brand of heaviness that occasionally borders on Death Metal levels. Continue reading »

Sep 292016



A few people reading these words might not recognize the name Mark Riddick, but I’m guessing it’s a small percentage. Since 1991 he has been creating gruesome artwork for a countless number of album covers, posters, shirts, and more… and although he has been often copied, his style is so distinctive that you know a Riddick piece when you see it.

But I would guess that a larger percentage of readers don’t know that Riddick is also a vocalist and musician who has been involved in both bands and solo projects for about as long as he’s been making visual art. One of his solo projects is Fetid Zombie, and the new album Epicedia will be the sixth full-length created since 2008 (along with an EP and a large number of splits).

Epicedia is set for release on November 25 by Transcending Obscurity Records. So far, one song from the album (“Devour the Virtuous”) has premiered at DECIBEL along with an interview, and today we’ve got another one for you — “If the Dead Could Speak“. Continue reading »

Sep 292016



Profanal come our way from Italy with their second album, Supreme Fire. It will be released by Iron Tyrant Records on October 31. As you can see, it includes colorful, abominable cover art — which is what first induced me to explore the music. Having done that, I am enthusiastically bringing you a track from the new album named “Eternal Curse of Blood“.

Profanal have a thirst for Swedish death metal… but if you’re expecting a simple re-tread of that classic sound, think again. Continue reading »

Sep 292016

Photo by Dirk Behlau


I intended to prepare a round-up much earlier this week than I have, but commitments to write premieres plus interferences from my fucking day job screwed those plans. So, I’m behind once again. Catching up isn’t realistic, but I’m going to make a stab at it anyway by doing a two-part Seen and Heard.

In this first installment I’m giving a tip of the hat to two widely popular bands — and no, Metallica isn’t one of them, though if you want to talk about the new Metallica track in the Comments, feel free. Then we’ll dive deeper into the underground with the final two bands in this group (with help from our contributor Grant Skelton).

The second installment, at least as I’ve planned it (because it’s not written yet), will be devoted to perhaps even more obscure and ferocious new music. But I do also have a couple of premieres to prepare for today, plus my day job isn’t leaving me alone… so there’s a chance Part 2 will slip.


Earlier this week Century Media announced a new Dark Tranquillity album, their 11th. Named Atoma, and again featuring cover art by the band’s guitarist Niklas Sundin, it will be released on November 4, 2016. Coincident with that announcement, DT released the video that’s the first item in this round-up, for an Atoma track called “The Pitiless”. The video was filmed during the band’s appearance at the Turock Open Air Festival 2016 in Essen, Germany, by director Dirk Behlau. Continue reading »

Sep 282016



(Austin Weber brings us this premiere of a new song by the Pennsylvania band Burial In the Sky.)

In the least few years, the technical death metal scene has undergone some very interesting mutations that have helped push the genre forward. Within this field of growth there seem to be two camps, one moving toward more atonal, skronky tech-death inspired by groups like Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, and another propagating a more atmospheric and proggy sound inspired by groups like Fallujah and Rivers Of Nihil. While I’m a fan of both takes on the sound, the group I’m covering today falls into the latter category.

While I can honestly say that Burial In The Sky are doing their own thing, influences from both Rivers Of Nihil and Fallujah can be heard at times, though the music is less imitative per se than in the way it’s been done recently by a few other groups. Having heard all of their new album early, I can also state with certainty that their form of atmospheric tech-death often encompasses a near-ambient psychedelic feeling that is uniquely their own. Continue reading »