Jul 032015

artwork by Sam Nelson

(Andy Synn wrote this opinion piece about the tendency of some people to make excuses for mediocre or terrible bands in the face of criticism. We gave up making excuses for Andy long ago.)

A wise man once said:

“It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

A similarly wise (and far more handsome) man also once said:

“Excuses are like assholes… I don’t want to hear yours, and it’s not special.”

Ok, so maybe that second one is slightly less well known, but still…

Jun 212015


(Father Synn is ready once again to listen to your filthy confessions after first making his own, and then to prescribe your penance. Unburden your diseased souls below.)

This week’s confessional has a special theme my brethren (and sistren). That of chances not taken and opportunities lost. Oh the sorrow. Oh the shame. Oh the goddamn fucking irritating annoyance of everyday life getting in the way!!!


As always, where I lead, thou shalt follow!

Jun 142015


(Father Synn returns after a brief hiatus, ready once again to listen to your filthy confessions after first making his own, and then to inflict the penance.)

Truly my shame is deep my brethren. It has been two weeks now since our last confessional together. And without my firm hand (piercing eyes, flowing leonine mane, washboard abs… sorry, getting sidetracked there) to guide you, who knows what terrible acts you may have committed?

Dear god, what have I wrought?

So I beg you… come forth and let me cleanse you, let me wash you, let me bathe you and…


Jun 092015


(Andy Synn presents a rare thing — an actual calm, reasoned, fairly objective discussion of Djent, and (surprisingly) a defense of sorts.)

Oh the dreaded “DJ-word”. Never has a genre risen, seemingly from out of nowhere, to such prominence so quickly. And perhaps never before has a genre gotten so over-saturated and over-exposed in such quick succession.

And it’s because of this (and perhaps a few other issues that I may, or may not, touch on in this column) that the merest mention of the word can reduce even the sanest Metalhead to a frothing ball of apoplectic fury. “It’s all the same!”, “It’s just nu-metal with fancier gear!”, “It’s not even a real genre!” are all things I’ve heard multiple times, spilling from the mouths (and fingers) of everyone from the angriest internet troll to the most elitist critic.

But rather than just brush all these protests and allegations aside, I thought I might try to actually engage with them for once, and look at not just what’s being said, but why it’s being said in the first place.

Jun 042015


(Maryland Deathfest 2015 is in the history books, but the organizers already lining up bands for next year’s edition of MDF. Here’s KevinP’s wishlist of bands for next year — and we want your ideas in the Comment section, too.)

 2015 is in the books and we have a date for next year already (May 26th-29th).  Bands usually start being announced in a month (or so), so let’s get the discussion going!  Who do you want to see and why?   For the sake of reasonableness, I’m keeping my list to 10, even though like many of you I could easily do 20+.  Also, a few rules I applied:  if a band played in 2014/2015, they won’t be playing next year, just accept that as near fact.  Even bands who played in 2013 seem far-fetched.  So no Bolt Thrower, Dark Angel, or Bloodbath.  The most recent year I’m pulling from is 2012.  So here we go with my list (in order of importance) along with my infallible logic.


1. Hail Of Bullets – their last appearance was 2011.  I think a five-year gap is more than enough time.  Who doesn’t like this band?  If you don’t you should get your head examined (or you may be a Finnish guy named Markku).  I would like an Edison Lot show, though.  Since I would bring my 12-year-old daughter, who loves HOB, the shows end earlier and there’s more breathing room at the lot.  Would be awesome for her to finally meet Ed Warby and Martin van Drunen.

Jun 022015


(This is the second part of a mammoth essay by our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks, who explores a variety of spiritual rituals and their connections to doom metal. Part One is here.)

Tonight we’re finishing our brief research of Dark Rituals performed by doom bands all over the world. In the first part of this article we took part in Voodoo and Aghori rituals with Pombagira and The Moon Mistress, we participated in Christian and Black Mass ceremonies with Griftegard and Hour of 13, and besides that we even visited the Sabbath in some godforsaken pub alongside Barabbas, we summoned Cthulhu with Arkham Witch, and spent the Beltaine feast with Serpent Warning and the Wakan Tanka ritual with Caronte. Is it too much? Not at all. I have a few more examples of how sacred, ancient, esoteric traditions of dark occult wisdom have been reflected in the music of modern doom bands.

Today Reino Ermitano, War Injun, Ethereal Riffian, Tenochtitlan, Alunah, Stangala, Matus, Obake, Taak, and the almighty Abysmal Grief lead us into the mystic realms of the unknown. And I must warn you once more – don’t even try to perform these mysteries at home!

May 312015


Can it be? Is it truly seven days since last we gathered here to unburden ourselves? Oh, my congregation, I weep for you, and for the sins you must have accumulated. How they must weigh upon you.

But rejoice, for the time of absolution is at hand once more!

As always my children, you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine…

May 242015


(It’s Sunday, and therefore Father Synn returns with another Metal Confessional, ready once again to hear your sins and mete out the penance.  I believe the enjoyment of meting out penance is the principal reason why Father Synn became a man of the cloth. )

Truly this is a momentous edition of Father Synn’s Metal Confessional, for many of our loyal congregation will surely have sinned their happy little hearts out at MDF over the past few days, and will surely have a burning need to confess their crimes.
So to them I say… step forward, and be absolved! (Disclaimer: absolution not guaranteed)

But first, as always, let me bare myself before you once again!

May 232015


That photo up there was taken shortly before Vallenfyre began their set at Maryland Deathfest XIII yesterday, with Waltteri Vayrynen perched behind the drum kit. Later, the band’s frontman Greg Mackintosh growled during a break in the action: “When we formed this band in 2010, we had a dream that someday we would perform in a parking lot in Baltimore. And now, praise be, we are living the dream, in a Baltimore parking lot.”

One of the better stage lines delivered during the fest so far, but some truth in it too, at least for me. For the second year in a row I’m having a hell of a time at this festival — deafened, sleep-deprived, with sore feet and an aching back — but living the dream. And the fest is only half-done.

May 202015


(Andy Synn expresses gratitude to some people who don’t ask for it…)

Recently I went on a little rant about how the term “brotherhood of metal” is thrown around a lot these days… and it’s usually by people using the term in a calculated manner, invoking it as some form of protection against criticism and as a way of making themselves look good for supporting this so-called “brotherhood”.

It galls me, it really does, when I see people invoking “the brotherhood of metal” purely for their own selfish gain, while disguising it in the trappings of mutual support and love of the genre. It’s hypocritical and disingenuous , and to these people it’s a “brotherhood” only as long as it’s convenient, as long as it can be used for profit, and as long as it can be used for self-aggrandisement.

But as pissed off as it makes me, and as negative as this post may have started, I wanted to use it as an opportunity to bring praise to those people who really do make me proud to be a part of the Metal scene instead – not the ones who trumpet loudest about it being a “brotherhood”, whilst simultaneously only helping out their mates and those who suck up to them, but the ones who work tirelessly in the background, without making it all about themselves, without looking to have their arses kissed or their boots licked, without looking for anything more than a way to contribute to making the scene a better, and more vibrant place.

And no, I’m not talking about myself.

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