Mar 022018


(In this edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews all the albums released by Rites of Thy Degringolade, including their newest record slated for release on March 15th, as well as the band’s part of their 2004 split with Portal.)


Recommended for fans of: Immolation, Incantation, Deathspell Omega


One of the Extreme scene’s most undeservedly underappreciated acts, Canadian three-piece Rites of Thy Degringolade are one of the few bands who I can honestly say have the potential to appeal just as much to fans of hideously under-produced “War Metal” as they do to those who like their Black/Death Metal just that little bit more bold, bombastic, and… let’s be honest here… actually listenable.

The reason for this is the group’s surprisingly careful balancing – whether calculated or instinctive… and most likely a little of both – of filth and fury, chaos and confusion, with a plethora of savage (though rarely straightforward) hooks and cunningly crafted riffs which demand to be heard not just once, but multiple times, over multiple sessions.

A word of warning, however – this is some seriously nasty stuff, and once it gets embedded in your brain nothing less than a full frontal lobotomy is going to get it out again.

Jan 312018

Redemptor 2016


(We present the January 2018 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, in which Andy compiles reviews of releases by the Polish band Redemptor.)


Recommended for fans of: Decapitated, Anata, Rivers of Nihil

If you’ve been paying attention at all recently you’ll have caught the name Redemptor as one of the bands featured in my Personal Top Ten of 2017, and may also have noticed that I promised to deliver a Synn Report on the group as soon as possible.

Well, today is that day.

Over the course of three albums and one EP the Polish quintet have steadily evolved their sound from the Schuldiner-esque strains of their debut album None Pointless Balance to the angular hooks and merciless precision of 4th Density and The Jugglernaut, with the process finally culminating in the gargantuan grooves and captivating atmospherics of last year’s utterly crushing Arthaneum.

Dec 302017


(In the final Synn Report of 2017, Andy assesses the discography as it exists to date of the distinctive Norwegian band Drottnar — whose Facebook page is here.)


Recommended for fans of: Mayhem, Dødheimsgard, Krallice

For the final edition of The Synn Report in 2017 I found myself torn between a number of possibilities, ranging from bruising, technically-adept Death Metal, to high-energy, thrash-infused Melodeath, to grim and gritty Black/Death riffosity.

In the end however I made the choice to go with the Technical/Avant-Garde Black Metal menace of Norway’s Drottnar (although don’t worry, the other bands referenced obliquely above will all be getting their own features very soon).

Calling their sound “Bunker Metal”, the Fredrikstad quintet have always been one of the more unusual and hard-to-pin-down members of the Norwegian scene, with a sound that largely defies easy definition and clean categorization, and an image that pulls more from Soviet-style militarism than the pseudo-fascist iconography employed by many of their brethren.

However I’m hopeful that this column will serve as a great introduction to a band who I think are one of the most overlooked, and underrated, acts to ever come out of the great frozen North.

Nov 302017


(In this 91st edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn explores the three albums of Vancouver-based Kerala, including their brand new record, Biorealizations.)

Recommended for fans of: Neurosis, Behold the Arctopus, Krallice


Canadian duo Kerala describe themselves as “Progressive Sludge Metal” on their Bandcamp page, and while there’s certainly some serious proggery and churning sludgery to be found throughout their discography, this particular label could be accused of giving a slightly misleading impression of the band’s sound.

Yes, there’s a lot of gritty, gut-wrenching Neurosis-isms present in their music – most notably during their debut – and there’s also a hefty helping of Dysrhythmia-esque instrumental chaos at work too, something which steadily develops as the band grow in experience and ambition… not to mention some abrasive, Gorguts-ian overtones to be found during their heavier moments, along with an almost Meshuggah-like sense of texture and tension bleeding into their most recent album.

As you might imagine then, this makes for one extremely heady (not to mention heavy) concoction, which definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. And yet, that being said, for all their obvious complexity, the band’s songs still have a certain amount of hookiness and catchiness to them – even if it is of a highly irregular and unconventional sort.

Oct 272017


(We present the glorious 90th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and on this milestone occasion Andy Synn reviews the collected discography of Desolate Shrine, including their brand new album Deliverance From the Godless Void, which will be released by Dark Descent on November 10.)

Recommended for fans of: Incantation, Bloodbath, Enthroned

I’m sure, like me, a lot of you have bands in your collection who you absolutely love… but whom you got into surprisingly late. Desolate Shrine are one of those bands for me.

Heavier than granite, nastier than gangrene, and grimmer than the reaper himself, the Finnish three-piece (mainman L.L. handling all writing and instruments, with vocal duties shared by R.S. and M.T.) were always a band on my radar, but it wasn’t until the release of their third album, The Heart of the Netherworld, that I really took a vested interest in them… and then started kicking myself for waiting so long.

Thankfully I was quick to correct my error, snapping up a copy of both …Netherworld and its predecessor The Sanctum of Human Darkness soon after, and eventually grabbing hold of their debut, Tenebrous Towers, not long after that.

Now, with the band’s fourth album, Deliverance from the Godless Void, set for release on November 10th, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the band’s brutal, black-hearted brand of Blackened Death Metal.

Sep 302017


(Andy Synn presents the 89th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and on this occasion reviews the collected discography of Ingurgitating Oblivion from Germany.)

Recommended for fans of: Gorguts, Ulcerate, Immolation

One of the great joys of the modern Death Metal scene is the sheer variety of different forms and flavours available to tantalise our musical taste buds. These days if you’re not enjoying what you’re currently being fed it’s barely the work of a moment to find something else to dig your teeth into.

The subject of this month’s edition of The Synn Report, Germany’s own Ingurgitating Oblivion, have been plying their trade in the murky sub-corner of Dissonant/Atmospheric Death Metal since 2001, and have produced three increasingly fearsome full-length albums in the years since then, the most recent of which, Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light, was released in April of this year.

Aug 312017


(In this August 2017 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews all three of the albums released to date by the German black metal band Fyrnask, the most recent of which was 2016’s Fórn.)

Recommended for fans of: Altar of Plagues, Leviathan, The Great Old Ones

It doesn’t seem like a full month has passed, does it? I swear it feels like only yesterday I was putting the final coat of paint and polish on the 87th edition of The Synn Report, and yet here I am again, scrambling to get #88 finished.

Heavy on atmosphere, yet equally heavy in terms of metallic venom and visceral aggression, Fyrnask neatly sidestep the introverted navel-gazing that afflicts much of the “Post-“ scene by virtue of a single-minded focus on ravenous creative expression and pure, primal catharsis.

Over the course of three impressively multifaceted and multilayered albums, the most recent of which, Fórn, came out just last year, Fyrnask mainman Fyrnd (who handles all instruments and vocals) has continued to explore and expand his sonic palette, incorporating a wealth of exotic instrumentation and esoteric ambience into the mix, although the foundation of the band’s sound remains grounded in bloody and raw-boned Black Metal.

So if you’re looking for something which offers both an instant spark and a deeper, longer-lasting burn, then please… read on.

Jul 312017

Photo by Carsten Aniksdal


(In this July 2017 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews all the albums of the Norwegian band Execration, including their recently released 2017 album, Return To the Void.)


Recommended for fans of: Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Blood Incantation


With a sound that blends together the most fundamental elements of classic Death and Black Metal – yet which, for various reasons, you’d never describe as “Blackened Death Metal” or “retro” – Norwegian quartet Execration are a hard band to fully pin down.

The fact that their music also incorporates numerous strains of Prog, Doom, Punk, and Thrash only makes this task even harder.

Still, there’s a good chance that anyone who’s a fan of grim, grimy, guttural Death Metal, with a penchant for weird, acid-fuelled atmospherics and moments of spasming dissonance, will find a lot to love here.

Jun 302017

Photo by Alizee Adamek


(The subject of Andy Synn’s 86th SYNN REPORT is the discography of the French black metal band Merrimack.)


Recommended for fans of: Marduk, Enthroned, Watain


Black Metal has gone in a lot of different directions since its inception, expanding its horizons and stretching its boundaries in so many different ways that it’s almost impossible to count them all.

But sometimes you just need a dose of pure sonic sadism. Sometimes you need Merrimack.

Over the course of five albums (the most recent of which came out at the start of this month), guitarist Perversifier (the last remaining original member of the group) and his merry merciless men have unleashed their own particular brand of auditory hell upon the world with little to no regard for those innocents who might end up caught in the crossfire, as well as delivering a live show which often teeters on the edge of “unhinged”.

So if you’re looking for something black as pitch, and just as incendiary, then please… read on.

Jun 012017


(We present Andy Synn’s installment of THE SYNN REPORT for May, gathering together reviews of the discography of the Swedish band Memfis — who are on Facebook here.)

Recommended for fans of: Burst, Intronaut, Extol

Much like last month’s edition of The Synn Report, today’s post is a day late (and a dollar short) due to, well, me being busy living my life and enjoying myself. That’s right, I do in fact have a life outside of NCS sometimes. Who would have thought?

Still, I’m back in the game, and back in the saddle, now, so how about some “new” music for you all, in the shape of Prog-Metal epicurists Memfis?

The Swedish quartet made some small, but stylish, waves with the release of their debut album The Wind-Up way back in 2006, offering an intriguing and characterful conglomeration of progressive melody, metallic energy, and occasionally outlandish technicality, all topped off with a healthy helping of heartfelt, Hardcore-tinged emotion.

Unfortunately, legal complications ended up interfering with and delaying the release of their second album, meaning that the band were unable to capitalize on the burgeoning momentum gathered by their debut, and have been in something of a liminal state ever since – with the five-track Silva EP in 2013 being the only subsequent sign to date that things are still ticking away in the background.

Now, apparently the group are currently hard at work on album number three – and have been for some time, in fact – but there’s still no title or release date announced, so we’ll all just have to wait and see how things unfold.

Thankfully though, the two albums, and one EP, featured here should serve to whet your appetite in the meantime!

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