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!

May 012017

 

(We present Andy Synn’s installment of THE SYNN REPORT for April, encompassing the discography of the Finnish band Oceanwake.)

Recommended for fans of: Isis, In Mourning, Swallow The Sun

April has been a remarkably busy month for me, both in my personal life, at my job, and with the band(s). Which, as I’ve already stated, means I’m well behind in my writing for NCS, and hence why this latest edition of The Synn Report is coming in so late.

This month’s selection, Finnish Prog-/Post-/Doom metallers Oceanwake, now have three albums to their name (the most recent of which was only released last month), each of which is practically overflowing with gigantic, mountainous riffs, moody melodies, and crisp, cathartic vocals, all wrapped up in an ever-present aura of atmosphere and ambience that ebbs and flows, swells and contracts, like a living, breathing organism.

So if you’re in the mood for some truly compelling, effortlessly organic, metallic doom ‘n’ gloom – and aren’t afraid of songs that stretch into the double-digits – then please, read on.

Mar 302017

 

(March nears its last gasps, and Andy Synn slips in under the expiration wire with the 83rd edition of THE SYNN REPORT. The spotlight this month falls on the discography of California’s Dreaming Dead, which includes their just-released third album.)

Recommended for fans of: Death, Arsis, Horrendous

There are some bands who just never get their due. And, in my humble opinion, Californian quartet Dreaming Dead are one of them, as their proficiency in the metallic arts is absolutely second to none, and yet their status as underground underdogs has led them to fly under most people’s radar.

Often tagged, erroneously, as “Melodeath”, it would be more accurate to characterize the band as a furious hybrid of Death and Thrash Metal, with a penchant for brash, technically demanding riffage and a knack for incorporating multiple threads of moody melody without lessening the heaviness or impact of their sound one iota.

Formed in 2006 on the mean streets of LA (note: said streets may not have been as mean as portrayed on TV), the band have undergone a few line-up changes in the intervening years since then, although the core duo of Elizabeth Schall (also of NCS-beloved grindsters Cretin) on vocals/guitar and Mike Caffell on drums has remained constant throughout.

The band having just released their third album, Funeral Twilight, last month, now seemed like the perfect time to wax lyrical about them, and hopefully introduce some new listeners to their signature brand of audio extremity.

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