May 242017


(Andy Synn (and other fiends here at NCS) is attending Maryland Deathfest XV, which begins a bit later this week, and here he names the five bands whose performances are highest on his list.)

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a little event called “Maryland Deathfest” happening this week, and I’m lucky enough to be attending for the second year in a row.

As a result, my contributions to NCS are going to be somewhat… minimal… until next week (though I do have a little something blast-tastic lined up for Friday for you all), while I do my best to develop and nurse a cumulative five-day hangover/bangover.

In recognition of this momentous occasion, however, I thought I’d put together a quick list of the five bands I’m most looking forward to seeing at MDF this year – although thinning it down to only five definitely wasn’t easy!

May 232017

Acherontas V. Priest


(In this post Andy Synn combines reviews of three superb 2017 albums by Acherontas (Greece), Dødsengel (Norway), and Hetroertzen (Chile/Sweden), and provides full streams of the music from all three as well.)

When people talk about the background and historical impact of Black Metal, the majority of the praise and prestige is given to the genre’s Norwegian progenitors… and rightly so, as this is, ultimately, where the first seeds were sown.

But focussing entirely on Norway doesn’t tell the whole story. After all, not only is Black Metal these days a worldwide phenomenon, it’s also one with global roots, and, as its influence has spread, different countries and different localities have all given birth to their own particular variants on the style.

The three bands featured here – one from Greece, one from Norway, and one from Chile/Sweden – all epitomise, in their own particular way, the eclectic, exotic, face of Black Metal today, so it only seemed fitting to me to group them all together under one black banner.

May 172017


(Andy Synn once again focuses on recent or forthcoming releases by bands from his native land, this time selecting releases by Belial, Drekavac, and Monolithian.)

Breaking with convention ever so slightly, this edition of “The Best of British” is focussed on EPs, rather than albums, providing you with a hand-picked triptych of short, but oh-so-sweet, metallic morsels to devour at your leisure.


Punishing Deathcore with a pronounced Technical edge, the sophomore EP by these Swindon-based savages is a crushing conglomeration of coiled riffs, convulsive rhythms, and cascading electronics — plus the occasional bone-shattering breakdown – that should appeal to anyone who considers themselves a fan of All Shall Perish, Fit For An Autopsy, and their ilk.

May 152017


(Andy Synn reviews the debut EP by the Polish band Loathfinder, released near the end of April by Godz Ov War Productions.)

Never underestimate the power of some eye-catching artwork… I mean, just look at that cover art… the rotten, roughly-sketched lines, the gritty, granular colour-scheme, the subtle suggestion of oozing, necrotic motion… how can you not want to find out more when confronted with an image like that?

May 112017

(We present another edition of Andy Synn’s three-line reviews.)


That’s right, it’s time for the return of everyone’s favourite irregular (in more ways than one) column, Reviews in Haikus.

This time around it’s an intriguing mix of Icelandic Black Metal, American Doom, and French Prog-Death, so there should be something for (practically) everyone!

May 082017


(Andy Synn reviews the self-titled debut album by the Dutch band Ulsect, which will be released on May 12 by Season of Mist.)

It seems like you can hardly turn around these days without tripping over another angular, off-kilter Death Metal band who worship at the throne of Gorguts/Deathspell Omega.

I’m not quite sure when, or how, it happened, but someone somewhere appears to have opened the floodgates, and the torrent (ok, maybe “torrent” is pushing it) shows little sign of dying off just yet.

As a result it’s more important than ever to learn how to sift through all the dross, panning for those morsels of burnished gold which shine brighter than all the rest.

May 052017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by The Monolith Deathcult, and we also present the premiere of a song from the album after the review. We apologize in advance to all our readers.)

Dedicated readers of the site will no doubt be aware of my long-running relationship with The Monolith Deathcult, dating all the way back to 2011 and encompassing, in the intervening years, numerous reviews, interviews, and tour dates (the most recent only a few weeks ago).

Heck, I even ended up helping the band rewrite the press release for this record simply because I didn’t think the original materials were up to scratch!

As a result you might be wondering whether this review is going to be full of bias, favouritism, and partisan hyperbole, to which I’d answer… of course it is.

In fact you’re probably better off thinking of this as a paid advertisement on behalf of Deathcult Inc.

Except I’m not getting paid…

And I’m actually going to be a bit critical in places…

May 032017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the reunited God Dethroned.)

Like many of you I have been waiting for this album with a sense of near-breathless anticipation ever since it was first announced in 2014 that God Dethroned were getting back together.

And even though nothing had been announced about new material, I always knew that it was only a matter of time before the band would eventually get round to completing the WWI-themed trilogy of albums which began with 2009’s Passiondale.

So now here we are, seven long years since the group’s last release, all set to receive the third and final part of that trilogy, The World Ablaze, and the big question is — has the passage of time blunted their edge, or has it simply allowed the band to martial their forces for one final assault?

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.

Apr 272017


(In this post Andy Synn reviews the new EPs by Mantar, Maré, and Mesarthim.)

So I’ve officially now reached a point where I am so far behind in my writing that the balance has fully shifted into the negative, with more new albums and EPs being added to my review queue – almost on a daily basis – than are being scratched off of it.

What to do, what to do…?

Well, the only answer, it seems, is to hammer out a bunch of quick reviews, and try to make some sort of dent in the ever-growing pile of streams and promos currently clogging up my inbox/mp3 player.

So, without further ado, here’s three great EPs, two from bands we’ve covered before, and one from an entirely new discovery of mine.

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