Jan 182019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the debut album by North Carolina’s Mo’ynoq, which was released on January 11th.)

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before… but precisely what it is that separates a “Good” album from a truly “Great” one isn’t always clear. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, an instinctive response which tells you that this… this is something really worth shouting about.

If you’re been paying attention then you’ll quickly realise that this is exactly the same intro spiel I used for my recent review of the new Barshasketh album, recycled here with good reason.

Because not only have I frequently seen the two records compared, contrasted, and (occasionally) pitted against one another in single combat, but they also happen to quite concisely demonstrate just how razor-thin the line between being a “Good” album and a truly “Great” one really is. Continue reading »

Jan 162019
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the Scotland-based band Barshasketh, which was released yesterday by W.T.C. Productions.)

Precisely what it is that separates a “Good” album from a truly “Great” one isn’t always clear. Sometimes it’s just a gut feeling, an instinctive response which tells you that this… this is something really worth shouting about.

Of course your subjective response(s) and reactions will always be the final arbiter of which side of things an album ultimately falls on for you, but to even come close to this line, to be in contention, is something of an impressive achievement in itself.

Which I suppose is a long-winded way of saying that that the new, self-titled, record from Barshasketh could well be the first truly “Great” Black Metal album of 2019. Continue reading »

Jan 142019
 

 

(Andy Synn wrote the following review of the new album by the Norwegian band Endolith, which will be released by Rob Mules Records on January 18th.)

Hands up who here has heard Endolith’s debut album Voyager?

Ok, I see a few people have… maybe one or two more in the back, but the rest of you… shame, shame!

Honestly, after all the effort I went through (ok, maybe not that much effort) to talk about the record and highlight the band I’m not even sure you deserve to read about their new album at this point.

But, since I’m in such a magnanimous mood (and because Chicxulub is just so damn good), I suppose you might as well read on and get to know what should, if there’s any justice, turn out to be one of the best albums of the month, if not the entire year. Continue reading »

Jan 092019
 

 

(Here we have Andy Synn‘s review of the eagerly awaited new album by Australia’s Obed Marsh, which was just released on January 8th.)

I must say, I was starting to get a little worried recently when my first two posts of 2019 focussed on a pair of highly melodic, harmony-drenched albums that ran roughshod over the site’s original (though long-since partially discarded) ethos of “no clean singing”.

Thankfully our old friends from the land of convicts and monsters… aka Australia… Obed Marsh decided to release their second album this week, giving me a chance to dunk my head once more into their bubbling cauldron of eldritch filth and fury. Continue reading »

Jan 042019
 


Photo by Stephansdotter Photography

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new 11th album by Sweden’s Soilwork, which will be released on January 11 by Nuclear Blast.)

One thing which you may have noticed, if you’ve been visiting NCS consistently for any length of time, is that we sometimes purposefully refrain from covering what you might think of as “the big names” in Metal.

Largely this is because we feel that our time would be better spent focussing on smaller, and less well-exposed artists, but also due to the fact that these “bigger” bands invariably receive so much attention and fawning flattery (in fact I’ve just recently stumbled across a few suspiciously sycophantic reviews which seemed like they’d been half-written before even hearing the album), that any attempt on our part to offer a more nuanced or critical appraisal would likely just get ignored and lost in the flood.

Still, every so often one of us will stumble upon a particular take or angle that they feel compelled to follow up on, which is why you’re about to read my review of the soon-to-be-released eleventh album from those stalwart Swedes known as Soilwork.

Be warned though, if you’re expecting nothing but blind praise based on the band’s name-value alone, then you might want to look elsewhere. If you’re after a more measured appraisal of the album’s pros and cons, however, then please, read on. Continue reading »

Jan 022019
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Swedish group A Swarm of the Sun, which will be released by Version Studio Recodings on January 11th.)

After debating with myself for a while I’ve decided that the best way to kick off my 2019 at NCS is by… covering some minimalist, melancholy, and mostly instrumental Post-Rock where the vocals, sparingly used yet sublime, are delivered in a plaintive, cleanly-sung croon.

Who, me, contrarian?

In all seriousness though, A Swarm of the Sun’s previous album, The Rifts, was easily one of the richest, most rewarding musical experiences of 2015, so much so that I was compelled to include it in my Critical Top Ten of the year alongside other such impressive entries from bands like Sulphur Aeon, Bell Witch, and Alkaloid.

Hence you can probably imagine just how eagerly (and impatiently) I’ve been waiting for the band to produce this follow-up, which is scheduled to hit the streets (and the internet) next Friday. Continue reading »

Dec 282018
 

 

(For the final edition of THE SYNN REPORT for 2018, Andy Synn compiles reviews of all the albums released to date by Veilburner, including their brand new record A Sire To the Ghouls of Lunacy, which is being released today.)

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Dodecahedron, Imperial Triumphant

I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks, first with a mix of work and band commitments, then with more personal stuff going into the Christmas period, that I honestly almost forgot that I still had a new edition of The Synn Report (the last one of the year) to produce.

Thankfully it didn’t take very long to select which band would be this month’s lucky recipient of my attentions, as prolific Pennsylvania duo Veilburner are releasing their fourth (and likely finest) album today via Transcending Obscurity Records, meaning that the timing really couldn’t have worked out better.

With an incredibly diverse, yet distinctive, sound – the closest true comparison I can think of is with those Avant-Garde Australian extremists in Ur Draugr, though you’ll also see that, multiple times throughout this column, I’ve tried to make references which I think will appeal to our readers – over the past four/five years Mephisto Deleterio (instrumentation) and Chrisom Inferium (vocals) have produced several hours of warped and twisted, tumultuously technical and deviously discordant Black/Death Metal which doesn’t really sound exactly like anyone, or any thing, else out there. Continue reading »

Dec 262018
 

 

(Fallen Empire Records chose this day for the label’s final batch of releases, one of which is the hotly anticipated new album by New Jersey’s Death Fortress — and to coincide with its release we present Andy Synn‘s review.)

One of the things I love most about Metal – about listening to it, creating it, writing about it – is how unpredictable it can be. Every year is different, and you can’t necessarily guess in advance what albums are going to raise the bar, and what artists are going to shit the bed (sometimes spectacularly) over the course of the next twelve months.

But some artists are definitely more reliable than others, which is why I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of the new album by New Jersey Black Metal marauders Death Fortress ever since it was announced. Continue reading »

Dec 242018
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the British duo MASS, which is set for an official release on December 25th by An Out Recordings.)

It’s always flattering when a band submits a promo to our website with a specific request that I be the one to review it.

Of course, just submitting your promo and making this request doesn’t necessarily guarantee that:

  1. I’m going to actually cover it, or
  2. I’m going to actually like it

But, since you’re reading this right now, you know that at least that first condition has been satisfied, so let’s see about the second one, shall we? Continue reading »

Dec 192018
 

 

(Andy Synn continues his campaign to make many of us jealous over the shows he’s getting to see in the UK, this time witnessing a duo of American tech stalwarts, a Canadian one, and a Swedish one, and documenting the event with video.)

Looking back over the last twelve months I can see that I’ve been lucky enough to attend a number of awesome shows, festivals, etc, this year, with the last couple of months in particular being an incredibly busy (not to mention fun) period, especially where frantic, fret-melting technicality is concerned.

Just in the last few weeks I’ve got the chance to catch Beyond Creation/Gorod prog out and Aborted/Cryptopsy blast faces, and two nights ago saw things get kicked up yet another notch with the fatal four-way of Revocation, Archspire, Soreption, and Rivers of Nihil at Mama Roux’s in Birmingham. Continue reading »