(Here we have a trio of reviews by Andy Synn, who’s still not finished with 2016.)
So it looks like, barring some sort of unforeseen intervention by an outside source, this will be my penultimate catch-up post for 2016, and very soon I’ll be able to divert my full attention to new releases – both from lesser-known acts and from bigger names – from 2017.
In the meantime, however, here are three more killer albums from last year that really deserved a lot more attention and acclaim than they received.
(Andy Synn wrote the following bovine-themed opinion piece.)
Phew, for a group of people often characterised as “rebellious” and “anti-religious”… we metalheads sure do hold more than our fair share of things as sacred and inviolable, don’t we?
Case in point, a certain article last year (which will, for the moment, remain unnamed) dared to question and criticise a particularly famous and highly-regarded album, which of course led to the expected backlash from the sort of knee-jerk reactionaries who like to say things like “this proves you’re a hipster” or “if you don’t like [x] then you don’t like Metal!”
Now while I don’t want this article to develop into a similar bitchfest (again, for such a supposedly “macho” genre, we can certainly be a catty group when something ruffles our petticoats), I do have to say that I thought the article was well-written, and made some cogent points.
I didn’t necessarily agree with its conclusion, but then nor do I think it was wrong to write it, or that the author was just trying to troll people.
Because it is important, sometimes, to go against the grain. To challenge the prevailing orthodoxy and to try to make people think not just about what they like… but about why they like it in the first place.
Sometimes the sacred cow needs to be slaughtered. Or, at least, lightly stabbed.
(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Sweden’s Gloson.)
Don’t you love it/hate it (delete as appropriate) when a band comes along, seemingly out of nowhere, with a debut album so good you struggle to grasp how they’ve actually managed it?
Because that’s exactly what Swedish Post-Sludgebringers Gloson have done.
(We present another edition of Andy Synn’s three-line reviews.)
Well, well, well… it looks like I’ve not done one of these since November.
Which I suppose isn’t too surprising, since most of December was dedicated to rounding up the previous twelve months in list form, as well as desperately scrambling to cover as many albums as possible before the end of the year, and most of last month was similarly focussed on catching up on some of the 2016 albums which we/you might have missed.
Thankfully I’m almost done looking backwards (yeah right) and am starting to switch my attention more and more towards new and upcoming albums from this, the year of our lord 2017.
So, in that spirit, here’s three albums of Death/Grind/Core goodness for you all to (hopefully) enjoy.
(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the latest album by the British band WarCrab.)
Over the course of 2016 I managed to successfully cover a host of fantastic bands from the UK (often, but not always, under the “Best of British” banner) spanning a wide variety of metallic sub-genres, from the pitch-black perfection of Wode and the doomy proggery of King Goat, to the unfathomable brutality of Unfathomable Ruination, the knee-cap shattering aggression of Venom Prison, and the grandstanding gallop of Wretched Soul… and beyond.
But even with all these, there were still several bands whose works went uncelebrated, and chief amongst them were the mighty WarCrab and their titanic second album Scars of Aeons.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Krysthla from the UK.)
So let’s address the big Polish elephant in the room straight away, shall we?
If, after listening to Peace In Our Time, the second album from British bruisers Krysthla, I were to tell you that these guys really like Decapitated, have been on tour with Vogg and co., and probably own several Decapitated shirts between them, I doubt you’d be surprised, as the presence of the Polish groovemongers looms large over pretty much every track on this album.
It would be wrong to write the band off as simple copycats, however, as, although their major influences (primarily, though not exclusively, latter-day Decapitated and late-2000s period Meshuggah) are certainly very prominent, the songs which make up Peace In Our Time are delivered with a level of energy and belligerent intensity which makes them impossible to dismiss.
(Andy Synn catches up with three releases from 2016, by Riftwalker, God Syndrome, and Wastewalker.)
You may have noticed, if you’ve been paying sufficient attention that is, that I’ve spent the last month digging my way through a veritable heap of releases from last year – Phantom Winter, Zao, Wolves Carry My Name, Partholón, Deviant Process, The Drowned God – that were otherwise overlooked here at NCS.
And, even though I’ve finally been able to start covering new stuff in the last week or so, there’s still a bunch of albums from last year that I have yet to write about.
So to speed up the process a little bit, I’ve decided to amalgamate a few different entries together. And hopefully, by the end of the week (or, at the latest, by the start of next week) I’ll be pretty much done with 2016, and able to shift my focus fully to 2017.
(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the Belgian band Wiegedood.)
As everyone knows by now, the best Black Metal these days comes from Iceland.
Oh, and Germany too.
Ok, fine, yes, and America. And Poland. And obviously Norway is still up there…
Look, what I’m trying to say is that these days it seems like killer Black Metal bands are cropping up all over the map, and Belgium is no exception.
(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Nidingr, including their new album slated for release on February 10.)
Recommended for fans of: Mayhem, Pantheon I, Dødheimsgard
Somehow, despite all the love we’ve shown for this band, despite all the drunken ramblings we’ve had about their awesomeness, and despite stating numerous times that Greatest of Deceivers is one of the best Black Metal albums of the last ten to fifteen years (at least), it appears that the amount of actual coverage we’ve given to Nidingr has been woefully lacking.
Thankfully, the impending release of the group’s fourth album, The High Heat Licks Against Heaven, is all the justification I need to wax lyrical about the band, making them the perfect choice for this edition of The Synn Report.
Masterminded by wandering guitarist Teloch (who cut his teeth playing with some of the Black Metal scene’s biggest names, including both Gorgoroth and 1349, and who has since gone on to serve as chief guitarist/songwriter for both NCS favourites The Konsortium and the legendary Mayhem), Nidingr originally came into being around 1996, but didn’t release their debut until 2005.
Since then they’ve cycled through numerous members (including both Tjalve and Seidemann of Pantheon I, percussive mercenary Tony Laureano, and the infamous Hellhammer himself), with Teloch and glass-chewing vocalist Cpt. Estrella Grasa serving as the band’s key linchpins, while releasing two, soon to be three, further albums of hyper-aggressive, sadistically melodic, Death- and Thrash- tinged Black Metal.
(Here is Andy Synn’s review of the new old one by The Great Old Ones from France.)
As much as I generally like to give my reviews some sort of concept or over-arching theme, sometimes there are only two questions which really matter – “is it a good album?”, and “is it as good as their last one?”
In the case of EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy, the third album by French cabalists The Great Old Ones, the answers to those questions are:
- Not quite…