Aug 012021


This week I decided to devote the column to four complete new releases, three of them albums and one of them an EP. I found all of them to be tremendously gripping in different ways.


It would go too far to call Hornwood Fell chameleons. They do change their musical colors, but not to match and blend in with some background setting (such as what other bands might be doing). They change to capture colors in their own heads, which seem to move like pools of mercury on a subtly shifting sheet of steel, catching different lights. And it’s not just the sounds that shift and re-form. The themes and inspirations change too. Continue reading »

Jul 312021


I know I often sound like a broken record, but this is yet another Saturday following a week in which I fell way behind in listening to new music, other than what we premiered and bits and pieces of albums that other NCS scribblers wrote about. I spent hours this morning adding to my listening list and then only scant time darting around that list with the headphones on. Here’s what I landed on that I wanted to share… with a lot more listening lined up for this afternoon.


This first song, “Okeanos“, is such an intense squall of sound in all ways, from the brazen and mutating discordance of the riffing to the relentlessly riotous drumming, the bone-smashing impact of the grooves, and the stunning voracity of the vocals. Not so much like crouching indoors during a hurricane and more like charging outside in the midst of it. Continue reading »

Jul 302021


(Gonzo presents another end-of-month roundup spotlighting releases that have attracted his enthusiastic attention.)

I have, and always will be, a voracious consumer of new music. Though nothing may take the place of how much fun it was to trade tapes with other weirdos in dark corners behind every sweaty beer-stained venue in creation, it’s sure as hell convenient to now find the same variety of under-the-radar bands on Bandcamp and Spotify.

With this installment of my monthly Heavy Roundup, I managed to find a list of bands that span the metal spectrum. I think that’s a testament to how insanely diverse and varied extreme music has become. And, seriously, few things bring me more joy in life than making playlists and sharing new music with people.

Hence, this column was born. Here are the albums and EPs I’ve highlighted from the month of July (and technically, one from June that passed me by until now.) Continue reading »

Jul 302021


Porta Magna is an Angolan death metal band formed by Frink Sanda, Manel Kav, Edson Ferraz, Ariel Ricardo, and Claudio Henriques. As Manel Kev tells it, they chose their band name for this reason:

“According to the first part (inferno) of Dante Aligierti’s Divine Comedy is the inscription that is at the entrance to hell. Porta Magna means big gate. An entrance to a mix of emotions. angers, and frustrations of society, and deprivation of liberty. It’s like hell we’re living.”

And surely we have all lived through our own distinctive kinds of hell over the last year and a half, a pandemic time in which Porta Magna was born during a covid outbreak in Angola. Deprived of rehearsals and concert opportunities, they collaborated online. Once restrictions lifted to the point when they could go to a studio, they recorded their first single at Estudio 2 in Luanda, and today we’re premiering a video for it on the day of its release by Mongrel Records. Continue reading »

Jul 302021


In its debut album Concealment, the Italian band Knowledge Through Suffering (K.T.S.) addresses a vast, esoteric, and traumatic subject, one that could be conceived as the ultimate tragedy, and does so in unearthly and apocalyptic music that is equal to the task.

As the sole creator of K.T.S. explains, “Concealment is a thirty-minute long sermon about God’s own expectations and disappointment for his work of creation”. It is thus “heavy but sacred music”, speaking “holy Words through unholy Sounds; Gloom is the language.” As K.T.S. further elaborates, Concealment consists of “three long songs assembled from the sonic arsenals of bands like Diocletian, Antaeus and Thergothon that will lead in a journey to Godhead’s divine tragedy: Desolation will be the final goal in a mix of Black, Death and Doom Metal.”

This new album is being announced today by Brucia Records, which will release it on September 17, 2021. As a preview of the Desolation that it accomplishes, we’re presenting one of those three long tracks, the one that opens the album. Its name is “God Alone Was Exalted On That Day“. Continue reading »

Jul 302021

Recommended for fans of: Primitive Man, Body Void, Iron Monkey

Variety, or so they say, is the spice of life. And since last month’s edition of The Synn Report was a rip-roaring Black-Thrash spectacular, I decided that this time around we’d go for a soul-crushing slow-motion apocalypse instead, courtesy of Colorada (by way of New Mexico) Blackened Sludge crew Oryx.

Since their formation in 2012, the trio – bassist Eric Dodgion, drummer Abigail Davis, and guitarist/vocalist Tommy Davis – have been churning out gut-wrenching grooves and bone-jarring jams, with every album (only three of which I’ll be covering in detail here today, due to the fact that ¾ of their hard-to-find self-titled debut was rewritten and re-recorded for 2014’s Widowmaker, with many people thus considering this their “official” first full-length) delivering wave after wave of filthy distortion and creepy, hypnotic hooks which make it feel like you’re bathing in solid, suffocating sound.

And what a sound it is… rugged and raw and unrelentingly bleak, Oryx are the sort of band whose every release should probably come with a public health advisory stating that their music isn’t suitable for anyone with a weak constitution.

Consider yourselves duly warned.

Continue reading »

Jul 292021


Way back on the 17th of August, 2020, three of your NCS slaves — (Andy Synn, DGR, and Islander) — appeared as guest DJs at GIMME METAL, curating a two-hour on-line radio show in which we spun tracks of our own demented choosing, interspersed with our own pre-recorded banter, and also engaged in live on-line chats with listeners. And since then we’ve done it two more times — in October 2020 and March 2021 — and as you can tell we’re about to appear for a fourth time this coming Friday, July 30th.

The three of us still feel incredibly fortunate to be invited to do this, and to find ourselves again in the midst of the coterie of stellar musicians who normally handle the guest spots. We feel so lucky because we have SO DAMNED MUCH FUN putting our playlists together and recording our own interstitial banter.

It’s such a joy to do it, especially because we try hard to make underground selections that won’t otherwise get a lot of attention, that we usually start working on new playlists even before our latest session has aired — even though we never know how many people will tune in, and therefore whether we’ll be invited back.

So, we’re begging you, TUNE IN! Continue reading »

Jul 292021


After a nearly six-year hiatus the Spanish extreme metal band Thirteen Bled Promises are returning to the field of battle with a new label and a new EP of hybridized head-spinning hostility. The name of the EP is Foundation, and it’s not only the cover art by Martin de Diego Sábada that’s alien, as you’ll discover through our premiere of an EP track named “A Humanless War” in advance of the record’s release by Lacerated Enemy on October 22nd.

As the new song vividly demonstrates, the music on the EP is like a double helix of sounds whose genetic material is made up of nucleotides from technical death metal, black metal, brutal death metal, and deathcore, and features an unnerving amount of dissonance and discord in addition to a merciless degree of rhythmic and vocal punishment. Continue reading »

Jul 292021

(Andy Synn casts his ear over the latest album by one of his long-time favourite bands, Agrypnie, which is set for release next week via Art of Propaganda)

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice for any budding writers/reviewers out there: one thing you have to realise – and remember – is that every band’s newest album is going to be the first time some people hear them.

So it’s no good just writing for the faithful. No matter how big or famous or well-established a band might be you can’t just assume everyone is going to be familiar with their work.

Case in point, despite its name, not much has changed for Agrypnie on Metamorphosis, as the album still offers the same tumultuous tapestry of searing blastbeats, stomping rhythms, and soaring leads which made records like 2018’s Grenzgænger, 2013’s Aetas Cineris, and so forth, such an enervating and electrifying experience.

But if you’re not already familiar with the band’s work, then that isn’t really going to mean much to you, is it?

So this is for all you new people – if you’re looking for something that’s both subtly “progressive” and seriously aggressive, something that sits somewhere between the introspective intensity of early Alcest and the melodic muscle of Insomnium (or, if you’d prefer, the blazing fury of Der Weg Einer Freiheit and the gleaming grandeur of Dark Tranquillity), then you should do yourself a favour and give this album a listen ASAP.

Continue reading »

Jul 292021


What is an “unction“? Well, it is the anointing of someone with oil or ointment as a religious rite, or perhaps as a symbol of the investiture as a monarch. In somewhat more archaic terms, it is a treatment with a medicinal oil or ointment.

But here’s a harder question, which sent us scurrying into research: What does “muliebrous” mean? Our investigation tells us that it’s an adjective which refers to something that has the qualities or characteristics of a woman, e.g., something feminine.

As for what a “muliebrous broth” might be, we’ll leave that to your own imagination.

Now that we’ve satisfied your curiosity and improved your vocabulary, let’s turn to the business at hand, and the business at hand is a filthy discharge of clobbering and eviscerating madness as rendered by the Atlanta-area death metal band Occulsed, whose debut album Crepitation of Phlegethon (you’ll have to look up those words yourself) will be vomited forth by Everlasting Spew Records on September 17th. Continue reading »