Andy Synn

Dec 032021
 

(Andy Synn presents three albums from last month which he thinks you may have overlooked)

You know what times it is… well, what time it almost is… it’s almost time for my annual week-long round-up of the year in Metal.

But, before that, there’s still time for a few more reviews of things which you may have overlooked last month (and, don’t worry, I’ll also be doing some more of my “unsung heroes” posts later this month in order to catch you up on some of those albums you may have missed earlier in the year too).

Until then, however, enjoy these three succulent morsels of Progressive Death Metal.

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Dec 012021
 

(Andy Synn has a long history with Redemptor, so we knew he was the only man for the job when it came to writing about their new album, Agonia, which comes out Friday on SelfMadeGod Records)

I love Death Metal. And, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you do too.

But, as someone who loves Death Metal I do find myself wondering sometimes… where is the genre going?

Let’s face it, there’s only so far, and so fast, that the more “Technical” and/or “Brutal” strains can push things before giving themselves whiplash, crippling arthritis, or an aneurysm, and only so many times that the corpse of “Old School” Death Metal can be dug up for yet another revival before it starts to smell, well, a little off.

What I’m really looking for, then, what I’m hoping for, is a new generation to step up and refine/define a form of Death Metal that’s actually new – call it “Post-Death Metal”, if you’re so inclined – rather than simply presenting something that’s just a flashier or more “extreme” variant of what we already know.

We’re not quite there yet – not as far as I can tell anyway – but it seems to me that there’s several bands already moving in this direction, capturing both the vibe and atmosphere of the genre without precisely fitting in with any one particular sub-style, and Redemptor are clearly right at the forefront of this movement, if the evidence presented on Agonia has anything to say about it.

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Nov 302021
 

Recommended for fans of: Wake, Fawn Limbs, Ion Dissonance

Italian quintet Noise Trail Immersion are a perfect example of how the words we use to describe artists can have a big impact on how they’re perceived by potential listeners.

Case in point, you’ll often see them described as a Mathcore band – that’s apparently why Metal Archives won’t feature them – but that overly-simplistic designation fully fails to capture the totality of their sound, which is just as much an amalgam of chaotic Black Metal, Blackened Grind, and Dissonant Death Metal (and more).

But however you choose to describe them, with four albums under their belt – the most recent of which was released just last week – Noise Trail Immersion are long past due a major feature here at NCS, which is why I’ve chosen them for this edition of The Synn Report.

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Nov 262021
 

(Andy Synn encourages you all to embrace change with the new album from Anomalie, out now on AOP Records)

In a lot of ways the music scene is like an ecosystem.

From the apex predators to the bottom feeders, every band/artist has their particular place, their particular niche, in the natural order of things.

Some of these niches, of course, are more fertile – creatively speaking, I mean – than others, and some of them are simply… overpopulated… but, either way, it’s still fascinating to watch all the inner workings of the scene, from the macro down to the micro level, as bands and artists are continually dying and being born in a seemingly endless cycle.

It’s even more interesting when you start being able to map and follow the evolution of various bands, and Anomalie’s progress in particular has been truly fascinating to observe.

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Nov 242021
 

(Andy Synn steps off the beaten path once more to discuss the new album by Swiss extremists Dakhma)

Genre terms – Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash Metal, Doom Metal, and so on – are, ultimately, simply a tool like any other.

And, like any tool, they can be used productively, or counter-productively, depending on how (and how carefully) they’re employed.

For myself I find them to be very useful (especially when I’m trying to describe, in words, the experience of listening to music which many of my readers won’t actually have heard yet) but they’re certainly not the be-all and end-all by any means.

Case in point, the words “Blackened Death Metal” have become synonymous with the imperious, almost militaristic, blast-driven sound made famous by bands like Behemoth, Hate, Azarath, etc.

But there’s far more to this particular sub-genre than that, as demonstrated by the new album from Swiss duo Dakhma, whose more abrasive and arcane approach positions them more as sonic and spiritual cousins to the likes of Teitanblood, Vassafor, and Altarage.

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Nov 222021
 

(As a member of the UK Metal scene himself, our man Andy Synn likes to think he has his finger on the pulse – or at least, the prostate – of what artists and albums he needs to be looking out for, but the recently released debut album by THÅRN almost slipped under his radar)

Despite all the setbacks and difficulties of the last couple of years – or maybe, in a sense, because of them – the last twelve months have been an extremely strong and fertile time for the UK Metal scene.

From long absent legends making a killer comeback, to established fan-favourites stepping up their game, to new names and new faces making a serious impact, there’s been no shortage of blackened, deathly, proggy, sludgy, and atmospheric delights for fans the world over to enjoy.

And joining this still-growing list, right at the eleventh hour (or, at least, during the eleventh month) is the debut album from London-based duo Luke Booth and Jérôme Barré – aka THÅRN – whose prodigiously powerful take on the classic Post-Metal formula could easily go toe-to-toe with some of the genre’s biggest and best names.

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Nov 182021
 

(The nights are growing darker, and the hour grows late, but Andy Synn is still finding time to cover a few obsidian gems from the Black Metal scene that you may not have checked out yet)

It’s looking like my annual week-long litany of year-end lists will commence either on the 6th or 13th of December this year, depending on whether or not I end up doing some last minute shows with my own band during either of those weeks.

Either way though, that means there’s very little time left to write up and review some of the various albums which are going to appear on those lists, so some harsh decisions are going to need to be made regarding what gets reviewed, and what gets left by the wayside, over the next few weeks.

Case in point, selecting the three artists/albums which I’ve chosen to cover here today meant I had to skip writing about several big and/or highly anticipated new albums from the likes of Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Plebeian Grandstand, Ars Magna Umbrae, and more.

Hopefully someone else from the NoCleanTeam™ will be able to find time to pen a few thoughts about some of them (and, even if not, at least one of them is scheduled for a Synn Report some time soon) but, in the meantime, I’d like you to instead turn your attention to this trilogy of blackened terror by Bornholm (HU), Demonic Temple (PL), and Whoredome Rife (NO). Continue reading »

Nov 162021
 

(The year may be winding down, but it’s not over yet, and there are many more gems for Andy Synn still to uncover, including this one by Vertebra Atlantis, which was recently released by I, Voidhanger Records)

There are, let’s be honest, quite a few ridiculously talented individuals in the Metal scene, a revelation which I’m sure comes as a surprise to exactly none of you.

Take Gabriele Gramaglia (aka G.G.), the mastermind behind The Clearing Path, Cosmic Putrefaction, and many other projects (several of which we’ve also covered here at NCS in the past), whose songwriting skills and instrumental abilities are, by this point at least, pretty much beyond question.

The thing is, however, that while I absolutely loved Watershed Between Earth and Firmament (and still do) nothing else that he’s done has quite affected me in the same way, even though I’ve still been able to appreciate both the sheer amount of talent and the obvious dedication to his craft he’s shown with each and every piece of work since then.

That all changed recently though, with the release of Lustral Purge in Cerulean Bliss, the debut album by Vertebra Atlantis.

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Nov 122021
 

(Last month was so busy that Andy Synn is still trying to catch up on all the things he, and we, missed)

Look, I told you last week that I was probably going to have to do two editions of “Things You May Have Missed” in order to catch up with the many, many artists and albums which were overlooked in October… so here we are.

Truthfully though, I could really do with doing at least one more edition after this was, such was the plethora of rifftastic riches which last month gave us, but if I want to stay on top of what’s being released this month then I really can’t spend any more time looking backwards.

Thankfully the four albums I’ve chosen to feature here are more than worth me sacrificing a bit more of my previous time in order to ensure they get (some of) the attention they deserve, so let’s not waste a moment more, shall we?

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Nov 102021
 

(Andy Synn continues his year-long love affair with the Russian Metal scene with this review of the recently-released second album from Mroh)

If there’s one thing that XII, the second album from Russian trio Mroh, can tell us it’s that it definitely is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Because, at twelve tracks and a whopping seventy-three(!) minutes in length it is most definitely far too long for its own good.

That being said, it also demonstrates that Mroh are pretty damn good at this whole “Atmospheric” Black Metal thing, and well worth getting to grips with if you have any appreciation for the more “blackened” arts… even if chances are you’re going to find the whole record a bit too much to sit through all in one go.

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