Jul 012020


(Andy Synn has chosen to devote his SYNN REPORT for the month of June to the discography of the French band Exocrine, whose new album Maelstrom was released by Unique Leader on June 26th.)

Recommended for fans of: The Faceless, Gorod, Beneath the Massacre

The purpose of The Synn Report is, obviously, to give our readers an overview of the background and back-catalogue of whatever band I select each month.

One of the great things about this approach, of course, is that it allows all of us (myself included) to see just how the band in question has evolved over the course of their career.

In the case of French four-piece Exocrine the band’s evolution has led them to grow from some relatively humble beginnings into something far more titanic, and if 2018’s blazing Molten Giant didn’t convince you of the group’s tech-tastic lethality then perhaps their recently released fourth record, Maelstrom, will?

Before then, of course, there’s three other albums to sink your teeth into… Continue reading »

Jul 012020


Like most of you I’m curious and enjoy learning. It’s fair to say that a lot of metal bands and their music and lyrics don’t trigger curiosity or create learning experiences, even when their songs are very good. But when that happens, it’s a welcome bonus, and that happened in the case of the song and video premiere we’re presenting here.

The band whose music is the subject of the premiere are in Peru. Their name is Runa. Curious about the name, I did a little research and learned that “runa” is a name that speakers of the Quechua language (which originated in Peru but is found in many dialects throughout other South American countries) use to refer to themselves. According to this article, the word translates to “person”, but when Quechua speakers call themselves Runa, it means “the people”. I also learned that up to the present time Quechuas continue to be victims of political conflicts and ethnic persecution.

Runa (the band) draw upon ancestral culture in the creation of their music. Their new record, which will be released by the Peruvian label Guts ‘N’ Blood Records and follows by five years a debut EP named Bullets Of Annihilation, is titled Entrance To The Ancestral Wisdom. But, as the band’s vocalist/guitarist Alex explains, Runa’s mystical themes are also “immersed in magic, quantum, and alchemy”. The music through which they express these themes embraces the early raw power of death metal and the acidic viciousness of black metal. Continue reading »

Jul 012020


In the space of the last week or so, I have posted articles, one of which I wrote, that promoted the music of bands with past connections to labels with strong ties to white supremacist bands, or whose music has itself, at least in the past, incorporated lyrical themes that can be understood to espouse white nationalism. In the case of the article I wrote, I was unaware of any such history. In the other case, I just wasn’t paying close enough attention. But that’s no excuse. I fucked up, and I have to own up to and apologize for that.

(Just so we’re clear, I’m writing this in the first person because none of the other writers at NCS had anything to do with these mistakes and were quite unhappy about them.)

Posting the music of such bands was not intended to be any kind of “dog whistle”, or to reflect the principles of this site. We have no interest in promoting the music of bands who espouse or associate themselves with racism, anti-Semitism, or other similarly toxic belief systems. I want to make that as clear and explicit as I can. I’ve written that before, but I’ve undermined the message through my own actions. Continue reading »

Jun 302020


On their new third album, Spectres of Bloodshed, the international duo known as Blood Stronghold have created a musical soundscape that’s out of this world. To be sure, the music has visceral, physically compulsive energy, but it creates fantastical visions of ancient and mythical domains. It seems to draw menacing and vicious power from lycanthropic spirits but also spawns mental images of tragic grandeur and heart-swelling splendor. It’s a fashioning of black metal that’s both carnal and elegant, both blood-pumping and mesmerizing. It seems to hearken back to a long-lost age — or to one that only exists in the imagination. Once heard, it’s not easily forgotten.

And hear it you shall, because today we present a full stream in advance of the album’s release on vinyl LP by Nebular Carcoma and Satanik Requiem. Continue reading »

Jun 302020


(Here’s Vonlughlio’s review of a debut brutal death metal album from Indonesia that “stands out from the masses.”)

This time around I have the chance to talk about the band Chancroid from Indonesia, whom I’ve been a fan of since 2015 when they released their promo that year.  There are a lot of BDM projects from Indonesia — they live and breathe the genre. Sure, there are a lot of same-sounding bands out there in this genre, but this is one of the cases that for me stands out from the masses.

After their 2015 promo the band released a demo in 2018 that continued their musical path with a raw production that is most welcome for the song structures they created. There’s not a lot of activity from the this project compared to others, but keep in mind that this is an underground group and things usually work a lot slower.  I did not know when they would release an EP or full-length. Continue reading »

Jun 302020


The northern square-lipped rhinoceros, also known as the northern white rhinoceros, used to range over parts of Uganda, Chad, Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But years of uncontrolled poaching and civil war in their home range decimated the species, and they are now considered extinct in the wild. Only two of them remain, both of them protected in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy on a 700-acre nature preserve in Kenya that’s also the largest black rhino sanctuary in east Africa. Both of the last survivors are female.

The story of the critically endangered northern white rhino is unusual subject matter for a slamming death metal band (or any extreme metal band), but the conceptual focus of the Swedish group Extinction encompasses not only that story but many other narratives of once flourishing species terminated by the actions of humankind.

Their forthcoming EP Smoldering Enfoulment, as they explain, “encapsulates a variety of disasters, degradations and extinctions of 2019 — from trees lost to sand mining and bird species loss to habitat destruction, and international conflagrations wiping out landscapes and exploited by monoliths of power”. The band further explain: Continue reading »

Jun 292020


If you’re in the mood for death metal cut from particularly foul and disease-ridden cloth, ghastly in the extreme and gruesome in almost every way, then the debut demo of Deconsecration is just what the mad doctor ordered, to make the sick among you even more ill. We have Chaos Records and Caligari Records to thank for this musical abomination, which they’ve just released on CD and cassette tape, respectively.

This Seattle quintet, whose line-up is composed of ex-members of Capitalist Casualties, Catheter, Wilt, and Hideous Creep and features current members of Foul and Anoxia, were obviously in that mood when they recorded these four tracks. Each of the songs is dynamic in its pacing and variable in its other energies, but there’s nothing about it that’s healthy. On the other hand, it’s very true to the old spirit of death metal that had the stench of the morgue in its nostrils and relished images of reanimated corpses crawling from festering graves. Continue reading »

Jun 292020


Vanhelga are a Swedish band, the brainchild of J. Ottosson (aka “145188”), who from its inception in 2001 until roughly 2013 was the band’s vocalist and sole instrumentalist. Beginning with the release of the 2013 EP Sommar (which followed a pair of albums and a handful of shorter releases), he has been joined by a changing line-up of other musicians.

We’ve been following Vanhelga’s progress since Sommar, which has taken us through three more albums and further shorter releases, and has demonstrated an evolving integration of stylistic ingredients that made the music (which could be simplistically labeled “melancholic black metal”) ever more difficult to pin down in genre terms but continually interesting.

Vanhelga have been at work on a new release, which follows up on their excellent 2018 album Fredagsmys, and today (as we previously announced) we’re premiering a song from it named “Dagar som denna” — which translates to “days like these”. Continue reading »

Jun 292020



(Andy Synn wrote this trio of reviews, covering just-releqsed albums by bands from his home country.)

This edition of “The Best of British” – my long-running column where I take a look at some of the best-kept secrets and flawed-but-fascinating gems coming out of the UK underground – is a particularly timely one… or, at least it was meant to be, since it was originally intended to be published on Friday last week, the same day that all three of these bands released their new albums.

Sadly the twin pressures of my day job (which remains reliably, sometimes excessively, busy) and some important band business (which I’ll hopefully be able to talk more about soon) meant that I didn’t manage to get the column fully finished until far too late in the day, at which point our beloved leader convinced me that we’d be better off waiting until Monday (i.e., today) instead.

So, here we are, better late than never, with three new albums straight from the bountiful bosom of the British music scene. Continue reading »

Jun 282020

Cultus Profano


The last 24 hours didn’t go as I had planned, but I have no one to blame but myself. I separated myself from most NCS activities after finishing yesterday’s round-up, and then partied a bit too hard with my spouse during one of our rare outings to a local bar and restaurant (which is very serious about social distancing). On the plus side, I slept for 11 hours after that. On the minus side, my brain was in a dense fog after awakening, a fog that’s only now beginning to dissipate.

So, to avoid letting the day pass entirely by without one of these usual Sunday collections, I had to change my plans and limit myself to a handful of individual songs and videos (and one demo), rather than trying to write about some recently released full-lengths that I want to strongly recommend. I’ll have to find some other way to do that.


The first selection is “Cursed in Sin, Op. 25“, a song from the upcoming album Accursed Possession by Cultus Profano. We premiered not one but two songs off this Los Angeles-based duo’s debut album Sacramentum Obscurus, which was a terrific first full-length. And I’ve been eager to hear this new one. Continue reading »