Nov 142018
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album by Azusa, which will be released on November 16 via Solid State Records and Indie Recordings.)

Like many of you I was pretty giddy with excitement when the official Extol Facebook page began teasing some sort of new release earlier this year, only to feel a rather sharp sting of disappointment when it was revealed to be for a brand-new project named Azusa, rather than the hoped-for follow-up to the band’s excellent self-titled comeback album.

As it turns out, however, I shouldn’t have been counting my chickens quite so soon because, for all intents and purposes, Heavy Yoke pretty much IS a new Extol album. Continue reading »

Oct 182018
 

 

I think this must be a first — for five days in a row I’ve had enough time to compile a round-up of new songs. Doesn’t mean I’m anywhere close to catching up with everything I’d like to recommend, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Today, I chose the first four good songs I found when I began scrolling through the morass of e-mails that had arrived at NCS overnight and this morning. Not exactly the most thorough method of making a selection, but it had the coincidental benefit of presenting some pleasing variety, as you’ll see….

BLOODBATH

Chainsaw Lullaby” is a clever and amusing title, and of course it makes no secret about the meat of the sound. But before we get to this new song off Bloodbath’s forthcoming album, The Arrow of Satan is Drawn, let’s here from Anders ‘Blakkheim’ Nyström about the track: Continue reading »

Oct 162018
 

 

Happy Tuesday to one and all. This makes the third day in a row when I’ve found time to round up new songs, and the third day in a row when I’ve focused on underground bands as opposed to bigger names. It’s not that I have any kind of reflexive distaste for the music of economically successful bands whose names are a known quantity world-wide (which, like the music of bands who toil in relative obscurity, is simply a familiar mix of excellence and mediocrity). It’s more that they really don’t need one more metal blog giving them a boost. And sometimes (but not always), that feeling steers me toward bands such as those discussed below.

WHOREDOM RIFE

This Norwegian duo from Trondheim (multi-instrumentalist V. Einride and vocalist K.R.) have made a big and favorable impression on discerning consumers of metal extremity in a relatively short time, through their self-titled debut EP in 2016 and their first album last year, the fantastic Dommedagskvad, both of which were released by Terratur Possessions. Now they return with a new album, NID – Hymner Av Hat. Continue reading »

Sep 272018
 

 

(In this new edition of Andy Synn‘s occasional series, he reviews new releases by three UK bands — Crippled Black Phoenix, Famyne, and Spires.)

Despite my well-documented griping about how frequently certain sections of the UK scene seem to embrace mediocrity, there’s still a hefty amount of quality music and quality bands coming out of these green and pleasant lands these days, and today’s edition of “The Best of British” rounds up three of them for your aural delectation.

Fair warning, however, the following three albums contain a lot of clean singing so… you’ve been warned! Continue reading »

Sep 132018
 

 

When my NCS comrade Andy Synn made the Belgian band Marche Funèbre the subject of his 44th Synn Report almost five years ago, reviewing their debut EP and first two albums, he recommended them for fans of My Dying Bride, Eye of Solitude, and early Paradise Lost. He wrote: “Desolate and depressive, ominous and oppressive, their often lengthy, drawn out songs are simultaneously draining and invigorating – at times they hit with instant impact, at others they build slowly and insidiously, insinuating themselves into the darkest corners of your mind.”

Since then the band have released one more album, 2017’s Into the Arms of Darkness, and a pair of splits. And now, to celebrate their tenth year of life as a band, Marche Funèbre have recorded a new four-song EP that will be released on October 14th by GrimmDistribution and Cimmerian Shade Recordings. Death Wish Woman is its name, and what you’re about to hear is its title track — and if you’ve never heard this band before, you’re in for an electrifying surprise. You might be in for an electrifying surprise even if you have heard their music before. Continue reading »

Sep 122018
 

 

Heavy metal’s fascination with the occult has deep roots and shows no signs of weakening. It is manifested in many ways, not all of which can be reconciled into some philosophically consistent gestalt, running the gamut from sorcery and witchcraft to elaborate schools of satanism, from the Dark Lords of Middle Earth to the horrors conceived by Lovecraft.

To this day, the embracing and channeling of evil cuts broad swaths across metal genres (white magic fell before the power of black magic within heavy metal in its infancy), though how we should understand the concept of “evil” and why it’s such a persistent feature of metal are subjects beyond the scope of this post. The subjects are on my mind simply because they had something to do with why I chose the following five new songs for this round-up, all of which appeared (in many instances without warning) over the last 24 hours.

CIRITH UNGOL

The first bolt from the blue took the form of the first studio recording by these Kings of the Dead since the release of Paradise Lost in 1991. It’s a single named “Witch’s Game“, which was recorded for inclusion in the forthcoming animated movie The Planet of Doom (more info about that here). The B-side of the single is a live version of “Doomed Planet” as performed at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017. As you can see, it comes with stunning cover art by Michael Whelan. Continue reading »

Sep 072018
 

 

It’s been one of those weeks, one of those weeks when for various reasons I just haven’t had time to compile any round-ups of new music. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of those weeks when a ton of new songs and videos have premiered (in addition to those we’ve premiered ourselves). I’ve picked a couple handfuls of those, and divided the collection into two parts. This one includes better-known bands, presented in alphabetical order. The next one will include more obscure names.

ARSIS

James Malone sports a shaven head in the Arsis video that appeared overnight, but still screams like a banshee and is obviously still capable of cooking up some tasty riffs, while the people around him help put the spurs to this galloping, groove-some new song and spice it up with a bit of occult aroma, too. Speaking of which… Continue reading »

Aug 272018
 

 

(We have arrived at the glorious 100th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, which Andy started back in January 2011 with a retrospective about Astarte. In this month’s column, he reviews all the albums released to date by L.A.-based Ancestors, including the just-released Suspended In Reflections.)

Recommended for fans of: Yob, Devin Townsend, Anathema

Selecting what bands to include in the “Recommended for fans of” section of each of these columns is sometimes really easy, sometimes really hard, and sometimes… a little more complicated.

In the case of Progressive Stoner-Doom sorcerors Ancestors it’s really not sufficient to like just one of the bands recommended above, you have to appreciate all three of them – the gruff vocals and expansive grooves of Yob, the dynamic soundscapes and soul-stirring riffs of Devin Townsend (particularly circa-Terria), and the melancholy moods and soaring melodies of latter-day Anathema – and be keen to hear what a crossover between these artists might sound like.

You also need to be open to some calmer, more introspective experiences, particularly since their two most recent albums – 2012’s In Dreams and Time, and the just-released Suspended in Reflections – find the group pushing even further down the Prog/Post-Rock pathway.

But if all that sounds intriguing… then this will definitely be the band for you. Continue reading »

Aug 162018
 

 

Here’s the second Part of our Thursday round-up, which digs a little more deeply into the underground than Part 1, and which is more heavy on very heavy death metal (as well as some Grade A grindcore), with a big change of style at the end.

RUIN

To begin, I’ve chosen Track #5 from the upcoming Human Annihilation album, which is the forthcoming second full-length by the California death metal band Ruin. Their debut album Drown In Blood from last year was a ravaging implement of sonic torture, and it sounds like this one will be quite good as well. Continue reading »

Jul 312018
 

 

(In this edition of THE SYNN REPORT for July 2018, Andy reviews all the albums recorded to date by the California rock band Boy Hits Car.)

Recommended for fans of: Tool, Incubus, Leprous

I don’t know about you, but the changing of the seasons always has a notable effect on my listening habits.

Now, I’m not saying that I suddenly start jamming Peruvian pan-pipe music or Eastern European techno as soon as the flowers start to bloom, but there are definitely certain bands or certain styles of Metal which I find myself listening to more often in Summer, and some albums/artists who tend to get spun more often at the heart of Winter…

Case in point, the bouncing grooves and blissed-out melodies of Boy Hits Car always seem to make their way back into rotation whenever the sun begins to shine, as their upbeat energy and heartfelt, hippy-ish vibes just fit perfectly with the longer days and clearer skies of the Summer months.

Try not to be put off by the fact that the band’s music is generally described as “Nu-Metal” though, as the group are far sharper, and far smarter, than that label might suggest, and tend more towards the artsy, rather than the angsty, to the point where several tracks make liberal use of slightly more esoteric instruments like twelve-string acoustic guitar, flute, or tabla drums, as a way of expanding the Californian quartet’s creative and sonic palette. Continue reading »