Jun 172021
 

(Andy Synn sticks his head above the parapet once more to let you all know about three of the best British albums of the last few months)

I honestly can’t remember the last time I did one of these “Best of British” articles. In fact, this might very well be the first one of 2021 (or, at least, the first one dedicated to full-length albums).

That’s not because these fair and fertile isles have suddenly gone barren – the new Osiah, for example, is a brutal, if not exactly boundary-pushing, slab of uber-aggressive Deathcore, while the debut record from Epiphanic Truth was/is a welcome shot of strangeness – but, for whatever reason, I’ve been finding myself more drawn towards artists and albums from beyond the borders of these green and “pleasant” lands.

Rest assured, however, I’ve still been keeping my ear to the ground, so to speak, and finally found the time (and the impetus) to write about three truly excellent examples of “The Best of British” in the form of the new albums from Atvm, Boss Keloid, and Code.

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Jun 152021
 

(Andy Synn returns to his roots with the new album from Russian Metallic Hardcore crew Vorvaň)

To quote a hoary old cliché… the only constant in life is change.

That’s true for pretty much everything, especially people (and what are bands if not the extension of the people in them?),

Let’s face it, I’m not the same person I was five, ten, twenty years ago. My life, my circumstances, my tastes, have all changed and evolved.

But, at the same time, you know what they say… the more things change, the more they stay the same… and one thing that hasn’t changed is my love and appreciation for a good bit of merciless Metallic Hardcore, and today’s particular slab of undisputed attitude comes straight from Russia (though definitely not with love).

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Jun 142021
 

 

(We present DGR’s review of the second album by the Slovenian progressive death metal band Morost, which was released this past spring.)

Morost are one of a handful of groups I came across during one of the many adventures where I sought groups from corners of the globe you may not normally cross paths with. This prog-death band hail from Slovenia, and their latest release – the mid-March album Forged Entropy – is the group’s second full-length, arriving nearly seven years after their debut record Solace In Solitude. In that time Morost has seen some shifts in its lineup, with three new people occupying different spots than on their debut.

At first glance Forged Entropy is a big album. The eight songs within its confines clock in at a little over fifty-five minutes, and considering that the first ‘song’ is mostly a two-minute intro track, the reality of it is that you’re looking at seven songs where the run time is commonly in the seven-to-nine-minute range. It’s one of those albums where the first impression is one of grand ambition that likely doesn’t hit every single note it’s trying to, but damned if the crew behind it aren’t enthusiastic in their execution, and that may just be enough to carry you through a listen. Continue reading »

Jun 112021
 

 

On June 14th the Chilean black/death band Black Ceremonial Kult will add to their collection of demos and splits that have been released since 2014. The newest release, which will come our way via Godz Ov War Productions, is named Crowned In Chaos. As you will discover through our full stream of the EP today, that title is well-chosen.

The band draw their inspiration, and the source of their powers, from occult mysticism, and it obviously leads them into frightening and dangerous places, because their music as represented on this new EP is unmistakably — and inhumanly — frightening and dangerous.

Through the first seven tracks of this 11-track release, the music alternates, creating chilling visions as well as explosions of breathtaking violence and madness, yet the tracks flow into each other seamlessly, creating a massive hallucinatory psychosis. Continue reading »

Jun 102021
 

 

In between bouts of activity driven by my fucking day job today, I had just enough time to pull together this relatively short round-up of new sounds — two tracks (both with videos) from forthcoming albums, and one recently released EP.

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM (U.S.)

WITTR’s new album has been officially announced. Entitled Primordial Arcana, it’s set for release on August 20th by Relapse Records. Coincident with that they released a video for the song “Mountain Magick“. The band made the video themselves, and filmed it “in the northern reaches of the Olympic Mountains and the ancient forests that shroud the foothills”. They also recorded, produced, and mixed the album themselves. Continue reading »

Jun 102021
 

(Andy Synn is here again to celebrate three fascinating recent releases you may have missed)

Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but I’m finding that even as the days get longer and the weather gets warmer (much, much warmer, in point of fact, if this week is any indicator) I’m actually listening to even more Black Metal than usual.

Oh, sure, I know the genre is traditionally associated with ice and snow and northern darkness, but I’ve definitely found that some bands – some, not all – also serve as the perfect soundtrack to burning days of blazing skies and blistering heat.

There’s just something about the seething buzz of the guitars, the ringing melodic arpeggios, the windswept howl of the vocals – something primal and elemental – that so often fits my mood during the searing summer months, which is why I’ve decided to dedicate today’s column to three artists and albums who’ve found themselves in regular rotation for me in recent weeks.

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Jun 102021
 

 

For just a three-track EP, Death on Fire‘s Six Foot Box is a vibrantly diverse and dynamic experience that manages to hit home in multiple ways. After reaching the end, it’s really easy to loop back around to the beginning, to re-live the experience and try to get a better understanding of how the band managed to provoke such a reflexively visceral and physical response while simultaneously moving emotions in such different and powerful ways. By then, the songs have just dug their hooks deeper under the skin, even further strengthening the desire to go back to them.

You can pick out songwriting and recording techniques (and a dark world-view) that flow across all three tracks, but trying to dissect and enumerate all the stylistic strains in the music (which seem to span about five decades of rock and metal history) is a much more difficult task, though probably easier if you’ve got some gray hairs in your head. It’s better to just appreciate how well this Indiana band have integrated the sounds that inspired them.

What we have for you today, in advance of the EP’s July 16 release, is the premiere of the EP’s second track, “A Hell of Our Own Design“. It now joins the closing song, “Begging For Air“, as publicly available streams — but we’ll also give you a written preview of the EP opener as well. Continue reading »

Jun 082021
 

(Andy Synn turns his attention to the upcoming new album from some long-time favourites of ours, Withered, with a warning to – as always – expect the unexpected)

As some of you may know, I have a long and storied history with Blackened Death Sludge deviants Withered.

The band were the focus of the 65th edition of The Synn Report, and their fourth album, Grief Relic, was – in my opinion – one of the best albums of 2016. They were also one of the first groups to participate in my ongoing Waxing Lyrical column (which I’ll be restarting very soon), as well as one of the last bands I saw live before the whole world shut down and all shows were cancelled.

It’s always frustrated me, however, that the group’s tremendous talent has never translated into the level of attention and acclaim which they so clearly deserve… although, if I’m being honest, this may be because the band themselves seem to take an almost perverse delight in not doing what people expect and always, always, taking the grimmer, grimier path less travelled instead.

But while Verloren most definitely continues this tradition – it’s a complex, contorted, cantankerous beast of an album, make no mistake – it also has the unusual distinction of being potentially, not to mention paradoxically, the band’s most accessible and most alienating work yet.

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Jun 072021
 

 

Today’s roundup of new music and videos is a real hodgepodge (or perhaps you would prefer mishmash) of metallic creativity. At least one of the entries is a massive hodgepodge unto itself. A full trip through all of them may leave you shaking your head — hopefully in wonder.

SKEPTICISM (Finland)

2021 marks the 30th anniversary of this pioneering funeral doom band, remarkably with its original line-up still intact. To celebrate their long survival, they have a new album named Companion that’s ready for release on September 24th by Svart Records. The first single, “Calla“, emerged last week with a beautiful and haunting video made by Tuomas A. Laitinen that perfectly suits the music and the equally haunting words, which incorporate references to pale calla lilies in a story of longing and closure. Continue reading »

Jun 042021
 

 

Desolate subjects and a desperate mission animate the music on Kvadrat’s debut EP Ψυχικη Αποσυνθεση (“mental decay”), which we’re now premiering in full. Rather than embracing folklore or mysticism, this Greek black metal duo grapple with the kind of severe personal estrangement that reduces a mind to a frightening and hopeless prison, a vessel of fear, frustration, pain, and desperation, capable of producing not only depression but also hatred and a desire for oblivion.

The lyrics speak of life denying us light, of time melting all hope, of toxic rain flooding the paths of salvation, of sounds of hysteria ringing from bottomless pits of madness, and of rising fires of destruction as a last resort.

And with that subject matter in mind, the music pours gasoline on the gates of an unwelcoming reality, and ignites it, perhaps as a way of shedding light on the causes of terrible predicaments, or as a violent means of freeing lost souls from mental paralysis.

Be forewarned: This music asks no quarter and gives none. These four songs are absolutely breathtaking in their intensity and sonic power — dense, near-overwhelming, onslaughts of sound capable of swallowing a listener whole — but they are somehow also strangely mesmerizing. The music rings as well as ravages, and while it’s unnerving in its discordance, it can also seem heavenly — if the heavens were on fire. Continue reading »