Dec 282018


(For the final edition of THE SYNN REPORT for 2018, Andy Synn compiles reviews of all the albums released to date by Veilburner, including their brand new record A Sire To the Ghouls of Lunacy, which is being released today.)

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Dodecahedron, Imperial Triumphant

I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks, first with a mix of work and band commitments, then with more personal stuff going into the Christmas period, that I honestly almost forgot that I still had a new edition of The Synn Report (the last one of the year) to produce.

Thankfully it didn’t take very long to select which band would be this month’s lucky recipient of my attentions, as prolific Pennsylvania duo Veilburner are releasing their fourth (and likely finest) album today via Transcending Obscurity Records, meaning that the timing really couldn’t have worked out better.

With an incredibly diverse, yet distinctive, sound – the closest true comparison I can think of is with those Avant-Garde Australian extremists in Ur Draugr, though you’ll also see that, multiple times throughout this column, I’ve tried to make references which I think will appeal to our readers – over the past four/five years Mephisto Deleterio (instrumentation) and Chrisom Inferium (vocals) have produced several hours of warped and twisted, tumultuously technical and deviously discordant Black/Death Metal which doesn’t really sound exactly like anyone, or any thing, else out there. Continue reading »

Dec 282018


CON is a black metal project started by Swedish musician Pontus Norman in 2009. The project’s name consists of the first three letters of the Latin word Conscindo, which means “To tear into pieces”, and we’re told that in this context it is intended as a representation of the command “To tear the earth into pieces”. A demo whose sound was consistent with that edict appeared long ago, but now, almost a decade later, CON’s debut EP In Signo Draconis will soon be released on cassette tape by Clandestine Faith., whose founder Steven Santos has become a member of CON for future recordings, and today we’re helping spread the word through the premiere of a full stream of the EP’s three tracks

For those who may become curious about the evolution of this project and the interests and experiences of the band’s members, we recommend this October 2017 interview, and this more recent one which was published in August 2018. In the earlier interview, Pontus Norman explains that on this new EP, Jimmie Oloausson played the drums and Master of Her Temple performed the vocals. Continue reading »

Dec 282018


(TheMadIsraeli reviews the second album by the Finnish band Rifftera, which will be released by Inverse Records on January 18th.)

2019 is already off to a solid start with the first round of promos I received in my in-box, and I thought I’d continue what I began yesterday with the most energetic of those discoveries.

I discovered Finland’s Rifftera randomly browsing, and while their name is oddly metal meme-y, their musical output is anything but. The band’s sophomore album, Across The Acheron, is a strong statement that’s likely to get this progressive melodic death metal band noticed next year, and I intend to be part of the push for that. Continue reading »

Dec 272018


(We present TheMadIsraeli’s review of the debut album by the Chilean band Critical Defiance, which will be released on February 9th by Unspeakable Axe Records.)

I think when dissecting the issue of why most throwback modern thrash bands end up writing boring stale material, it really boils down to the fact that, from my personal interactions with that niche scene, talking to people in it as well as looking at the way a lot of these bands market themselves, the bands don’t care so much about the music as they do the image, the culture around the scene, etc.

A few bands have managed to show that they were more than enthusiasts, and became maestros in their own right.  With Havok, Evile, Crisix, and Vektor as examples, a lot of the bands in this movement who are beloved are those who aren’t stuck in the time when their genre was conceived.  They bring modern song-writing skills, or they write compelling, diverse albums that borrow from every era of the style’s golden days. from the mid-’80s all the way to the early ’90s. Continue reading »

Dec 262018


(Fallen Empire Records chose this day for the label’s final batch of releases, one of which is the hotly anticipated new album by New Jersey’s Death Fortress — and to coincide with its release we present Andy Synn‘s review.)

One of the things I love most about Metal – about listening to it, creating it, writing about it – is how unpredictable it can be. Every year is different, and you can’t necessarily guess in advance what albums are going to raise the bar, and what artists are going to shit the bed (sometimes spectacularly) over the course of the next twelve months.

But some artists are definitely more reliable than others, which is why I’ve been eagerly anticipating the release of the new album by New Jersey Black Metal marauders Death Fortress ever since it was announced. Continue reading »

Dec 262018


I found myself with some time alone during the afternoon of Christmas Day, time enough to give myself a gift and watch the official video of Emperor’s live performance at Roadburn 2018, which I’d set aside for just such an occasion. It was tremendous… and while taking a break to re-fill a glass of something amber, I noticed a message from a valued acquaintance with a holiday gift of his own, and it proved to be one I will treasure.

It was a link to an album by a French one-man blackened-death machine named Sheol Blanc that was released in February of this year, with the title Solitaire Dépravé. With some personal time still left to me after Emperor’s set concluded, I moved right into it, and was completely floored by what I heard, so much so that I impulsively started pecking these words before the feeling dimmed at all. Continue reading »

Dec 242018


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by the British duo MASS, which is set for an official release on December 25th by An Out Recordings.)

It’s always flattering when a band submits a promo to our website with a specific request that I be the one to review it.

Of course, just submitting your promo and making this request doesn’t necessarily guarantee that:

  1. I’m going to actually cover it, or
  2. I’m going to actually like it

But, since you’re reading this right now, you know that at least that first condition has been satisfied, so let’s see about the second one, shall we? Continue reading »

Dec 242018


(We present Vonlughlio’s review of the new album by the Czech band Epicardiectomy, which will be released on the 30th of December by New Standard Elite.)

The following review is for Epicardiectomy’s third opus, Grotesque Monument of Paraperversive Transfixion, to be released December 30th via New Standard Elite.

This band was formed back in 2007 in the Czech Republic and their type of BDM/Slam has a huge fan base around the globe. Personally, I tend to be picky when it comes to bands that are in this sub-genre. When I first encountered them early in their career, I hated them with a vengeance, and talked ill things about their name. Now, you might wonder why, and might also wonder what brought about the change of mind? Well, to be honest, it’s because of “The Serge“, their guitar player, who used to play in a band called Fleshbomb.

I remember admitting to myself, “I’ve only heard two songs that I did not like, and this new guitarist used to play in this other band, so let’s give this a chance”. So I proceeded to the Coyote Records Bancamp to listen to their first and second albums with an open mind, and guess what? This fucker bought the two albums right there — and the songs I hated? Well that reaction has not changed. From this experience, I’ve learned that sometimes giving a second chance works, and this time it did, and I don’t give two shits what anyone else might think. Continue reading »

Dec 232018


Mr. Synn‘s preparation of a very interesting interview for publication yesterday allowed me to spend parts of Friday and most of Saturday focusing on what I might do for today. Like a cat playing with a ball of rough black twine, I unraveled more and more threads of spiky music. Now I’m going to try to make sense of this morass of strands that has snarled my brain (and snarled at it).

I’ve decided to begin with short reviews of two very impressive albums released last week. I hesitate to mention the rest of the plan, since at this point it’s only partially completed and could go awry. But as you can see, I do intend to provide some further recommendations from the black realms before night falls.


Daniel Neagoe left his imprint on many 2018 records, including Clouds‘ album Dor (which made Andy Synn‘s list of the year’s 10 best albums), Eye of Solitude’s Slaves To Solitude (reviewed here), and Pantheist’s Seeking Infinity. It’s fair to say that whatever he is involved in, we pay attention to. And that’s what led me to Genune. Continue reading »

Dec 192018


“This album REALLY isn’t for you!” So states the PR material for the new album on the Harvest of Death label by the duo of unrepentant Portuguese extremists in Vetala. The wordsmith in question wasn’t referring to me in particular (at least I don’t think so), but to some broad swath of “critics” who might take offense at an album named Retarded Necro Demential Hole and whose utter depravity could be perceived as a way of taking a shit on good taste and “any and all conceptions of ‘black metal'”.

Of course, I took that as a dare. I mean, most of you know the range of extreme metal that typically forms my own bread and rancid butter. How could it possibly be too transgressive or disgusting for me to swallow? Continue reading »