Nov 302020


(This is Andy Synn‘s SYNN REPORT for November 2020, and this month he lines up reviews of all the albums by California’s Vampire Squid.)

Recommended for fans of: Cattle Decapitation, The Red Chord, Slugdge

Being in a Metal band and not taking yourself too seriously, while also treating your craft and your audience with the respect they deserve, is a difficult line to walk – but not an impossible one.

Matter of fact, some of my favourite bands are dead serious (and highly professional) about what they do while also being fully aware of the innate absurdity of using the medium of Metal to bellow barely decipherable lyrics about historical atrocities or struggles with mental illness or scorn for global politics… or any one of a hundred other deadly serious, and seriously dark, issues.

And while lyrically Southern California Tech-Grind crew Vampire Squid may be slightly less serious than some – most of their songs are based around the classic Death Metal themes of blood, guts, and dismemberment, albeit with a suitably briny twist – musically speaking they’re cut from the same creative cloth as bands like The Red Chord and The Faceless, marrying the angular technicality of these groups with a rabid intensity reminiscent of Cattle Decapitation and Benighted, all topped off with a dose of the complex-yet-catchy songwriting style of their mollusc-based brethren in Slugdge (with whom they also share a love for pun-tastic song titles).

But, hey, if all that sounds too good to be true then why not see/hear for yourself and join me on a free dive into the crushing depths of the band’s discography for this month’s edition of The Synn Report? Continue reading »

Nov 272020


(We present Andy Synn‘s combined reviews of the three EPs released this year by the Nevada band Holy Death.)

Today’s edition of “Short But Sweet” is a little different.

Rather than covering three EPs by three different bands, instead we’re going to be taking a look at three different EPs by the same band, Las Vegas-based Death/Doom disciples Holy Death, whose debut EP, Supreme Metaphysical Violence, came out back in February, and was followed soon after by June’s Celestial Throne ov Grief.

Then, right at the end of last month, they dropped Deus Mortis, which is around about the time I jumped on the bandwagon… which brings us right up to date.

Continue reading »

Nov 262020


We’re premiering the self-titled debut EP of the Montreal band Cell Press on the eve of its release. If we could see your faces when you listen to it, there would be a great temptation to write nothing about the music and just watch your expressions change as all the surprises hit you like battering rams, expressions that might range from joy to panic to spine-tingling fear, and perhaps revulsion too. But since we can’t see you, on we go….

By way of background, Cell Press are a relatively new outfit, coming together only last year, though their members have played in a myriad of punk, metal, and hardcore bands such as The Great Sabatini, Biipiigwan, I Hate Sally, The Chariot, Animal Ethics, Architect, Swarm Of Spheres, and Angles. They took their name from the 2001 Russian prison documentary The Mark Of Cain. If you know that movie, the choice will make some sense when you hear the songs. Continue reading »

Nov 252020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the first full-length by Exitium Sui, which will be released on November 27th by Naturmacht Productions.)

So from writing about an almost thirty-year-old band who just released their twelfth(!) album, now it’s time to pivot to a brand-new band who only came into existence earlier this year, and who are about to release their full-length debut.

As a certain modern-day TV star might say… this is the (NCS) way.

Now, despite being such a “new” band, Exitium Sui actually have a significant musical pedigree already, as mainman/multi-instrumentalist ES was previously a member of several notable Australian bands (including NCS faves Earth Rot and Deadspace) and is currently also a part of several underground European acts, most notably Lebenssucht and Humanitas Error Est (both of whom we’ve written about here before).

As a result you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that Ad Personam is a highly professional, highly polished, and extremely confident debut that deftly straddles the dividing line between Black Metal and Doom, drawing on, and drawing out, the best bits of both genres. Continue reading »

Nov 252020


(Today Vonlughlio’s recommendation for hungry fans of brutal death metal is the latest album by Indonesia’s Death Vomit, which was released in July by Demented Mind Records.)

As some of might you know, one of my favorite genres is BDM (you don’t say! lol) and I love the different scenes around the globe that embrace and live for it. Indonesian Death Metal (IDDM) is a prime example of a scene that loves death metal in general, and BDM is particularly huge in that country.

Lots of projects/fans from the region are passionate about the music. For them it is a form of love that a lot of people from other parts of the world should take note of. Maybe one reason I appreciate this so much is that other fans who show a similar level of passion are from Latin America, and I am Latino, so I can relate to the IDDM scene. Continue reading »

Nov 242020


The Serapeum is a remarkable new EP created by the Egyptian metal artist Nader Sadek and a star-strewn coterie of talented friends. To celebrate its imminent release, we’re presenting a second video for a song from the EP, which joins another one that we premiered earlier.

We’ve already devoted a lot of attention to this EP, including a wide-ranging interview by DJ Jet of Nader Sadek and two of his collaborators on The Serapeum. But for those who might have missed that, this new EP grew out of a collaboration in Egypt among Nader, Karl Sanders (Nile), Derek Roddy (Serpents Rise), and Mahmud Gecekusu (Perversion).

And if those names weren’t already enough to seize your attention, the music also includes contributions by bassists Ben “Barby” Claus (Gorod) and Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (Augury) and vocalists Morean (Dark Fortress) and Shaun LaCanne (Putrid Pile), as well as Alex Zubair (Nephelium) creating eastern harmonies and drones, and Nancy Mounir adding theremin hauntings to the mix. Moreover, Sadek himself recorded the vocals inside the inner chamber of Dahshur’s “Red Pyramid” (the pyramid of Snefru). Continue reading »

Nov 232020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity, which was released on November 20th by Century Media.)

You may have noticed, over the days/weeks/months/years you’ve spent perusing our humble site, that we don’t often cover releases by the so-called “big” names (“big” by Metal standards anyway).

There’s a bunch of different reasons for this – mostly we just don’t think they need the coverage we can provide, so our time would be better spent throwing our weight behind artists who might directly benefit from it more – but that doesn’t mean there’s a blanket ban on covering “big” bands.

However, if/when we do decide to write something about a particularly notable new “big name” release, we tend to wait until after the release date to do so.

Why? Well, let’s face it, any time there’s a notable new record (like this one) on the way, there’s always such a rush to praise or condemn, to be the first to market, the first with the hottest and/or most sycophantic take, that any attempt at a more measured analysis usually gets lost in all the sound and fury.

But by waiting until the dust has settled a bit we’re able to give ourselves more time to sit with the music, to let our thoughts simmer and percolate a little longer, which will hopefully result in a fairer and more well-rounded review.

And, let’s face it, with a career spanning almost 30(!) years, and twelve albums, if any band deserves a fair and honest assessment of their work, it’s Dark Tranquillity. Continue reading »

Nov 212020


(Today we have a bonus edition of THE SYNN REPORT, with the usual month-ending one still ahead, and here Andy Synn pays homage to the extravagant discography of Florida’s Lascaille’s Shroud.)

Recommended for fans of: Edge of Sanity, Allegaeon, Scar Symmetry

Despite what it says above… this is NOT the November edition of The Synn Report. That’s still to come at the end of the month as normal.

What this is, however, is a bonus edition of everyone’s favourite discography deep-dive designed to correct a grave injustice perpetrated by this site, and by this writer in particular.

You see, several years back we began covering the work of Lascaille’s Shroud, the outlandish Sci-Fi-Prog-Death project of Florida’s Brett Windnagle, and wrote rather glowingly about their first three albums.

But then, somehow, we lost touch with the band, and it was only recently that I discovered that they’ve since produced an additional three albums, with the most recent two being released earlier this year.

As you might gather then, it’s high time for us to catch-up on what we’ve been missing, and while this may not be as comprehensive an article as some of them – Brett’s talent for extravagance means it’s not unusual to see songs shoot past the 15, 20, or 25 minute mark, and both their second and third albums are spread across two stacked discs clocking in at a total of over two hours of music – it should still give you a real feel and flavour for what Lascaille’s Shroud is all about. Continue reading »

Nov 202020


(We present Todd Manning‘s review of the 2016 self-titled debut EP of Texas-based Cognizant, which was given a proper CD release by Selfmadegod Records on November 13th.)

When it comes to Grindcore, there’s always been a split, with some bands falling on the Metal side of the fence while others are more firmly rooted in Hardcore, though even more have staked out their territory somewhere smack in the middle. In the case of Dallas-based five-piece Cognizant, they easily emerge from the fetid swamp of Death Metal and their debut self-titled record, re-released courtesy of Selfmadegod Records, shows why they have become a force to be reckoned with.

In 1997, Floridians Assück dropped one of the best Grind records of all time with Misery Index, and they too were heavily indebted to Death Metal (in their case it was the almighty Suffocation). Cognizant looks to Gorguts for much of their Death Metal influence, and this leads their particular brand of blasting a much more complex and abstract edge. But do not mistake this abstractness for a lack of impact, because this is a paint-peeling assault from start to finish. Continue reading »

Nov 192020


XLIX, the new second album by the Italian death metal band Crawling Chaos which is set for release on November 20th 2020 via Time To Kill Records, is a concept album inspired by a book that remains widely read and widely cited five centuries after it was written, and in its concept is a departure from the more usual subject matter to be found within death metal, including this band’s own full-length debut from seven years ago, Repellent Gastronomy. The band have explained:

“While Repellent Gastronomy was some sort of anthology of Lovecraftian horrors revisited in a death metal fashion, XLIX is a concept album in all respects. To write it we were inspired by “The Prince”, the famous book written by Niccolò Machiavelli in the Sixteenth Century. The narration is a kind of parable, a chronicle out of time and space that traces the story of a nameless and faceless protagonist. All the lyrics are penned in the first person by this sort of ‘new Prince'”. Continue reading »