Nov 032020


(This is the fifth installment in a seven-album review orgy by our man DGR, who is attempting to free his mind for year-end season by clearing away a backlog of write-ups for albums he has enjoyed in 2020. With one exception we’ve been running these on consecutive days, and today’s subject is the third album by the Egyptian death metal band Scarab, released last spring by ViciSolum Productions.)

It isn’t the most intuitive thing in the world, but I could’ve sworn that I learned about Scarab’s early-2020 disc Martyrs Of The Storm via ViciSolum Productions at this very site. We’d covered them previously so the Egyptian death metal group were already on my radar. But this specific album is one where I’m swearing up and down that we already wrote about it here – so much so that I’m somewhat scared that I may already be stepping on someone else’s turf by writing about it again.

That’s especially true when you consider that an album like Martyrs Of The Storm will generally find a solid foothold around these parts – partially my fault – because it’s a giant fifty-minute bear of a disc that plays well within the realm of the low and hammering brutal death traditions. Continue reading »

Nov 032020


In much of the northern hemisphere there is a chill in the air today as the seasons shift into winter, but not solely for that reason. You probably know other reasons for the intensifying chills across our skins that have nothing to do with air temperature, rain, wind, or snow. We live in a frightening and perilous time. The conjunction of the misery and anxiety spawned by what goes on around us and the inexorable sinking into winter makes this day a nearly perfect occasion for the revelation of Shattered Hope‘s new album Vespers.

And it truly is a revelation, one of the most completely immersive and emotionally powerful albums you’re likely to encounter this year. It consists of five extensive tracks that collectively exceed an hour in length. Despite their length, each track is so brilliantly crafted, and embodies so many gripping changes, that getting lost in them is almost inescapable. The entire experience is tragic, as one might expect from this Greek band, who have become so well-known in the halls of atmospheric doom-death and funeral doom, but the album’s monumental visions of devastating moods are magnificent.

And we are thus tremendously fortunate to present a full stream of Vespers today, just days before its November 6 release through the esteemed Solitude Productions. Continue reading »

Nov 022020


(This is the fourth installment in a seven-album review orgy by our man DGR, who is attempting to free his mind for year-end season by clearing away a backlog of write-ups for albums he has enjoyed in 2020. We’ve been running these on consecutive days — except we missed Friday — and today’s subject is a debut album released last spring via Nuclear Blast by the Spanish band White Stones.)

The March 13, 2020 album Kuarahy by the band White Stones is such a fascinating release for a number of reasons. This far out from its release, it’s been interesting to see how things have played out for the group’s debut release via Nuclear Blast. On the homefront, we covered the music videos in the lead-up to the debut of this project led by Martin Mendez (of Opeth bassist fame), but upon full release it kind of full off the site’s radar. We’ll rectify that here.

This is a record I’ve listened to a multitude of times since its release, and by the end of multiple listening sections and a seven-month writing delay it remains stubbornly ‘interesting’, in part because what keeps grabbing me seems to nebulous. Every time I think I have a hold on it, it wriggles away and moves just slightly out of vision again. It’s a bizarre creature that seems to exist permanently ‘elsewhere’, even though  at first glance it never seems to garner much more than ‘that’s some prog-death music alright’. Continue reading »

Oct 302020


(In this Synn Report for the month of October 2020, Andy Synn assembles reviews of all the albums released by the French band Dysylumn, the most recent of which appeared earlier this month via Signal Rex.)

Recommended for fans of: Schammasch, Sinmara, Blut Aus Nord

I know, I know, this is the third time in a row where The Synn Report has zeroed in on a band playing some form of Black Metal. And, I promise, next month’s edition will break the pattern. But I honestly couldn’t let October pass by without taking the opportunity to completely immerse myself in the pitch-black back-catalogue of French duo Dysylumn, whose latest album was released earlier this month.

If it helps matters, the band’s earliest works erred much more towards the Blackened Death Metal side of things  albeit with a heavy, borderline hypnotic, atmospheric presence on top of all that, so this edition of The Synn Report is still set to be strikingly different to the ones which preceded it.

But what I’m really looking forward to here is an opportunity to chart the band’s evolution from their imposing Black/Death early output through to their more atmosphere-intense, poisonously “progressive” Black Metal of their more recent work, as it’s only be understanding where they came from that we can truly appreciate what they’ve become. Continue reading »

Oct 302020


When we last checked in with Atomic Witch at our putrid site, about 14 months ago, the occasion was a premiere of the title track from their first EP, Void Curse. It caused us to conclude that the long-time disciples of the Cleveland metal and hardcore scene who formed Atomic Witch picked a damned good band name. As we wrote then, that EP “couples the wild radioactive energy of a runaway nuclear meltdown with the weird and witchy feeling of a supernatural orgy”. Together, those four tracks were supercharged with furious, pulse-pounding energy, head-spinning instrumental changes, and unhinged vocal intensity. The genre-bending music created a maniacal atmosphere, whole-heartedly indulging in a musical blood-spraying riot from beginning to end.

Now, 14 months later, the band’s label Seeing Red Records is on the verge of releasing a new Atomic Witch EP, entitled Death, Sex, and Satan. They picked Halloween as the release date (tomorrow!), for reasons that will become obvious when you find out what they’ve done — and yes, you can find out right away, because we’re premiering a full stream of the whole thing. Continue reading »

Oct 292020


(Vonlughlio has unearthed a blast of buzzsaw d-beat goregrind and gives it a hearty recommendation in this review.)

One of the best things for me is discovering music out of the blue, either by a recommendation from a friend, scrolling on the internet, Bandcamp, or seeing a FB post. That’s what happened in the case of Basic Torture Procedure, a goregrind act formed this year whose three members are spread across Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

They independently released  their debut album Domination Through Torture on May 17th, but of course yours truly only discovered them like a month ago and went on their Bandcamp to purchase the tape version (the only available physical format). This for me is one of the best music discoveries of 2020. I am somewhat picky in the goregrind department and their music captured me right away. Continue reading »

Oct 292020


(This is the third installment in a seven-album review orgy by our man DGR, who is attempting to free his mind for year-end season by clearing away a backlog of write-ups for albums he has enjoyed in 2020. Today’s subject is the newest album by the long-running Swedish death metal band Demonical, which was released on October 23rd by Agonia Records.)

Even though Demonical have been around for six albums and a swath of material in between, it’s been interesting to watch how the band have wound up unintentionally re-contextualized alongside bassist Martin Schulman‘s other works, like Centinex. The two groups share common DNA through Demonical’s initial founding around a core of former Centinex crew and the timing of their releases being so close to each other. It makes it seem as if the two are playing off of each other.

Whereas Centinex is rooted firmly in a classic Swede-death sound and all the rock-striking-boulder thump that is contained therein, Demonical are the other side of that death metal coin, a more modern-sounding project that sidles up perfectly alongside the distorted chainsaw riff and blasting drums of today. Both groups have also maintained very fluid lineups, with both gaining new vocalists in place of October Tide‘s multi-talented – and at one point very prolific – Alexander Högbom. Demonical have been a little more steady in comparison to Centinex’s full refresh, but the additions of Christofer Säterdal on vocals and returning drummer Ronnie Bergerstäl in the time between Chaos Manifesto and the group’s newest album World Domination has certainly kept things interesting. Continue reading »

Oct 282020


(This is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Iceland’s Sólfstafir, which is due for release on November 6 via Season of Mist.)

Once upon a time, in the distant town of Reykjavik, a group of Black Metal loving, cowboy hat wearing, Post-Rock playing urban vikings decided to form a band.

Calling themselves Sólfstafir and drawing from a broad spectrum of influences – ranging from Nirvana, Neurosis and U2 to Ulver, Enslaved, and Explosions in the Sky – the group soon began to make waves, both at home and abroad, but it wasn’t until the release of 2009’s sublime, spine-tingling Köld, which expanded the band’s sound into even grungier, proggier, and more atmospheric territory, that they truly came into their own.

Two years later they followed this up with what is widely considered to be their magnum opus (and one of the few modern double-albums where every song is is a winner), Svartir Sandar, cementing their status as one of the most unique, dynamic, and creative Rock/Metal bands on the planet.

But then… something changed. Slowly but surely they began to soften their edges and smooth out many of the rougher, more interesting textures which had defined their sound. And although the more sombre vibe of 2014’s Ótta still made for an emotive and engaging listening experience for the most part, by the time 2017’s Berdreyminn rolled around things had become, barring a few stand-out moments, pretty bland overall, even as the group’s fame and fortune continued to rise.

The thing is, it seems like even the band themselves must have been feeling like they’d lost their way a little, as the press materials and interviews for their new album explicitly refer to a desire to return to the style and spirit of their early days… which brings us to Endless Twilight of Codependent Love. Continue reading »

Oct 282020


Cleveland-based Noxis have only been active since 2019 but they have wasted no time in proving their fiendish talents. Setting their sites on a particular kind of death metal, they released the aptly named Necrotizing demo in the year of their birth and are now following that with the new four-track EP we’re premiering today, also aptly named: Expanse of Hellish Black Mire. Those fiendish talents quickly hooked the attention of both Pulverised Records and Rotted Life Records, who will jointly handle the release on October 30.

In formulating their approach, Noxis owe some debts to the great NYDM triumvirate of Incantation, Suffocation, and Immolation, as well as Finnish bands such as Demigod and Convulse, and they’ve paid those debts by creating music that’s thuggish in its bone-fracturing, organ-rupturing belligerence and disgustingly gruesome in its atmosphere, and yet also mind-boggling in its mad contortions and technical extravagances. Their music is thus thoroughly putrid and punishing but also a big adrenaline kick. Continue reading »

Oct 282020


(This is the second installment in a seven-album review orgy by our man DGR, who is attempting to free his mind for year-end season by clearing away a backlog of write-ups for albums he has spent a lot of time with in 2020. Today’s subject is a new EP by Inferi, released on October 9th.)

As a rule of thumb, releases by the Tennessee-based tech-death crew Inferi tend to be a lot of fun. They made their name in the whirling maelstrom of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink, pyroclastic-flow-of-notes style of hyperspeed tech-death. As much as anything, it’s a blast to see just how far Inferi are going to push each song before they fully disintigrate. While they’ve certainly become one of the groups whose music serves as a snapshot of a scene at the time of each release, there’s purely reptilian amusement to be found in seeing how much a band can shred within a single song.

Of Sunless Realms is the newest EP from the band, weighing in at a compact – for them – twenty-two minutes and five songs. Every previous time when covering a band of their ilk – including those their current label The Artisan Era likes to traffic in – it has always felt justified to warn people to gird themselves a bit for a massive journey ahead, simply because such bands really, really like to pack as much as they possibly can into every song. Surprisingly, Of Sunless Realms works in their favor simply because of its compact length – about as no bullshit as Inferi can get – with five songs that provide a tantalizing snapshot of where the band are now. Continue reading »