Oct 302019
 

 

(In this October edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy Synn compiles reviews of all the releases by the UK death metal band Vacivus, including Annihilism, an album just released by Profound Lore.)

Recommended for fans of: Incantation, Teitanblood, Sulphur Aeon

Despite my current status as an all-seeing, all-knowing, font of metallic wisdom (…cough…) I still find it difficult to say which bands are going to get “big”, and why some of those bands do when others don’t.

Take UK death-dealers Vacivus, for example. Despite receiving a wealth of critical praise for their work over the last few years, the quintet have yet to have that one “breakout” moment that might put them on the fast track to stardom.

Quite why this is I’m not sure, as the band’s blending of guttural growls and gut-churning riffage, all tinged around the edges with a touch of murky atmosphere and poisonous blackened melody, instinctively hits all the right notes to appeal to an impressive cross-section of extremophiles.

So if you’re a dedicated disciple of Death Metal overlords like Incantation, Immolation, and Morbid Angel, a lover of more modern upstarts like Sulphur Aeon, Blood Incantation, and Tomb Mold, or the sort of person who enjoys wallowing in the Death/Black hybrid horror of bands like Abyssal, Portal, or Teitanblood, you owe it to yourselves to check these guys out. Continue reading »

Sep 302019
 

 

(For this month’s Synn Report, Andy delves into the discography of the German band Implore, including their latest full-length, just released by Century Media.)

Recommended for fans of: Nasum,Trap ThemAncst

Sometimes the self-imposed restrictions I’ve put in place around this column do make things a little difficult.

Case in point, simply picking three bands for the “Recommended for fans of…” section above proved to be a surprisingly difficult task, as Implore’s sound could potentially appeal to a wide range of listeners.

At their heart the quartet are a belligerent Death/Grind act, but this description doesn’t tell the full story, as while the speed and structure of the tracks recalls Grindcore godfathers like Nasum and Rotten Sound, and their meaty, Swe-Death guitar tone is equal parts Grave and Dismember, there’s also a distinct Crust/Hardcore element that would appeal to fans of everyone from Earth Crisis to Martyrdöd, as well as a touch of blackened spite reminiscent of Anaal Nathrakh at their grindiest, and some hook-heavy riffs and melodies that aren’t a million miles from At The Gates or Darkest Hour at their punkiest.

But Implore don’t actually sound exactly like any of these bands when all is said and done. They just happen to hit that sweet spot where fans of these bands, if they’re open-minded enough, will be able to appreciate what they do, no matter whereabouts on the Metal spectrum they come from. Continue reading »

Aug 302019
 

 

(In this August edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn writes of all the albums released by the California band Wrvth, including a review of their most recent album, No Rising Sun, released on August 23rd by Unique Leader Records.)

Recommended for fans of: Fallujah, The Faceless, Bosse-De-Nage

It’s always sad to see a band hanging up their boots just as it seems like they’re hitting their stride. Such is the case with Californian Technical/Progressive/Post-Death Metal crew Wrvth (pronounced “Wrath”, not “Ruth”) who released their fourth and final (and finest) album just last week, before all going their own separate ways.

Beginning life as a much more straightforward Technical Death/core group and operating under the lengthier sobriquet of Wrath of Vesuvius, it wasn’t until 2015, when the band changed their name, upgraded their sound, and released their career-redefining eponymous album, that they really came into their own, having developed a new approach that was simultaneously both atmospheric and aggressive, chaotic and cathartic, ambient yet angular, and which they would go on to refine to near perfection on this year’s No Rising Sun. Continue reading »

Aug 022019
 

 

(In this July edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the albums released to date by the Finnish band Krypts, including a review of their most recent album, Cadaver Circulation, released this past May by Dark Descent Records.)

Recommended for fans of: Incantation, Desolate Shrine, Tomb Mold

Fearsome Finnish four-piece Krypts are one of the best bands in Death Metal right now.

As a matter of fact, in my humble opinion, their punishing blend of humongous, heaving riffs, putrid vocal vomit, and dread-inducing Doom is absolutely second to none, and looks to have achieved its ultimate apotheosis on the group’s latest, and greatest, album, Cadaver Circulation, a record which can honestly go toe-to-toe, round-for-round, with the very best of them.

That’s not to downplay the intensity or impact of their previous two releases though, as the band have always been consummate wielders of “the riff”, and have, likewise, always possessed a certain gift for songcraft which ensures that even their foulest metallic offerings are as virulently infectious as they are absolutely crushing. Continue reading »

Jun 282019
 

 

(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the albums released to date by the Swedish band This Gift Is A Curse, including a review of their most recent album A Throne of Ash, released by Season of Mist on June 14th.)

Recommended for fans of: Dragged Into Sunlight, Celeste, The Secret

The type of Black Metal meets Sludge meets Hardcore hybrid championed by Swedish spitfires This Gift Is A Curse has always appealed to me on a deep, dark level. I can’t necessarily tell you exactly why, but it’s true all the same.

There’s just something about the sheer, bloodthirsty intensity of the music, the absolute refusal to pull any punches or offer any quarter, that makes it impossible to resist.

It’s an ugly, nasty, nihilistic sound, make no mistake about it, but it’s also thrillingly visceral and alive. And the three albums produced by This Gift Is A Curse (the most recent of which was only released a couple of weeks back) are three of the very best examples of the style in all its grim and gruesome glory. Continue reading »

May 312019
 

 

(The subject of Andy Synn‘s REPORT for the month of May 2019 is the discography of the Australian band Encircling Sea.)

Recommended for fans of: Downfall of Gaia, Cult of Luna, Wolves In The Throne Room

Australian three-piece Encircling Sea are a band I’ve been itching to write about for what seems like forever, yet it’s always seemed like life has had other plans and other priorities which have prevented me from doing so.

Recently however my urge to cover the group’s music has ramped up considerably, largely because 2018’s Hearken was one of my favourite albums of the year, and helped reignite/reinvigorate my passion for their entire back catalogue.

Splitting the difference between the more atmospheric end of the Black Metal spectrum (think Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch, etc) and the heaving Post-Metal of ISIS and their ilk, the group’s sound also incorporates some hefty Doom and Sludge influences, as well as a dash of somber Neo-Folk, in a way that captures both the vastness and elemental grandeur of the band’s homeland in majestic musical form. Continue reading »

May 032019
 

 

(In this April 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn enthusiastically reviews the discography to date of the Italian band Caronte.)

Recommended for fans of: Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Pallbearer

Don’t let your senses deceive you… it may be a few days late but this is still the April edition of The Synn Report, and one which I hope will be more than worth the extra wait, as the Satanic Stoner Doom sound of Italy’s Caronte (a band I only became familiar with/aware of thanks to their performance at this year’s edition of Inferno Festival) represents something I/we haven’t really touched on very much (if at all) in this column before now.

Active for a little over eight years now, the quartet – Dorian Bones (vocals), Tony Bones (guitar), Henry Bones (bass), and Mike De Chirico (drums) – have already built up a pretty healthy discography during their career, using their music (and their live shows) to explore and celebrate the more occult side of things, with songs addressing everything from Thelemic mysticism to Buddhist philosophy to Native American shamanism.

And while the strident clean vocals of singer Dorian Bones might seem like something you wouldn’t usually expect on this site (given their somewhat theatrical, Danzig-esque cadence) please believe me when I say that they’re a vital part of the band’s identity.

But enough jibber-jabber from me… why not read/listen further and find out for yourself? Continue reading »

Mar 302019
 

 

(In this March 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy looks back at the four albums released so far by Arizona’s Landmine Marathon.)

Recommended for fans of: Gatecreeper, Bolt Thrower, Venom Prison

So the original plan for this month’s edition of The Synn Report was to feature the work of one-man Black Metal malcontent Abduction so as to line up nicely with the release of his brand new album.

Unfortunately, what Islander didn’t tell me was that he’d already arranged for a premiere (and review) to go live yesterday… which just goes to show that it’s important to communicate, kids! (Editor’s intrusion: Andy listed “mind-reader” on his resume. Mere puffery, apparently.)

Thankfully, I have a huge list of alternative Synn Report candidates to select from, which made the whole process a lot easier than you might imagine, especially since I’ve been itching to write about Arizona Death Metal quintet Landmine Marathon for ages! Continue reading »

Feb 282019
 

 

(Here’s the February 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and this month Andy reviews the collected discography of the Pennsylvania technical death metal band Aletheian.)

Recommended for fans of: Death, Atheist, Extol

According to my most recent count I’ve got close to 100 potential entries for The Synn Report lined up, some of which deal with current bands whose back-catalogues I think deserve a second look, some of which look at bands who are no longer active but who are well worth checking out all the same, and some, like today’s entry, which feature bands whose situation is currently unknown.

For the February 2019 edition I’ve elected to go back in time a little bit and touch on the short, but oh so sweet, discography of one of Technical Death Metal’s most underappreciated artists, Pennsylvanian riff-wizards Aletheian.

Formed in 1997 under the name Crutch, only to change their name in 2003 following some major line-up changes, the band currently have three albums to their name, each of which err towards the more cerebral and progressive end of the Tech-Death spectrum, with a particular emphasis on complex song-structures and creative melody rather than frantic fretwork fireworks.

And while not much has been heard from the group since then, there were some rumblings a few years back that a new album was in the works, so while this may be the first you’re hearing about the band for some of you, hopefully it won’t be the last! Continue reading »

Jan 312019
 

 

(The January 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT is devoted to the releases of the Scottish band Saor, and includes Andy Synn‘s review of Saor’s newest album, Forgotten Paths, which will be released on February 15th by Avantgarde Music.)

Recommended for fans of: Panopticon, Alcest, Dawn Ray’d

There’s been a lot of discussion recently – much of it intriguing, much of it ignorant – about what Black Metal “should” or “shouldn’t” be.

And while the whole issue, and all its many facets and factors, is far too complex for me to address here, the various conversations and arguments I’ve had with people – some like-minded, some less so – have helped crystallise in my mind that the most important thing any Black Metal artist needs… is passion.

Case in point, Saor (the solo project of one Andy Marshall) is absolutely brimming with passion and primal vitality, and each of the band’s albums (the fourth of which will be released within the next few weeks) marries energy and emotion, atmosphere and artistry, in a way that clearly comes right from the heart. Continue reading »