Jan 312024

Recommended for fans of: Darkher, Holy Fawn, Junius

Finnish fatalist Suvi Savikko (aka Shedfromthebody) is a relatively recent discovery – having only released her debut album in 2020 – but has been a prolific presence here at NCS all the same, as we’ve so far covered all her releases (which, including last month’s Amare, now totals three full-length albums and one EP) to one extent or another.

Sonically the project’s combines brooding guitars, desolate ambience, and mesmerising melody – as well as, increasingly, a blending of Shoegaze, Sludge, Grunge, and Alt-Rock influences – into a sound that could best be described as “Doomgaze” or “Post-Doom”, if one were so inclined.

It’s an acquired taste, certainly, but one which is both rich in real emotion and resonates with raw potential, and I am hopeful that many of our readers will come to love the music here as much as I have after reading this.

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Dec 292023

Recommended for fans of: Neurosis, LLNN, Cult of Occult

Traditionally the last post from me every month is a new edition of The Synn Report, and since it’s December that makes this one my last post of the entire year.

The group I’ve selected this time around straddle the nexus point between Sludge, Post-Metal, and Doom and have, over the course of three albums (the most recent of which, released in September of this year, was so close to making it onto my “Critical Top Ten” that leaving it off the list actually caused me physical pain) built themselves up a reputation as one of the heaviest, and best, bands in the UK.

So please, allow me to introduce you to  UK trio Torpor.

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Nov 302023

Recommended for fans of: Yob, Baroness, Boss Keloid

It takes balls… huge, pendulous balls… to go all in on not just one concept album but a full-on trilogy, especially when your creative concept begins with the story of an undead elephant, resurrected by Nazi occultists and infused with Lovecraftian energies, which then (due to some timely intervention by a vengeful shaman) turns against its masters and goes on a fascist-stomping rampage… and then only gets crazier from there.

It’s good then that enigmatic UK unit Bull Elephant have the necessary testicular fortitude required to tackle such an epic (and, let’s be honest, utterly ridiculous) story, as well as the necessary instrumental abilities and songwriting skills to ensure that their pachyderm-based Prog Doom (which also incorporates touches of Sludge, Death Metal, and Thrash) is more than up to the task in a musical sense as well.

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Oct 312023

Recommended for fans of: Body Void, Lord Mantis, Amenra

If you’ve been following the site for any length of time, chances are you’ve seen us heaping praise on Germany’s Phantom Winter, whose signature sound – an ear-scraping, heart-breaking blend of sickening Sludge and savage Black Metal, doomy Post-Metal dynamics and sinister, drone-infused atmospherics which the band themselves have playfully dubbed “Winterdoom” – has been terrorising audiences since 2015.

And with the group’s latest album, Her Cold Materials, having just been released last week now seemed like the perfect time to feature their full discography and, hopefully, bring their music o the attention of even more potential listeners.

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Oct 062023

Recommended for fans of: Alcest, Oathbreaker, So Hideous

First off, I have to apologise for the lateness of this particular edition of The Synn Report – I simply didn’t have time to write very much while I was overseas last week.

However, considering that Svalbard are releasing their fourth – and arguably finest – album today, it seemed like an opportune time to take a deep-dive into their discography (and, potentially, reassess some of the words I’ve written about them previously).

There’s no question that the Bristol-born quarter have proved somewhat divisive at times – their punky fusion of Post-Metal, Post-Hardcore, and Post-Black often causing consternation amongst the “purists”, while their poignant, painfully honest lyrics have sometimes been accused of being a little too on the nose – but the raw energy, and equally raw emotion, underpinning everything they do is something that simply cannot be denied.

So if you’re a looking for a band who wear their collective heart on their sleeve, but also don’t pull their punches – musically or lyrically – then Svalbard should be just what you’ve been searching for.

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Aug 312023

Recommended for fans of: Black Tongue, Fit For An Autopsy, Nightmarer

While the term “Deathcore” is still a dirty word to some of our readers – they might not always be able to define it, but they know they hate it when they hear it – I think we’ve managed to make a pretty good case over the years as to why the real cream of the crop is just as worthy of your attention and acclaim as in any other genre.

And when it comes to the creme-de-la-creme of the Deathcore scene, the bands who have not only played a part in defining what the genre has become over the last ten years or so, but also helped push the boundaries of what it can be, no conversation is complete without Humanity’s Last Breath.

Sure, the group’s sound on their eponymous 2013 album seems almost quaint now when compared to the absolute monster they’ve developed into – with their recently-released new album taking their more progressive, dynamic, and atmospheric approach to new heights (and even more crushing depths) – but to understand how the band (originally more of a solo project of mastermind Buster Odeholm, but recently expanded into an eight-legged musical murder machine including vocalist Filip Danielsson, drummer Klas Blomgren, and guitarist Tuomas Kurikka) got to where they are now we need to go back to where they came from.

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Jul 312023

Recommended for fans of: Mastodon, Baroness, Byzantine

As I’ve mentioned several times already,2023 has been a pretty Prog-friendly year so far, with lots – if not most – of the year’s best bands and albums showing off their proggier proclivities over the last seven months.

Case in point, the new album from New York sludge-slingers Somnuri found the band really pushing the boat out and digging their proverbial oar into even proggier waters, and has been receiving widespread applause and acclaim from pretty much everyone who’s heard it as a result.

But to really understand and appreciate their newest album we need to go back to their first record, because it’s only by going back to look at where they came from that we can properly appreciate just how much progress they’ve made over the years.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

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Jul 012023

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Imperial Triumphant, Abyssal

With another month having now come and gone it is – inevitably – time for another edition of The Synn Report.

And with Baltimore-based blast-beatniks Genevieve having just dropped their long-awaited new album last week… well, there was simply no question that this month was going to be all about them and their ambitious brand of unpredictable, avant-garde extremity.

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May 312023

Recommended for fans of: Junius, Holy Fawn, latter-day Isis

The music of New York trio Spotlights has been described in a lot of different ways over the years, including “Alt-Metal”, “Progressive Sludge”, and “Post-Metal” (with the latter probably being the most commonplace, thought not 100% accurate in my opinion, descriptor).

Personally, however, I happen to prefer the more evocative – and more provocative – “Doomgaze” label, as this pretty niftily sums up the group’s dramatic, dynamic fusion of simmering, doom-laden guitars and shimmering, Shoegaze-inspired atmospherics.

But genre tags are, ultimately, just useful sign-posts, and if you really want to get to know the band then you need to spend more time immersing yourself in their entire back-catalogue… just like I have for this article!

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May 012023

Recommended for fans of: Conjurer, Soilent Green, (early) The Ocean

Australia’s Lo! are a difficult act to pin down.

That’s not to say their methods are totally unrecognisable – comparisons to the punchy/proggy Sludge-core of Burst or the harder-hitting side of Amenra are definitely valid (though not definitive by any means), as are any correlations you might observe to The Ocean circa-Fluxion/Aeolian, and there’s even a fair bit of Soilent Green‘s gut-heaving heaviness and venomous intensity (especially in the vocals)  – but tagging them with just one genre, and then expecting them to stay within those boundaries, is a veritable fool’s errand.

Let’s just say that their sound sits somewhere between the darker, proggier end of Sludge, the heavier, more aggressive side of Post-Metal, and the harsher, more metallic form(s) of Hardcore, and let their music – including their fantastic new album, The Gleaners– speak for itself!

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