Nov 302022

Recommended for fans of: Employed to Serve, Power Trip, Misery Index

This has been a big year for Hardcore, Metallic Hardcore, and Death Metal-meets-Hardcore… and I, for one, have been absolutely loving it.

So much so, in fact, that I’ve decided to dedicate the final Synn Report of 2022 to Canadian crushers Get The Shot (whose new album, Merciless Destruction, was released just last month).

Of course, while there’s been a lot of digital ink spilled about the resurgence of Hardcore-influenced-Death Metal recently, Get The Shot clearly come at it from the opposite direction… sure, they’ve got a distinctive Death Metal side (especially on their more recent stuff) but they’re a Hardcore band at heart, which gives their howling vocals, hammering riffs, and hefty, chug-heavy rhythms a slightly different flavour to the Creeping Deaths and Gatecreepers of the world (although fans of those bands will definitely want to give GtS a shot, trust me).

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Oct 312022

Recommended for fans of: Leviathan, Behexen, Blaze of Perdition

Who knows what day it is today?

That’s right, it’s Synn Report day, and this month I’m turning my attention to all four full-lengths (including their recently-released new album, Black Blood) by the Black Metal sorcerer who goes by the name Abduction.

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Sep 302022

Recommended for fans of: Altar of Plagues, Ash Borer, Wiegedood

I had a lot of different options for this month’s edition of The Synn Report… almost too many, really.

But I decided to dedicate this to German Post/Black/Crust quartet Toadeater for two reasons:

  1. I’ve really enjoyed writing about them before now
  2. Their new album is their best yet, and deserves more coverage

So, without further ado… let’s get to the music, shall we?

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Aug 312022

Recommended for fans of: Dragged Into Sunlight, Celeste, This Gift Is A Curse

Heed this warning: Danish dynamos Hexis are… not exactly easy listening, let’s just say that.

In fact, their abrasive amalgam of Black Metal and Hardcore – liberally dosed with enough sickeningly sludgy moments to ensure that the listener never becomes too comfortable or complacent – has, if anything, only gotten harsher, heavier, and just generally nastier, as the years have gone by… as you’re about to discover.

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Jul 292022

Recommended for fans of: High On Fire, Conan, Mastodon

The story of California riffmongers Behold! The Monolith is one of both tragedy and triumph

Tragedy… because, after releasing two well-received and well-rounded albums of increasingly proggy, doom-laden, sludgery, the band’s long-time bassist/vocalist Kevin McDade was killed in a car accident in 2013.

Triumph… because, after making the decision to carry on, the band roared back with another two fantastic records, the most recent of which was released just a few weeks ago.

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Jul 012022

Recommended for fans of: Black Metal, Dark Jazz, Neo-Noir soundscapes

Romania’s Katharos XIII are a band I’ve been wanting to cover here for quite a while.

But, as you might have guessed already (especially if you’ve glanced at the “Recommended for fans of…” section above) they’re not the easiest band to write about, as their diverse yet distinctive sound is hard to compare to other bands.

Sure, I’d say fans of White Ward‘s sax-infused savagery or Deadspace‘s anguished extremity will most likely find a lot to appreciate here, and the doomy ambience and dramatic clean vocals prevalent in their most recent work will surely appeal to fans of bands like Sinistro and SubRosa, but the fact is that Katharos XIII aren’t easy to put into a box… and that’s a big part of what makes them so good.

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May 312022

Recommended for fans of: Gorguts, Demilich, Wormed

So I’ve finally found a chance to break my streak of writing about Black Metal bands for The Synn Report, and what better way to do that than with the mind-melting Death Metal madness of Artifical Brain?

And what better time to do so than now, with the band’s self-titled third album (the culmination of their ongoing sci-fi trilogy which began with 2014’s Labyrinth Constellation) due for release at the end of this week?

Those of you already familiar with the group will obviously need no introduction to their sound, and are probably just here to glean a little bit of advanced insight into what their upcoming new album has in store.

But those who are a little more, shall we say, unprepared for the oncoming onslaught of extravagant technicality, extra-terrestrial vocalisations, and extinction-level heaviness, may find themselves a little overwhelmed by what will probably – at first listen – seem like the very epitome of “organised chaos”.

Thankfully, I can reassure you that there most certainly is a method to the band’s musical madness, it just takes a little while to fully acclimatise and tune into the right frequency in order to truly get what’s going on here.

But when you do… things will never be the same again.

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Apr 302022

Recommended for fans of: Gaerea, Mgła, Dark Funeral

I have a confession I need to make. I lied to you all.

Last month I said that this month’s Synn Report wouldn’t be about another Black Metal band, since the previous four editions had all featured some form of Black Metal (though, in my defence, they were all very different takes on the genre).

But when I discovered that Canada’s Incandescence – a band about whom, I was shocked to discover, we’ve written very little over the years – had a new album out (featuring some of the best cover art of the year so far) I knew I had to break my promise.

Formed back in 2011 as a creative outlet for uber-drummer extraordinaire Philippe Boucher – known for his work with Beyond Creation, Chthe’ilist, First Fragment, and more – Incandescence now have four albums of epic, extravagant Black Metal to their name, and it’s high time you got to know their work.

So, without further ado…

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Mar 312022

Recommended for fans of: Shining, Blut Aus Nord, Dark Fortress

Ok, so this officially makes three Black Metal centric editions of The Synn Report in a row, and I swear I’ll try and change things up in April, but the release of the new album from Canadian iconoclasts Idol of Fear earlier this month meant that I couldn’t resist making them the focus of this article.

It helps that the band are an atypical example of Black Metal (some have tagged them as “experimental”, though I think that’s pushing it a bit far), as while the genre’s fundamentals are still a part of their sound they are, more often than not, incorporated and arranged in a pleasingly unorthodox fashion.

The guitars, for example, don’t hesitate to spin up some terrifically twisted tremolo melodies when they need to, but are just as often to be found strutting their stuff in a ghoulish, Shining-esque groove, or cutting loose with some strange, proggy solo work.

Similarly, the snarling vocals are delivered with a crisp sense of clarity and a wealth of cruel character, rather than just attempting to sound as evil and nasty as possible, and while blastbeats do make an appearance here and there, the overall pace of the music is far slower, and the drumming far more measured and intricate, than your average bunch of blackened blasturbators.

Combine that with an overarching atmosphere of encroaching darkness and dread (similar in many ways to the vaunted “Dark Metal” of Bethlehem) and you’ve got a trilogy of albums seemingly purpose-built to challenge your expectations when it comes to Black Metal!

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Feb 282022

Recommended for fans of: Spectral Wound, Uada, Woe

I don’t know whether it makes me a hypocrite (but, then again, aren’t we all?) but while I retain a more than healthy scepticism about any sort of so-called “supergroup” (sure, some of them are great, but most of them are just famous – and sometimes not-so-famous – musicians trading solely on their names to sell you their latest mediocre side-project) I have a lot more time for solo artists with multiple projects.

Actually, to be more accurate, I have a lot more time for those solo artists I actually like – as I am famously very picky when it comes to projects which are the product of just a single individual – which is why, upon learning that Non Est Deus was another artistic endeavour by the same person behind both Kanonenfieber and Leiþa, I knew I had to check it out.

As it turns out, not only is Non Est Deus a predictably excellent slab of sleekly savage, mercilessly melodic Black Metal – one that’s not afraid to groove, or gallop, as the situation dictates, while also being willing to throw in the occasional unexpectedly esoteric curve-ball just to keep you on your toes – it’s also actually an older and more prolific project that either of the other two, having already released both The Last Supper (2018) and There Is No God (2019), with a third album, Impious, set to be unveiled this Friday via Avantgarde Music and Noisebringer Records.

All of which, obviously, makes Non Est Deus a prime candidate for The Synn Report, so let’s cut to the chase and get to the music, shall we?

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