Jan 292020
 

 

(In this SYNN REPORT for January 2020, Andy reviews the combined discography of the Russian band Minuala.)

Recommended for fans of: Martyrdöd, King Apathy, Downfall of Gaia

Despite not being much of a social butterfly, one thing I appreciate about the Metal scene is the sense of community it can foster between different people from different places and different backgrounds.

Sure, I might be a little cynical about it now and then (often with good reason), but I only have to glance at my own little “community” (which really isn’t all that “little” at all these days) to see all the ties which bind me to the people within it – from my band-mates and my old friendship circle back home, to my brothers at NCS (and our extended family), the various comrades and compatriots from other sites/zines who’ve become part of our crew, and the multitude of musicians I’ve come to know over the years.

The group featured in this month’s edition of The Synn Report was recommended to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends, who himself received it from one of his coworkers (who happens to be the ex-bassist from Fall of Efrafa). So you know who to thank if you find yourself with a new favourite band.

The band in question are Minuala, from Russia, and their music is a fantastic blend of dark, subtly blackened Hardcore, riff-driven metallic muscle, and riveting Crust/Post-Metal touches, that should appeal to fans of bands like Martyrdöd, King Apathy, Dödsrit, Downfall of Gaia, and, yes, Fall of Efrafa. Continue reading »

Dec 312019
 

 

(Here we are, at the end of December and the end of 2019, and just under the wire Andy Synn has turned in his SYNN REPORT for the month, choosing to review all the albums by the Colorado band Dreadnought, including their latest album Emergence, which was released in September by Profound Lore.)

Recommended for fans of: Madder Mortem, Ludicra, (latter-day) Opeth

Having dedicated the last several editions of The Synn Report to the nastier, gnarlier end of the musical spectrum, I felt it would be fun to end the year in something a little bit proggier.

Actually, make that a LOT proggier, as the multi-instrumental marvels of Dreadnought (whose repertoire accentuates the traditional form of bass, guitar, drums, and vocals, with added embellishments from flute, piano, mandolin, and saxophone, to name but  a few) arguably err more towards Folk, Prog, and Jazz – particularly on their earlier albums – than they do Metal.

That’s not to say that the Colorado quartet don’t have their more metallic moments, as they’re entirely capable of deploying a writhing, blackened riff or snarling shot of vocal venom whenever the need calls for it, but these harsher, heavier elements are just one small part of a rich creative tapestry which favours patient, proggy melody and indulgent artistry over instantaneous impact. Continue reading »

Nov 292019
 

 

(The month of November has nearly expired, but before it gasps its last breath Andy Synn has delivered a SYNN REPORT for the month, and in this edition he reviews and streams music from all the albums created by the German band Krater, including their latest work Venenare, released by Eisenwald earlier this month.)

Recommended for fans of: 1349, Mgła, Dark Fortress

I’m a little sick and tired of explaining it but, here it is again for those of you too slow to grasp this very simple truth…

Black Metal comes in many forms and many guises.

It can be dense and dissonant, ethereal and atmospheric, thrashy, punky, proggy… and everything in between. Sometimes all at once.

Don’t get me wrong, I still firmly believe that there are certain features, certain elements and ideals, which are fundamental (even though we can argue about what they might be ’til the cows come home) and without which you’re simply not playing Black Metal at all. But I have very little time for those whose limited vision restricts what they’ll “allow” Black Metal to be.

Germany’s Krater clearly share a similar view, as their back catalogue is a testament to evolution and expanding vision, beginning life as a more “classic” second-wave style band but swiftly developing into something far darker, far heavier, far more technical, and far more atmospheric, than their more primitive origins might have predicted. Continue reading »

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 »