Dec 302020
 

 

(For the final SYNN REPORT of 2020, Andy Synn reviews all the rcords in the significant discography of the unorthodox German black metal band Maladie.)

Recommended for fans of: Solefald, Sigh, Dødheimsgard

Well, it’s the end of the year as we know it and I feel… well, to be quite honest I’m not sure how I feel.

After all, it’s been a very strange (not to mention challenging) twelve months for most of us, with this site being one of the very few constants capable of brightening the bleak monotony of daily life in 2020.

So, I thought to myself, why not end the year with a feature on a band who are, in their own way, just as strange, and just as challenging (though far more rewarding)? Which is why you’re about to read my in-depth analysis of the still-expanding discography of the multi-headed metallic entity known as Maladie.

Musically-speaking the band’s sound is rooted in Black Metal, sure… but it’s also wilfully Avant-Garde, wickedly Progressive, jazzily indulgent, turbulently Technical, and everything in between, running the gamut from strafing blastbeats to swirling saxophone to groove-heavy riffs to grandiose synths, all topped off with a cacophonous chorus of shrieks and snarls, barks and bellows, sonorous croons and high-toned harmonies delivered in a polyglottal mix of English, French, Spanish, German, and Latin!

As complex and chaotic as all that sounds though, Maladie aren’t afraid to deploy hooks and/or heaviness to keep their listener(s) engaged, and – as a result of the band’s kitchen-sink-in-a-blender approach – there’s a good chance that there’ll be something here to appeal not just to fans of the three bands mentioned above (Solefald, Sigh, and Dødheimsgard) but to people who love Satyricon, Sear Bliss, Arcturus, Ne Obliviscaris, Vintersorg, In Vain, Ihsahn’s solo work, and more. Continue reading »

Nov 302020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s SYNN REPORT for November 2020, and this month he lines up reviews of all the albums by California’s Vampire Squid.)

Recommended for fans of: Cattle Decapitation, The Red Chord, Slugdge

Being in a Metal band and not taking yourself too seriously, while also treating your craft and your audience with the respect they deserve, is a difficult line to walk – but not an impossible one.

Matter of fact, some of my favourite bands are dead serious (and highly professional) about what they do while also being fully aware of the innate absurdity of using the medium of Metal to bellow barely decipherable lyrics about historical atrocities or struggles with mental illness or scorn for global politics… or any one of a hundred other deadly serious, and seriously dark, issues.

And while lyrically Southern California Tech-Grind crew Vampire Squid may be slightly less serious than some – most of their songs are based around the classic Death Metal themes of blood, guts, and dismemberment, albeit with a suitably briny twist – musically speaking they’re cut from the same creative cloth as bands like The Red Chord and The Faceless, marrying the angular technicality of these groups with a rabid intensity reminiscent of Cattle Decapitation and Benighted, all topped off with a dose of the complex-yet-catchy songwriting style of their mollusc-based brethren in Slugdge (with whom they also share a love for pun-tastic song titles).

But, hey, if all that sounds too good to be true then why not see/hear for yourself and join me on a free dive into the crushing depths of the band’s discography for this month’s edition of The Synn Report? Continue reading »

Nov 212020
 

 

(Today we have a bonus edition of THE SYNN REPORT, with the usual month-ending one still ahead, and here Andy Synn pays homage to the extravagant discography of Florida’s Lascaille’s Shroud.)

Recommended for fans of: Edge of Sanity, Allegaeon, Scar Symmetry

Despite what it says above… this is NOT the November edition of The Synn Report. That’s still to come at the end of the month as normal.

What this is, however, is a bonus edition of everyone’s favourite discography deep-dive designed to correct a grave injustice perpetrated by this site, and by this writer in particular.

You see, several years back we began covering the work of Lascaille’s Shroud, the outlandish Sci-Fi-Prog-Death project of Florida’s Brett Windnagle, and wrote rather glowingly about their first three albums.

But then, somehow, we lost touch with the band, and it was only recently that I discovered that they’ve since produced an additional three albums, with the most recent two being released earlier this year.

As you might gather then, it’s high time for us to catch-up on what we’ve been missing, and while this may not be as comprehensive an article as some of them – Brett’s talent for extravagance means it’s not unusual to see songs shoot past the 15, 20, or 25 minute mark, and both their second and third albums are spread across two stacked discs clocking in at a total of over two hours of music – it should still give you a real feel and flavour for what Lascaille’s Shroud is all about. 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 »

Sep 302020
 

 

(For the September 2020 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the discography of Minnesota-based Feral Light, including a review of their 2020 album Life Vapor.)

Recommended for fans of: Tombs, Cobalt, Wolvhammer

So while these guys weren’t my original choice for this month’s Synn Report, the truth is I’ve been itching for a chance to write more about them for a while now, particularly since we didn’t manage to publish a review of the band’s third album, Life Vapor, (although we did host a premiere for it) when it was released back in May, so I’m more than happy that things worked out this way.

Hailing from the grim, snowbound wastes of… Minneapolis, Minnesota… Feral Light (who comprise the dynamic duo of Andrew Reesen on drums and Andy Schoengrund on guitars/vocals) deal in a gritty, gruesomely groovesome brand of Black ‘n’ Roll which has, over the years, also developed an increasingly savage-yet-sombre (not to mention ever-so-slightly proggy) edge to it.

And with three full-length albums now under their belt, I felt it was high time that more of our readers got to know (and love) them as well as I do. Continue reading »

Aug 312020
 

 

(For the August 2020 edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn has decided to compile reviews of all the releases by the tremendously talented Finnish band Havukruunu, including their newest album released earlier this month by Naturmacht Productions.)

Recommended for fans of: Moonsorrow, Immortal, Vintersorg

Black Metal, as we all know, comes in many different forms.

Punky and primal, proggy and polished, feral and fierce, mighty and majestic… and all shades and shapes in between.

And for this month’s Synn Report it’s the latter style I’ve chosen to focus on, with this deep dive into the discography of formidable Finnish foursome Havukruunu.

Three albums into their career (the most recent of which was released earlier this month) the band have, effectively, become masters of a scintillating brand of Black Metal which fuses the epic extravagance of their countrymen in Moonsorrow with the swaggering, riff-centric approach of Immortal and the fearless melodic mettle of Bathory… although, as accurate (maybe even a little too obvious) as those references are, I’d say that Havukruunu have more than made this sound their own at this point.

So fill your cups, sharpen your blades, and ready yourselves to ride the blazing Northern skies as we take a journey through the band’s bountiful back catalogue. Continue reading »

Jul 312020
 

 

(We’ve reached the end of July, and for this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy Synn has prepared reviews of all the albums released by the Swedish band Descend, including their latest full-length released on June 26th by Aftermath Music.)

Recommended for fans of: Opeth, Ihsahn, Disillusion

Stockholm stunners Descend have been quietly making a name for themselves in the more progressive circles of the Death Metal underground for a while now, developing a well-deserved reputation as a reliable source of intricate instrumental arrangements and rock-solid riffs that deliver all the primal punch you desire while also engaging your higher brain functions with every dynamic twist and turn.

But, for whatever reason, the Swedish quintet have never really broken through into the wider Metal consciousness in the same way that a number of their peers and predecessors have managed to.

All that might just be about to change however, as their recently released third album, The Deviant, is both a major step up for the band and a potential contender for multiple “Album of the Year” accolades.

Before we get to that, however, I invite you all to come with me on a deep dive into the group’s discography, where you’ll find that there’s also a lot to love in the band’s back-catalogue too. Continue reading »

Jul 012020
 

 

(Andy Synn has chosen to devote his SYNN REPORT for the month of June to the discography of the French band Exocrine, whose new album Maelstrom was released by Unique Leader on June 26th.)

Recommended for fans of: The Faceless, Gorod, Beneath the Massacre

The purpose of The Synn Report is, obviously, to give our readers an overview of the background and back-catalogue of whatever band I select each month.

One of the great things about this approach, of course, is that it allows all of us (myself included) to see just how the band in question has evolved over the course of their career.

In the case of French four-piece Exocrine the band’s evolution has led them to grow from some relatively humble beginnings into something far more titanic, and if 2018’s blazing Molten Giant didn’t convince you of the group’s tech-tastic lethality then perhaps their recently released fourth record, Maelstrom, will?

Before then, of course, there’s three other albums to sink your teeth into… Continue reading »

May 302020
 

 

(In this May 2020 edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy Synn combines reviews and streams of all the albums (and one EP) released to date by the California band Xibalba, including their latest album released just yesterday by Southern Lord.)

Recommended for fans of: Misery Index, Earth Crisis, Morbid Angel

Depending on who you ask, Death Metal and Hardcore are either mortal enemies or eternal blood brothers, divided or bound by a mutual love of pure heaviness and pulverising aggression.

Californian crushers Xibalba clearly see the two styles as different sides of the same coin, and have been paying their dues for over a decade now, producing, to date, four impressively intense albums of churning riffs, chunky breakdowns, and belligerent bellowing vocals.

But, for whatever reason, the band just haven’t had that major “break out” moment yet, which is pretty shocking when you consider how much crossover potential there is in their sound. After all, they’re pretty much the only band I could ever recommend equally and without reservations to fans of Earth Crisis or Entombed, Disembodied or Dismember, Misery Index or Machine Head or Morbid Angel.

Hopefully, however, the recent release of their fourth album, Años en infierno, should give their profile a major boost, meaning now is the time to jump onboard the hype train before you get left behind! Continue reading »

Apr 302020
 

 

(For the April 2020 edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn has combined reviews and streams of all the releases by the California band Destroyed In Seconds, including their newest album Divide and Devour, which was released last Friday.)

Recommended for fans of: Wolfbrigade, Disfear, Trap Them

Though the story of California Crust-Punk/Thrashcore crossover crew Destroyed In Seconds goes all the way back to 2008, my own relationship with the band is only a few years old, as I’d never heard of them before one of my buddies dragged me aling to see them at the 2018 edition of Maryland Deathfest.

I’m not sure exactly what it was about the band’s performance – maybe it was their obnoxiously high energy levels despite their early afternoon slot, maybe it was their general “give no fucks, take no prisoners” attitude, or maybe it was the fun way they ripped the piss out of one of our companions for wearing a black cowboy hat in the pit – but, whatever it was, I was instantly hooked.

Hopefully, if you’re not already familiar with the band (whose third album was just released last week), you’ll be just as hooked by the end of this column, especially if you’re a fan of the sort of down ‘n’ dirty, d-beat driven sound which derives its inspirations from bands like D.R.I. and Dropdead, Exodus and Entombed, Nausea and Napalm Death. Continue reading »