Apr 302018
 

 

(Andy Synn delivers a SYNN REPORT for the month of April, reviewing the lion’s share of the discography of the New Mexico band Distances.)

Recommended for fans of: Agrimonia, Cult of Luna, The Ocean

Melding Sludge and Post-Metal with touches of Prog and Crust, Distances are one of those bands who you can’t help but think would be much bigger, and much more beloved by the Metal community, if only they were given the attention and exposure they so richly deserve.

Cerebral yet cathartic, heavy in both brooding atmosphere and sheer sonic weight, the Albuquerque quartet make music designed to hit both the head and the heart, and practically guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.

So, without further ado, here’s a run-down of all three of the band’s albums – including their recently released third record, Diableries, but not their 2016 covers album Rip Offs – plus their fantastic 2015 EP Forage & Reproduce. I hope you like what you read/hear. Continue reading »

Mar 302018
 

 

(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews the three albums recorded by the Swedish band Sacramentum before their demise.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Dissection, Necrophobic, God Dethroned

 

Up until a few days ago I actually had a very different band lined up for this edition of The Synn Report but, upon remembering that I was going to be spending this weekend in Oslo enjoying the musical delights of Inferno Festival, I decided to switch things up and dig into the archives a little bit to talk about a band much more suited to my current circumstances, a band who – while perhaps not as famous (or infamous) as some of their more celebrated peers – are still something of a seminal act in the annals of Black/Death Metal.

Operating as a three-piece for the majority of their career, Swedish riffmeisters Sacramentum were contemporaries of (and some might even say friendly rivals with) both Dissection and Necrophobic, and helped form one of the primary pillars of the Swedish Black Metal scene during its early development. And while their fame may have been somewhat overshadowed over the years, in the right circles the band are held up as just as important, just as influential, and just as impressive as any of their peers… and rightfully so. Continue reading »

Mar 022018
 

 

(In this edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews all the albums released by Rites of Thy Degringolade, including their newest record slated for release on March 15th, as well as the band’s part of their 2004 split with Portal.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Immolation, Incantation, Deathspell Omega

 

One of the Extreme scene’s most undeservedly underappreciated acts, Canadian three-piece Rites of Thy Degringolade are one of the few bands who I can honestly say have the potential to appeal just as much to fans of hideously under-produced “War Metal” as they do to those who like their Black/Death Metal just that little bit more bold, bombastic, and… let’s be honest here… actually listenable.

The reason for this is the group’s surprisingly careful balancing – whether calculated or instinctive… and most likely a little of both – of filth and fury, chaos and confusion, with a plethora of savage (though rarely straightforward) hooks and cunningly crafted riffs which demand to be heard not just once, but multiple times, over multiple sessions.

A word of warning, however – this is some seriously nasty stuff, and once it gets embedded in your brain nothing less than a full frontal lobotomy is going to get it out again. Continue reading »

Jan 312018
 


Redemptor 2016

 

(We present the January 2018 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, in which Andy compiles reviews of releases by the Polish band Redemptor.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Decapitated, Anata, Rivers of Nihil

If you’ve been paying attention at all recently you’ll have caught the name Redemptor as one of the bands featured in my Personal Top Ten of 2017, and may also have noticed that I promised to deliver a Synn Report on the group as soon as possible.

Well, today is that day.

Over the course of three albums and one EP the Polish quintet have steadily evolved their sound from the Schuldiner-esque strains of their debut album None Pointless Balance to the angular hooks and merciless precision of 4th Density and The Jugglernaut, with the process finally culminating in the gargantuan grooves and captivating atmospherics of last year’s utterly crushing Arthaneum. Continue reading »

Dec 302017
 

 

(In the final Synn Report of 2017, Andy assesses the discography as it exists to date of the distinctive Norwegian band Drottnar — whose Facebook page is here.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Mayhem, Dødheimsgard, Krallice

For the final edition of The Synn Report in 2017 I found myself torn between a number of possibilities, ranging from bruising, technically-adept Death Metal, to high-energy, thrash-infused Melodeath, to grim and gritty Black/Death riffosity.

In the end however I made the choice to go with the Technical/Avant-Garde Black Metal menace of Norway’s Drottnar (although don’t worry, the other bands referenced obliquely above will all be getting their own features very soon).

Calling their sound “Bunker Metal”, the Fredrikstad quintet have always been one of the more unusual and hard-to-pin-down members of the Norwegian scene, with a sound that largely defies easy definition and clean categorization, and an image that pulls more from Soviet-style militarism than the pseudo-fascist iconography employed by many of their brethren.

However I’m hopeful that this column will serve as a great introduction to a band who I think are one of the most overlooked, and underrated, acts to ever come out of the great frozen North. Continue reading »

Nov 302017
 

 

(In this 91st edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn explores the three albums of Vancouver-based Kerala, including their brand new record, Biorealizations.)

Recommended for fans of: Neurosis, Behold the Arctopus, Krallice

 

Canadian duo Kerala describe themselves as “Progressive Sludge Metal” on their Bandcamp page, and while there’s certainly some serious proggery and churning sludgery to be found throughout their discography, this particular label could be accused of giving a slightly misleading impression of the band’s sound.

Yes, there’s a lot of gritty, gut-wrenching Neurosis-isms present in their music – most notably during their debut – and there’s also a hefty helping of Dysrhythmia-esque instrumental chaos at work too, something which steadily develops as the band grow in experience and ambition… not to mention some abrasive, Gorguts-ian overtones to be found during their heavier moments, along with an almost Meshuggah-like sense of texture and tension bleeding into their most recent album.

As you might imagine then, this makes for one extremely heady (not to mention heavy) concoction, which definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. And yet, that being said, for all their obvious complexity, the band’s songs still have a certain amount of hookiness and catchiness to them – even if it is of a highly irregular and unconventional sort. Continue reading »

Oct 272017
 

 

(We present the glorious 90th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and on this milestone occasion Andy Synn reviews the collected discography of Desolate Shrine, including their brand new album Deliverance From the Godless Void, which will be released by Dark Descent on November 10.)

Recommended for fans of: Incantation, Bloodbath, Enthroned

I’m sure, like me, a lot of you have bands in your collection who you absolutely love… but whom you got into surprisingly late. Desolate Shrine are one of those bands for me.

Heavier than granite, nastier than gangrene, and grimmer than the reaper himself, the Finnish three-piece (mainman L.L. handling all writing and instruments, with vocal duties shared by R.S. and M.T.) were always a band on my radar, but it wasn’t until the release of their third album, The Heart of the Netherworld, that I really took a vested interest in them… and then started kicking myself for waiting so long.

Thankfully I was quick to correct my error, snapping up a copy of both …Netherworld and its predecessor The Sanctum of Human Darkness soon after, and eventually grabbing hold of their debut, Tenebrous Towers, not long after that.

Now, with the band’s fourth album, Deliverance from the Godless Void, set for release on November 10th, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to spread the word about the band’s brutal, black-hearted brand of Blackened Death Metal. Continue reading »

Sep 302017
 

 

(Andy Synn presents the 89th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and on this occasion reviews the collected discography of Ingurgitating Oblivion from Germany.)

Recommended for fans of: Gorguts, Ulcerate, Immolation

One of the great joys of the modern Death Metal scene is the sheer variety of different forms and flavours available to tantalise our musical taste buds. These days if you’re not enjoying what you’re currently being fed it’s barely the work of a moment to find something else to dig your teeth into.

The subject of this month’s edition of The Synn Report, Germany’s own Ingurgitating Oblivion, have been plying their trade in the murky sub-corner of Dissonant/Atmospheric Death Metal since 2001, and have produced three increasingly fearsome full-length albums in the years since then, the most recent of which, Vision Wallows in Symphonies of Light, was released in April of this year. Continue reading »

Aug 312017
 

 

(In this August 2017 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews all three of the albums released to date by the German black metal band Fyrnask, the most recent of which was 2016’s Fórn.)

Recommended for fans of: Altar of Plagues, Leviathan, The Great Old Ones

It doesn’t seem like a full month has passed, does it? I swear it feels like only yesterday I was putting the final coat of paint and polish on the 87th edition of The Synn Report, and yet here I am again, scrambling to get #88 finished.

Heavy on atmosphere, yet equally heavy in terms of metallic venom and visceral aggression, Fyrnask neatly sidestep the introverted navel-gazing that afflicts much of the “Post-“ scene by virtue of a single-minded focus on ravenous creative expression and pure, primal catharsis.

Over the course of three impressively multifaceted and multilayered albums, the most recent of which, Fórn, came out just last year, Fyrnask mainman Fyrnd (who handles all instruments and vocals) has continued to explore and expand his sonic palette, incorporating a wealth of exotic instrumentation and esoteric ambience into the mix, although the foundation of the band’s sound remains grounded in bloody and raw-boned Black Metal.

So if you’re looking for something which offers both an instant spark and a deeper, longer-lasting burn, then please… read on. Continue reading »

Jul 312017
 


Photo by Carsten Aniksdal

 

(In this July 2017 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy reviews all the albums of the Norwegian band Execration, including their recently released 2017 album, Return To the Void.)

 

Recommended for fans of: Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Blood Incantation

 

With a sound that blends together the most fundamental elements of classic Death and Black Metal – yet which, for various reasons, you’d never describe as “Blackened Death Metal” or “retro” – Norwegian quartet Execration are a hard band to fully pin down.

The fact that their music also incorporates numerous strains of Prog, Doom, Punk, and Thrash only makes this task even harder.

Still, there’s a good chance that anyone who’s a fan of grim, grimy, guttural Death Metal, with a penchant for weird, acid-fuelled atmospherics and moments of spasming dissonance, will find a lot to love here. Continue reading »