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 »

Mar 302019
 

 

(In this March 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT Andy looks back at the four albums released so far by Arizona’s Landmine Marathon.)

Recommended for fans of: Gatecreeper, Bolt Thrower, Venom Prison

So the original plan for this month’s edition of The Synn Report was to feature the work of one-man Black Metal malcontent Abduction so as to line up nicely with the release of his brand new album.

Unfortunately, what Islander didn’t tell me was that he’d already arranged for a premiere (and review) to go live yesterday… which just goes to show that it’s important to communicate, kids! (Editor’s intrusion: Andy listed “mind-reader” on his resume. Mere puffery, apparently.)

Thankfully, I have a huge list of alternative Synn Report candidates to select from, which made the whole process a lot easier than you might imagine, especially since I’ve been itching to write about Arizona Death Metal quintet Landmine Marathon for ages! Continue reading »

Feb 282019
 

 

(Here’s the February 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, and this month Andy reviews the collected discography of the Pennsylvania technical death metal band Aletheian.)

Recommended for fans of: Death, Atheist, Extol

According to my most recent count I’ve got close to 100 potential entries for The Synn Report lined up, some of which deal with current bands whose back-catalogues I think deserve a second look, some of which look at bands who are no longer active but who are well worth checking out all the same, and some, like today’s entry, which feature bands whose situation is currently unknown.

For the February 2019 edition I’ve elected to go back in time a little bit and touch on the short, but oh so sweet, discography of one of Technical Death Metal’s most underappreciated artists, Pennsylvanian riff-wizards Aletheian.

Formed in 1997 under the name Crutch, only to change their name in 2003 following some major line-up changes, the band currently have three albums to their name, each of which err towards the more cerebral and progressive end of the Tech-Death spectrum, with a particular emphasis on complex song-structures and creative melody rather than frantic fretwork fireworks.

And while not much has been heard from the group since then, there were some rumblings a few years back that a new album was in the works, so while this may be the first you’re hearing about the band for some of you, hopefully it won’t be the last! Continue reading »

Jan 312019
 

 

(The January 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT is devoted to the releases of the Scottish band Saor, and includes Andy Synn‘s review of Saor’s newest album, Forgotten Paths, which will be released on February 15th by Avantgarde Music.)

Recommended for fans of: Panopticon, Alcest, Dawn Ray’d

There’s been a lot of discussion recently – much of it intriguing, much of it ignorant – about what Black Metal “should” or “shouldn’t” be.

And while the whole issue, and all its many facets and factors, is far too complex for me to address here, the various conversations and arguments I’ve had with people – some like-minded, some less so – have helped crystallise in my mind that the most important thing any Black Metal artist needs… is passion.

Case in point, Saor (the solo project of one Andy Marshall) is absolutely brimming with passion and primal vitality, and each of the band’s albums (the fourth of which will be released within the next few weeks) marries energy and emotion, atmosphere and artistry, in a way that clearly comes right from the heart. Continue reading »

Dec 282018
 

 

(For the final edition of THE SYNN REPORT for 2018, Andy Synn compiles reviews of all the albums released to date by Veilburner, including their brand new record A Sire To the Ghouls of Lunacy, which is being released today.)

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Dodecahedron, Imperial Triumphant

I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks, first with a mix of work and band commitments, then with more personal stuff going into the Christmas period, that I honestly almost forgot that I still had a new edition of The Synn Report (the last one of the year) to produce.

Thankfully it didn’t take very long to select which band would be this month’s lucky recipient of my attentions, as prolific Pennsylvania duo Veilburner are releasing their fourth (and likely finest) album today via Transcending Obscurity Records, meaning that the timing really couldn’t have worked out better.

With an incredibly diverse, yet distinctive, sound – the closest true comparison I can think of is with those Avant-Garde Australian extremists in Ur Draugr, though you’ll also see that, multiple times throughout this column, I’ve tried to make references which I think will appeal to our readers – over the past four/five years Mephisto Deleterio (instrumentation) and Chrisom Inferium (vocals) have produced several hours of warped and twisted, tumultuously technical and deviously discordant Black/Death Metal which doesn’t really sound exactly like anyone, or any thing, else out there. Continue reading »

Nov 302018
 

 

(In this November edition of The Synn Report, Andy combines reviews of the four albums released to date by UK devastators Spearhead, including their new album Pacifism Is Cowardice, released one week ago by Invictus Productions.)

Recommended for fans of: Vader, Witchery, Goatwhore

Pulling no punches and taking no prisoners, Spearhead have been weaponising their particular brand of Blackened Death-Thrash for almost fifteen years now, and have produced four utterly ferocious albums during that time, the most recent of which – Pacifism Is Cowardice – came out just one week ago, following a seven-year gap between records.

And while the quartet – now made up of founding bassist/vocalist Barghest, long-time guitarist Invictus, and new members Typhon (drums) and Praetorian (guitars) – clearly have a deep, abiding affection for the classic, old school style(s) of Extreme Metal, you’ll soon see/hear that their latest record in particular aims for more of an ageless, enduring sound than some sort of uninspired throwback.

So gird your loins, brothers and sisters, and follow me once more into the breach! Continue reading »

Oct 262018
 

 

(In this month’s edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy takes on the discography of New Jersey’s Cognitive, including their newest record, which is being released today by Unique Leader.)

Recommended for fans of: Suffocation, Cryptopsy, Cattle Decapitation

Despite being commonly tagged as “Technical Death Metal” in most reviews, features, and press releases, New Jersey crushers Cognitive have always leaned much harder towards the “Death Metal” side of the equation to my humble ears.

Don’t get me wrong, over the course of seven years and three full-length albums (the most recent of which is set to be released today via Unique Leader) the band’s roster has contained some seriously technically talented individuals, all of whom have been capable of unleashing some searing sonic shred on their respective instruments.

But, ultimately, the key feature which has united all the band’s members and albums is an unwavering commitment to blistering brutality, with nary a hint of compromise or restraint along the way, which makes them perfect candidates for this month’s Synn Report. Continue reading »

Oct 012018
 

 

(In this edition of THE SYNN REPORT for September 2018, Andy Synn reviews all the albums released so far by the Californian black/death band Valdur, as well as their new full-length scheduled for detonation on October 19th.)

Recommended for fans of: Impaled Nazarene, Incantation, (early) Immortal

By sheer coincidence the last several editions of The Synn Report have covered bands who tend towards the more melodic, the more ambient, or the more accessible end of the metallic spectrum.

Which makes it high time we delved into something a little harder, and a lot nastier, doesn’t it?

Hailing (aptly enough) from Mammoth Lakes in California, Valdur’s fluctuating line-up has often been veiled in a shroud of obfuscation, with several of the band’s members operating either unacknowledged, unnamed, or under a carefully crafted pseudonym, over the years.

But while the group’s roster may have changed, their core-line-up, and their commitment to their uncompromising and unrelenting brand of grim and gritty Black/Death Metal, has remained remarkably – even rabidly – consistent, over the course of five (soon to be six) savagely Satanic, ravenously riff-heavy, albums.

And with their newest release, Goat of Iniquity, set for release on the 19th of October, now seemed like the perfect time to go for a deep dive into the filth and fury of the band’s back-catalogue. Continue reading »