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 »

Aug 272018
 

 

(We have arrived at the glorious 100th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, which Andy started back in January 2011 with a retrospective about Astarte. In this month’s column, he reviews all the albums released to date by L.A.-based Ancestors, including the just-released Suspended In Reflections.)

Recommended for fans of: Yob, Devin Townsend, Anathema

Selecting what bands to include in the “Recommended for fans of” section of each of these columns is sometimes really easy, sometimes really hard, and sometimes… a little more complicated.

In the case of Progressive Stoner-Doom sorcerors Ancestors it’s really not sufficient to like just one of the bands recommended above, you have to appreciate all three of them – the gruff vocals and expansive grooves of Yob, the dynamic soundscapes and soul-stirring riffs of Devin Townsend (particularly circa-Terria), and the melancholy moods and soaring melodies of latter-day Anathema – and be keen to hear what a crossover between these artists might sound like.

You also need to be open to some calmer, more introspective experiences, particularly since their two most recent albums – 2012’s In Dreams and Time, and the just-released Suspended in Reflections – find the group pushing even further down the Prog/Post-Rock pathway.

But if all that sounds intriguing… then this will definitely be the band for you. Continue reading »

Jul 312018
 

 

(In this edition of THE SYNN REPORT for July 2018, Andy reviews all the albums recorded to date by the California rock band Boy Hits Car.)

Recommended for fans of: Tool, Incubus, Leprous

I don’t know about you, but the changing of the seasons always has a notable effect on my listening habits.

Now, I’m not saying that I suddenly start jamming Peruvian pan-pipe music or Eastern European techno as soon as the flowers start to bloom, but there are definitely certain bands or certain styles of Metal which I find myself listening to more often in Summer, and some albums/artists who tend to get spun more often at the heart of Winter…

Case in point, the bouncing grooves and blissed-out melodies of Boy Hits Car always seem to make their way back into rotation whenever the sun begins to shine, as their upbeat energy and heartfelt, hippy-ish vibes just fit perfectly with the longer days and clearer skies of the Summer months.

Try not to be put off by the fact that the band’s music is generally described as “Nu-Metal” though, as the group are far sharper, and far smarter, than that label might suggest, and tend more towards the artsy, rather than the angsty, to the point where several tracks make liberal use of slightly more esoteric instruments like twelve-string acoustic guitar, flute, or tabla drums, as a way of expanding the Californian quartet’s creative and sonic palette. Continue reading »

Jun 292018
 

 

(Andy Synn delivers a SYNN REPORT for the month of June, focusing on the discography of the Icelandic band Kontinuum — including their new album, set for release next week.)

Recommended for fans of: Sólstafir, Foscor, Katatonia

It may surprise you to learn (or it may not) that there’s no strict plan or grand design which guides the production of The Synn Report each month. Each entry is largely dependent on my own ever-shifting whims, and, at this point, there are some bands who I’ve been meaning to write about ever since the column started but who, for various reasons, have kept getting pushed back and postponed. Still, I’m sure I’ll get to them eventually…

Every now and then though there’s a certain amount of method to my madness, in that I’ll sometimes try and line up a new entry to coincide with the release of a band’s new album, so that I can mix and match the review and retrospective formats into one (hopefully) cohesive whole.

Such is the case with today’s edition, as Icelandic post-progsters Kontinuum are set to release their third album, No Need to Reason, next Friday, meaning that now seemed like the perfect time to introduce you all to their intricate, atmospheric blend of brooding swagger and moody melancholy. Continue reading »

Jun 012018
 

 

(Andy Synn delivers a SYNN REPORT for the month of May, focusing on the discography of the Colorado band band Wayfarer.)

Recommended for fans of: Agalloch, Panopticon, Oak Pantheon

One of the great things about writing The Synn Report over all these years is how much variety has been involved since its inception, with the collected entries (now nearing a cool one hundred) covering a wide swathe of the Metal landscape as well as a solid proportion of the globe.

Heck, in just the last ten entries we’ve had entries from Norway, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Poland, and the USA, featuring a mix of Black, Death, Sludge, Thrash, and Post-Metal, and I have plan to visit many more countries and a variety of other genres (and sub-genres) going forwards.

This month’s entry however, as well as being a day late, just so happens to mark the second entry in a row hailing from the good ol’ US of A (Denver, Colorado, to be exact)… and next month’s might just end up making three in a row if things carry on the way they are doing… but I think you’ll find that the strength of the music on offer easily justifies this decision to stick around in the putative “Land of the Free”. Continue reading »

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 »