Jul 312023

Recommended for fans of: Mastodon, Baroness, Byzantine

As I’ve mentioned several times already,2023 has been a pretty Prog-friendly year so far, with lots – if not most – of the year’s best bands and albums showing off their proggier proclivities over the last seven months.

Case in point, the new album from New York sludge-slingers Somnuri found the band really pushing the boat out and digging their proverbial oar into even proggier waters, and has been receiving widespread applause and acclaim from pretty much everyone who’s heard it as a result.

But to really understand and appreciate their newest album we need to go back to their first record, because it’s only by going back to look at where they came from that we can properly appreciate just how much progress they’ve made over the years.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

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Jul 012023

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Imperial Triumphant, Abyssal

With another month having now come and gone it is – inevitably – time for another edition of The Synn Report.

And with Baltimore-based blast-beatniks Genevieve having just dropped their long-awaited new album last week… well, there was simply no question that this month was going to be all about them and their ambitious brand of unpredictable, avant-garde extremity.

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May 312023

Recommended for fans of: Junius, Holy Fawn, latter-day Isis

The music of New York trio Spotlights has been described in a lot of different ways over the years, including “Alt-Metal”, “Progressive Sludge”, and “Post-Metal” (with the latter probably being the most commonplace, thought not 100% accurate in my opinion, descriptor).

Personally, however, I happen to prefer the more evocative – and more provocative – “Doomgaze” label, as this pretty niftily sums up the group’s dramatic, dynamic fusion of simmering, doom-laden guitars and shimmering, Shoegaze-inspired atmospherics.

But genre tags are, ultimately, just useful sign-posts, and if you really want to get to know the band then you need to spend more time immersing yourself in their entire back-catalogue… just like I have for this article!

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May 012023

Recommended for fans of: Conjurer, Soilent Green, (early) The Ocean

Australia’s Lo! are a difficult act to pin down.

That’s not to say their methods are totally unrecognisable – comparisons to the punchy/proggy Sludge-core of Burst or the harder-hitting side of Amenra are definitely valid (though not definitive by any means), as are any correlations you might observe to The Ocean circa-Fluxion/Aeolian, and there’s even a fair bit of Soilent Green‘s gut-heaving heaviness and venomous intensity (especially in the vocals)  – but tagging them with just one genre, and then expecting them to stay within those boundaries, is a veritable fool’s errand.

Let’s just say that their sound sits somewhere between the darker, proggier end of Sludge, the heavier, more aggressive side of Post-Metal, and the harsher, more metallic form(s) of Hardcore, and let their music – including their fantastic new album, The Gleaners– speak for itself!

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Mar 312023

Recommended for fans of: (early) Ulver, Panopticon, Wolves In The Throne Room

Well, I promised you two Synn Reports this month, and I always (well, sometimes) keep my promises.

So here’s a little extended feature about Afsky, the solo-project of one Ole Pedersen Luk, whose music – rich in rugged sonic textures and raw, unfiltered emotion – errs more towards the “atmospheric” side of the Black Metal spectrum, while still possessing a sense of primal power and passionate urgency that runs deep through each and every track.

Equal parts melancholic and majestic, and infused with sombre folk influences that add a brooding, soulful edge to each of the band’s albums – all three of which I’ll be talking about here today, while leaving their two EPs (their self-titled 2015 debut and their 2022 acoustic release, I stilhed) for you to discover on your own time – this is Black Metal that you really feel, right down in the marrow of your bones.

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Mar 302023

Recommended for fans of: Necrophobic, Naglfar, God Dethroned

I was honestly spoilt for choice this month when it came time to choose which band to cover.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew it was going to be a Black Metal band, but choosing between Thron, Downcross, Mork, Aara, Afsky, Lamp of Murmuur, and Nemesis Sopor was almost too difficult a task… which is why you’re going to get two editions of The Synn Report this month!

The subjects of today’s article deal in a particularly high-intensity form of Black Metal – big on both riffs and melody, with just a dash of deathly power and a touch of gothy glamour – that hits many of the same hook-heavy highlights as the likes of Necrophobic and Naglfar (the former especially), all propelled by the sort of electrifyingly extreme drum work that wouldn’t sound out of place on a God Dethroned or Dark Funeral album.

The group’s songwriting skills, however, are more than sharp enough to separate them from their peers, especially on their new album, Dust, which I’d say is the best of their impressive career so far.

Before we get to that though… there’s three other albums for you to sink your proverbial teeth into!

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Feb 282023

Recommended for fans of: Primitive Man, Planks, Phantom Winter

Selecting what band to feature for each monthly edition of The Synn Report is more of an art than a science.

Sometimes I like to provide a primer on a seminal band for those looking for a good place to get started with their discography, other times I prefer to highlight the work of an underrated or relatively unknown act who I think deserves more respect.

Sometimes it’s good to focus on a band who are currently active (and this is the case more often than not), at others it’s fun to provide a retrospective on an artist who may no longer be with us but whose work has stood the test of time (and which, unbeknownst to a lot of us, have influenced many of the bands we know and love).

Really, it all just comes down to what I’m feeling at the time, and I’ll often change my mind at the last minute. But today’s entry – covering all three albums, including their recently released new record, by London-based Sludge/Doom/Noise-mongers Remote Viewing – has been set in stone for weeks.

And you’re about to learn why.

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Jan 312023

Recommended for fans of: Alcest, Lantlôs, An Autumn For Crippled Children

Call it what you will – call it “Atmospheric Black Metal”, “Post Black Metal”, “Blackgaze” – the music of Italian duo Falaise remains as searing, as soulful, and as spellbinding now as it was when they first stepped out onto the proverbial stage a little under ten years ago.

And to prove the validity of this statement, I’ve selected them as the focus of this month’s Synn Report, which covers all four of their albums, up to and including their latest record, After All This Time, which was released just last week.

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Dec 312022

Recommended for fans of: Grave, Lock Up, Exhumed

Choosing what band to feature for the last edition of The Synn Report for 2022 wasn’t an easy task.

While I knew I wanted to use this as an opportunity to highlight one of the many bands I didn’t get to write about properly this year, there were so many bands that fit that description that I almost didn’t know where to start.

But, ultimately, there could be only one, and that one had to be Ripped to Shreds, as not only was their latest album arguably the best true/classic/old-school Death Metal record of 2022, but it was also high time we gave their entire back catalogue the attention and acclaim it so richly deserves.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

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Nov 302022

Recommended for fans of: Employed to Serve, Power Trip, Misery Index

This has been a big year for Hardcore, Metallic Hardcore, and Death Metal-meets-Hardcore… and I, for one, have been absolutely loving it.

So much so, in fact, that I’ve decided to dedicate the final Synn Report of 2022 to Canadian crushers Get The Shot (whose new album, Merciless Destruction, was released just last month).

Of course, while there’s been a lot of digital ink spilled about the resurgence of Hardcore-influenced-Death Metal recently, Get The Shot clearly come at it from the opposite direction… sure, they’ve got a distinctive Death Metal side (especially on their more recent stuff) but they’re a Hardcore band at heart, which gives their howling vocals, hammering riffs, and hefty, chug-heavy rhythms a slightly different flavour to the Creeping Deaths and Gatecreepers of the world (although fans of those bands will definitely want to give GtS a shot, trust me).

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