Jan 152024

(Andy Synn reviews the recently-released new album from mysterious one-man army Ὁπλίτης)

It is, quite frankly, somewhat astonishing how productive Liu Zhenyang, aka Ὁπλίτης, has been since the release of their debut EP in the closing days of 2021.

What’s even more astonishing is that, despite its prolific nature, the quality of their output has never wavered over the course of the subsequent three albums (some might say they’ve only gotten better, in fact).

Each time a new record rears its head part of me expects to be disappointed – surely they can’t maintain this consistent a level of quality, at this rapid a pace, forever – and each time I’m happy to be proven wrong.

And now, barely a year on from the release of their very first full-length, Ὁπλίτης may have already locked down a place on my End of The Year list with their fourth album, Π​α​ρ​α​μ​α​ι​ν​ο​μ​έ​ν​η.

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Apr 132023

(Andy Synn celebrates the latest prolific produce of Ὁπλίτης)

There’s a famous saying… “god doesn’t close a door without opening a window.” Perhaps you’ve heard it?

Now, I’m not a religious man – and, even if I were, that’s patently false – but I can still appreciate the poetry behind the sentiment, the idea that a loss can also be an opportunity for gain, for change, etc.

Case in point, as bereft as I was by the end of Serpent Column in 2021, the unexpected appearance of Ὁπλίτης with their debut EP, Ἡ εἰκών, later that year definitely helped ease the pain a little, and the release of the project’s first full-length album earlier this year more than cemented them as worthy successors in their own right (in fact, as of writing, Ψ​ε​υ​δ​ο​μ​έ​ν​η is firmly ensconced on my “Best of the Year” shortlist).

And now, in another move which recalls their equally prolific predecessor(s), Ὁπλίτης are back with their second album in just over three months, which once again affirms their status as a band we should all be watching, and listening to, very closely.

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Feb 072023

(Andy Synn recommends four albums from last month which you may have overlooked)

So we’re officially one month into the new year and… my list of artists/albums that we didn’t cover in January is already four or fives times longer than the ones we did write about.

Maybe it’s time to accept that it’s impossible for us to stay on top of everything, and just be happy with what we are able to do?

Hell, usually it’s another couple of months of stress and strife before I/we inevitably come to this realisation, so perhaps this is a sign of what I think they call “growth”?

Whatever… here’s four releases from January that you might have missed (but which, thankfully, we didn’t).

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Dec 312022


Today we’ve already presented Andy‘s last SYNN REPORT of 2022, but I also wanted to throw at you one last round-up of new songs, especially because new metal has continued to drop throughout this last odd week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve – a time when some people kept working and others took time off, when some people reflected on the events of 2022 and others just wished the fucking thing would end, in the hope that turning the page would bring improvements.

The title of this post is literally true. Everything I chose to recommend was something I listened to for the first time this morning. I also thought it would be fitting to focus exclusively on music that emerged just this past week.

Before I forget, I also want to take this opportunity to thank everyone, both our writers and our visitors, for sticking with us in 2022. Please stay safe tonight, whatever you choose to do. We need you back with us in 2023. Hollering into a void is a less appealing prospect than hollering at people who are paying attention and might find some rays of light (and abyssal pits) in the music we’ll be yelling about. I won’t wish you a Happy New Year yet. I’ll do that tomorrow, in our first post of 2023. Continue reading »