Jul 292021

(Andy Synn casts his ear over the latest album by one of his long-time favourite bands, Agrypnie, which is set for release next week via Art of Propaganda)

Here’s a piece of unsolicited advice for any budding writers/reviewers out there: one thing you have to realise – and remember – is that every band’s newest album is going to be the first time some people hear them.

So it’s no good just writing for the faithful. No matter how big or famous or well-established a band might be you can’t just assume everyone is going to be familiar with their work.

Case in point, despite its name, not much has changed for Agrypnie on Metamorphosis, as the album still offers the same tumultuous tapestry of searing blastbeats, stomping rhythms, and soaring leads which made records like 2018’s Grenzgænger, 2013’s Aetas Cineris, and so forth, such an enervating and electrifying experience.

But if you’re not already familiar with the band’s work, then that isn’t really going to mean much to you, is it?

So this is for all you new people – if you’re looking for something that’s both subtly “progressive” and seriously aggressive, something that sits somewhere between the introspective intensity of early Alcest and the melodic muscle of Insomnium (or, if you’d prefer, the blazing fury of Der Weg Einer Freiheit and the gleaming grandeur of Dark Tranquillity), then you should do yourself a favour and give this album a listen ASAP.

Continue reading »

Jun 272021

photo by Terje Johansen


You might have noticed that I didn’t publish the usual Saturday round-up yesterday. I’ll spare you the reasons, but will say that I spent hours going through dozens of new songs and videos that I’d added to my enormous listening list over the last week. Some of those were black metal songs of different styles. I made some hard choices about which of those to include in this usual Sunday column, but still wound up with enough for a two-parter.

What you’ll find in Part 1 are four new videos, two of them for songs from releases that have been out in the world for a while and two of them for tracks off forthcoming albums.


I learned about the first video through a press release by Peaceville Records that arrived yesterday. I had to scroll through lots of text and photos about Darkthrone’s new album before coming to the Mork news, and I haven’t yet seen any reports about the video on social media or elsewhere. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit in writing about it, but the press release treated the video as something that had already premiered, so it seems fair game. I assume word will spread further on Monday.

The song featured in the video, “Født Til Å Herske”, happens to be one of my favorites on Mork’s newest album, Katedralen, which is packed with strong songs. “Født Til Å Herske” includes a guest vocal appearance by Kampfar’s Dolk (who also appears in this video), and the additional tonal texture and feeling he adds to the song is one reason why it stands out to me. Continue reading »

May 292021


To improve your Saturday, and quite possibly your whole weekend, I’ve collected a baker’s dozen of new songs and videos (including a couple of previously hard-to-find tracks from forthcoming reissues).

I grouped these 13 offerings in ways that I thought made sense. As usual for these kinds of posts, I didn’t take time to track down and upload artwork or purchase links, and I decided to organize my meager introductory comments by the categories I’ve arranged. (Don’t punch me too hard because of the category labels I chose, because I do realize they’re not 100% accurate.)


The first two choices here were recommended by DGR, and the above label clearly applies to both. Andy Synn recommended the third one, and although most people wouldn’t categories Agrypnie as melodic death metal, I do think their new song fits well alongside the first two. Continue reading »

Oct 172018


I can guarantee you this won’t last, but for the fourth day in a row I’ve had enough time to compile a round-up of new songs, two of which are presented through extremely cool videos.

I can also guarantee you that you won’t see where this collection is going. No two songs sound remotely alike. Sometimes there’s a flow or a connection between the songs I pick for these posts that just feels right as I hear the music, even if I’m not always able to explain it. This time I just fuckin’ liked all the songs and videos, and the only other thing that feels right is imagining how the movement from one to the next will throw you off balance.


Way back in January of this year my comrade Andy Synn identified Agrypnie’s fifth album as one of his “most anticipated” releases for 2018, relishing the prospect of “some seriously intense blastery, brilliantly moody melody, and artfully applied aggression… along with a heaping helping of brooding atmosphere… and a bevy of unpredictable twists and turns designed to expand the band’s already expansive ‘Post’ Black Metal sound”. At last, that album is upon us. Actually, two of them are upon us. Continue reading »

Jan 132018


(Here’s a personal list by Andy Synn identifying eagerly anticipated forthcoming 2018 albums.)


One week ago Islander published a list of upcoming albums expected to be released over the course of the next twelve months, and also solicited comments and recommendations from our readers concerning which albums (and EPs) they were most looking forward to.

Well, as successful as that endeavour was, now it’s my turn to talk up some of my most anticipated album scheduled for release in 2018. Continue reading »

Mar 012017

Dyscarnate in the studio…


(Andy Synn shares a list of his most anticipated releases of 2017… along with musical reminders… and a request for your own most-anticipated releases.)

Somehow, even though it’s only March, I’m already well behind in terms of covering new and upcoming releases. Partially that’s due to how many albums from last year I still had left to catch up on during January/February, but it’s also a testament to the sheer number of killer albums which have been released already in this year.

Now it was around this time last year (in fact, I just checked, and it was almost exactly one year ago) that I published a list of five albums whose impending release had me afroth with anticipation, including two albums (Death Fortress, Khonsu) which ultimately proved to be two of my absolute favourites of the year… although another two, Nidingr and Decrepit Birth, ended up being delayed until 2017, with the latter still not having a confirmed release date even now…

So, in a vain bid to get ahead of the curve a little, here are five six seven upcoming releases which I’m extremely stoked/jacked/hyped to hear this year, starting with… Continue reading »

Jul 112013

(In this post Andy Synn review the fourth album by German post black metal band Agrypnie.)

Those of you who have been with the site for a while may recall when I first discovered German post-black metal masters Agrypnie. It was just over a year ago when they were announced for Summer Breeze, so it seems fitting that with the festival coming round again I finally get round to producing a review for their newest album, which I’ve been listening to almost religiously ever since it came out back in February.

For the unfamiliar amongst you (exactly why haven’t you read their entry in The Synn Report by the way?), the band, although loosely positioned within the ‘post-black metal’ genre, eschew the hazy fuzz of the Cascadian scene and the introverted ambience of the Gallic sound in favour of a heavier, more overtly metallic sound which possesses a more restless and tormented aura.

That’s not to say that the elements of the band’s sound are entirely divorced from their fellow brothers in bleakness – you’ll find that this album possesses an air of haunted desolation at times reminiscent of Agalloch’s Marrow Of The Spirit, as well as a grasp of subtle melody that echoes Alcest at their most sublime. Yet the Agrypnie sound is undeniably more driving and aggressive than that of their peers, melding the searing melancholy of black metal with a crushing post-metal heft and flashes of melodic death metal grandeur. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

(NCS writer Andy Synn pauses after the 30th installment of THE SYNN REPORT to take a look back at the first two years of the series.)

Ok, so we’ve now had 30 ‘official’ entries in The Synn Report. I hope that a good number of you have discovered new bands and gone out and shown your support for them, buying music, merch, gig tickets, etc.

I thought, since the year (and the world!!!) is coming to an end, it might be a good time to provide a quick one-stop summation of all the previous entries, for those of you who maybe missed a couple, or for new devotees of the site who have yet to encounter the earlier editions and the bands contained therein.

Did you know that the genesis for The Synn Report was not entirely down to me? There’s a post that I consider ‘The Synn Report: Year Zero” which was written by Islander himself, in response to my recommendation of a particular band. That post is included here, as I think it’s an important foundation stone in the genesis of The Synn Report, and because I think the band in question are utterly phenomenal.

So there we go, after the jump there’s a tiny entry on each band from each edition of The Synn Report, with a short genre description and a re-iteration of the “Recommended for fans of:” section. Which ones did you miss? Which ones should you give another shot to? Click each one to be linked to the appropriate article, where you’ll find the full write-ups and sample songs from each release! Continue reading »

Sep 172012

(In this latest edition of the Synn Report, Andy Synn reviews the discography of German black metal band Agrypnie.)

Recommended for fans of: Agalloch, Dark Tranquillity, Enslaved

Germany is currently producing some of my favourite, black metal based music. From the cosmic-infused technicality of Dark Fortress, to the shadowy arcana of Secrets Of The Moon, not to mention the snarling, infernal fire of less well-known acts like Infestus and Odem Arcarum.

To that list we can add Agrypnie, a band I only discovered when they were announced for Summer Breeze, but who I instantly fell head over heels in love with. With 3 albums and one EP to their name, and a fourth album prepped for release soon, the group have helped fill the void left in my life by the (forthcoming) dissolution of Abigail Williams. I needed something with that introverted rage and extroverted passion, a band who wrote long songs because they wanted to explore the limits of their sound and vision, and that’s exactly what Agrypnie offer.

Currently a five-piece (at least live, as their Facebook page lists a litany of contributing members) after their initial inception as a one-man project, the band occupy a unique place, balanced on the pinnacle of ferocious, yet melancholic black metal, machine-like death metal force, and majestic post-metal dynamics. Grand touches of Alcest-ian melody and Agalloch-ian majesty vie with hints of Insomnium’s focussed power and Dark Tranquillity’s harnessed aggression, all melded together to produce a sound that blurs the boundaries between melodic black metal and melodic death metal, with a progressive verve that manages to recall both Enslaved and even Anathema at their most expressive. Continue reading »

Sep 062012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn made the trek to Germany for this year’s edition of the SUMMER BREEZE festival, and provided us with a review of the bands whose performances he witnessed.  We’ve divided the review into two parts. In this post, Andy covers the festival’s first two days, and tomorrow we’ll have his impressions of Day 3. We’ve also collected videos of many of the performances at the end of the post.)

So… German festivals go Thursday – Saturday, not Friday – Sunday… who knew? Well apparently everyone else in the world except for us, when we booked an overnight stay in Cologne on the Wednesday night! Still, Cologne was awesome, and only a mere four hours drive away…

Anyway, on reaching the site (after a desperate last minute rush to the petrol station – seriously, make sure you fill up before you reach the Dinkelsbuhl exit guys and gals!) we joined a surprising, infuriating, queue of cars, followed by an interminable security check… time was ticking away and Be’lakor (one of my primary reasons for going to the festival) would soon be taking the stage! So with some slightly rushed stunt driving (I’m pretty certain I went down that grass verge as much sideways as I did forwards) and a breathless scramble… we made it. Just.


Justifying our desperate, occasionally slightly risky, efforts to get to the festival on time, Be’lakor were undeniably awesome. Live, the Agallochian overtones of the music come through a lot more, a melding of misty melancholy with swells of oceanic heaviness giving the band a more distinctive and individual live presence. The group’s image is a little difficult to reconcile with the music though, encompassing a host of short haircuts, laid-back Australian accents, and inappropriate t-shirts! Shame on you guys!

The next band I was dying to see also happened to be one of my favourites, my loyalty to Darkest Hour forcing me to choose them in an unfortunate clash with Glorior Belli. And though it pained me to do so, I’m glad I did. Darkest Hour never disappoint, their punky, hyper-energetic take on melodic death metal fitting perfectly with the blazing sunshine and free-wheeling atmosphere of the festival. Plus, I was still yet to see them live with either the new material or the new line-up, and both absolutely killed it live. Continue reading »