Apr 182024

(Andy Synn brings you part 1 of a 2 part review, with the second to follow… later this year)

To start things off I should probably let you know that I’m lucky enough to have heard both parts of the upcoming Amiensus double-album, Reclamation, and thus my perspective on it is – inevitably – going to be somewhat shaped by my experience of the whole thing, rather than just Part 1, which I’m reviewing here.

Hell, when I first got my hands on it I was under the impression I’d be writing about both Part 1 and Part 2 simultaneously, only to learn later that the band had decided to split the release in two.

That’s not a bad thing though – in fact there’s been several occasions where I’d have preferred other bands do the same (it’s something that I wish Mastodon had done, for example, with Hushed & Grim, albeit for somewhat different reasons that I don’t have time to go into here).

If nothing else, it actually makes my job a little easier, as I can fully concentrate on just one half of this epic (in multiple senses of the word) undertaking, while also sneaking in a few tantalising teasers about what to expect from Part 2 later this year.

So, without further ado, let’s begin, shall we?

Continue reading »

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 »

Jul 032020


I’m mindful of the fact that today Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share, which means that more of the money you throw at Bandcamp releases today will land in the pockets of bands and labels. So I’m trying to make a lot of recommendations, many of which were included in Part 1 of this post. But I’m also mindful of the fact that time is running out. And so although this Part 2 of today’s collection consists of complete releases rather than individual songs, I’m not attempting anything close to reviews, just a few words of description and recommendation.

Needless to say, there are dozens of other recent releases I could have included here (2020 has been ridiculously strong for metal, IMO), so there’s more than a bit of randomness in the choices I made. Nevertheless, I back each of these wholeheartedly. (I should add that this collection is heavy on the black and blackened metal, because that’s where I’ve spent a lot of my recent listening time.)


A beautiful and ravishing split that includes not only a great Amiensus song but also the magnificent return of Adora Vivos after a 7-year silence, a band that includes former Amiensus multi-instrumentalist J. Waller (on both Restoration and Ascension) and Amiensus vocalist/guitarist James Benson. This one won’t leave you the same way it found you. Continue reading »

May 282020


Over time most ardent music fans learn to identify different experiences that provide listening thrills. There’s the pleasure of listening to new music from old favorites, even though those old favorites may not be bringing anything new to the table in comparison to their defined sound. There’s the delight of making new discoveries — finding new bands doing new things. And then there’s the pleasure that comes from following the progress of bands, like Minnesota’s Amiensus, who start strong and then evolve, becoming both more intriguing and even stronger as the years pass by.

We’ve been following the progress of Amiensus, essentially step-by-step, since the release of their 2013 debut album Restoration (which, by the way, has lost none of its appeal in the ensuing years). It was evident from the beginning that this was a very talented group of songwriters and musicians, and what has become evident since then is that they are confident enough in their talents, and exploratory enough in their interests, to branch out in ways that enrich their brand of atmospheric and progressive black metal. And that adds intrigue to the announcements of new Amiensus music.

The latest source of intrigue was the news that later this year Amiensus will be releasing their third album, Abreaction, through Transcending Records. We’ve all already had one interesting peek into the album, when the band released an acoustic version of a song called “A Convocation of Spirits“, and today we’re providing a further insight as we premiere a different version of that same song. Continue reading »

May 172020


I spent some time yesterday and more time this morning trying to figure out what to include in this week’s SHADES OF BLACK column. It shouldn’t have been an anxious experience, but it has been, because there is so much I wish I could write about and recommend. Though I know no one will live or die based on the choices I have to make, it’s still painful to leave anything good behind.

At one point I took a break from mentally wrestling with myself over black metal and listened to other things. By pure chance I happened to listen to the first three songs in this collection right in a row, and thought they went together beautifully. I added the fourth one as a wake-up call, and as a transition to whatever I wind up including in SOB.


Minnesota’s Amiensus should need no introduction to faithful visitors to our site. We’ve been writing about their music, and occasionally hosting premieres of it, since 2013. Obviously, we are fans, and you should be too. If you happen to be newcomers, you’ll soon have a chance to get on board because Amiensus have a new album named Abreaction that will be released this summer by Transcending Records. Continue reading »

Nov 052018


Both Amiensus and Oak Pantheon are from Minnesota. Both bands are long-time favorites at our putrid site, and we’ve been following both since very early days in their development. And now both of them, today, have released a new split named Gathering II.

As the name suggests, this isn’t their first collaboration. Five years ago to the day, they jointly released another split named Gathering. It included one track by each band, and so does Gathering II, but the new release also includes a third track that’s a true musical collaboration in which both bands participated. Continue reading »

Dec 282017


Those of you who’ve been visiting us for years are quite familiar with our continuing admiration of the Minnesota band Amiensus, whose releases we’ve followed closely and written about frequently ever since the appearance of their debut album Restoration in 2013. And so we were intrigued when we learned that Amiensus frontman (and Fail to Decay bassist) James Benson had started a separate solo project named Nòtt as a vehicle for creating music that combines bleak and progressive elements of black metal.

We can now reveal that Nòtt’s debut album is nearing completion and is projected for release in January of the new year, and we can go further than that — because today we’re premiering the first single from the album, a song called “White. Cold. Death.“, which is now available for free download at Bandcamp. Continue reading »

May 122017


Last fall, Minnesota’s Amiensus signed with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP this spring, and the release of that EP is now fast approaching. Its name is All Paths Lead To Death, and the release date is May 19th. We’ve previously written about the first two singles from the EP, and now we’ve got the good fortune to bring you a stream of the EP in its entirety.

We’re told by the band that “the concept of the album revolves around Hell and different depictions as well”, which ties to the John Martin artwork used on the cover, depicting Satan reigning on his throne in the hall of the Pandæmonium. And the music ties to that concept as well. Continue reading »

Apr 232017


I whittled the great limb of blackened music I found over the last week down to a spear, but it was a spear with 10 barbs. I organized the music alphabetically by band name and decided, as I stared at what I’d done, that music from 10 bands was too much for a single post. So, I’ve divided it into two parts, while maintaining the alphabetical ordering. I haven’t finished writing Part 2, so not sure if it will come later today or tomorrow (but probably tomorrow).


Of Forsworn Vows is the debut EP of a two-man project named ÆRA (the creator of all the music seems to be from Chile, the vocalist from Missouri). It was digitally released in February, but it’s now available on tape through Desolated Woods Records, and it appears that Aeternitas Tenebrarum plans to make a CD release (the Bandcamp download has been updated so that the tracks now consist of the CD masters). Continue reading »

Mar 162017


We have been closely following the musical progress of Minnesota’s Amiensus, essentially step by step, since we discovered and then praised their wonderful debut album Restoration back in the early days of 2013. Since then, they have released (and we have reviewed) a split with Oak Pantheon, a single named “Wolfhead’s Tree“, their 2015 album Ascension, and another single named “Reflections“.

As we happily reported last fall, Amiensus have signed with Apathia Records for the release of a new EP this spring, and now we have further details about it as well as the premiere of a track from the EP named “Gehenna“. Continue reading »