Oct 212021

(Andy Synn brings forth another terrific trio of releases from his green and (un)pleasant homeland)

It’s pretty appropriate that I’m doing another “Best of British” column this week, as I just got back from playing a festival in Manchester featuring a wealth of good/great/excellent bands from the UK underground scene.

Of course, since we were there as performers rather than just punters we weren’t able to catch as many bands as we’d have liked, but I encourage you all to keep an eye out (and at least one ear open) for more from up-and-coming Thrash-core whippersnappers Tortured Demon, groove-driven and harmony-laden Post-Grunge metallers Scare Tactics, and cinematic Symphonic Death-dealers Ghosts of Atlantis (whose latest album was covered by our own DGR not long ago), as what we caught from each of them proved very promising indeed.

However, today isn’t about those bands, today is about God ComplexGreen Lung, and Still.
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Oct 182021

(Andy Synn takes up the challenge of reviewing the new album from Archspire, out 29 October )

I don’t know about you, but it seems more and more evident to me with each passing year that the current Tech Death scene has gotten itself caught up in a perpetual arms race of velocity and virtuosity.

And, sure, it can be a real thrill to witness bands continually pushing themselves, and pushing the envelope, in terms of how many notes per second and beats per minute they can crank out, but you know what happens when an arms race reaches its inevitable conclusion, right?

Mutually assured destruction.

Thankfully, this particular scenario may not be quite as inevitable as it appears, as several of the genre’s leading lights seem to have realised that this constant competition over who can be the fastest, techiest, or shreddiest isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to live, and have already begun taking steps to ensure that when the bubble finally bursts – and it will – there will at least be a few bands left standing.

And I’d put money on Archspire being one of them.

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Oct 142021

(Andy Synn would like to introduce you to the debut album from Hippotraktor, out tomorrow on Pelagic Records, and invites you to leave your prejudices and preconceptions at the door)

I know that the post-Meshuggah breed of Metal bands can provoke some pretty divisive reactions around these parts. And I understand why.

After all, what initially seemed to be fresh and fertile soil for creativity and experimentation quickly became over-saturated with copycats and soundalikes whose music only seemed to grow increasingly sanitised, simplified, and mass-produced for mass-appeal with each successive generation.

But, let’s be honest, that’s the case for most, if not all, styles of music, to one extent or another, and just because the veritable deluge of Djent, Post-Djent, Proto-Djent, and Pseudo-Djent bands reached its saturation point in practically record time doesn’t mean you should dismiss any and all groups who elect to take inspiration from the works of Thordendal, Haake, et al.

I mean, it’s entirely up to you if you want to do that, sure, but you’re potentially robbing yourself of the chance to discover and enjoy a whole plethora of bands whose love of polyrhythmic groove and atmospheric melody transcends the trite tricks and tropes of their more djeneric peers.

Which brings us nicely to Meridian, the debut album from Belgium’s Hippotraktor.

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Oct 132021

(Andy Synn steps up once more to recommend the brand new album from Gravenchalice)

It is a simple and well-known truth that the House of Black Metal has many rooms, many hallways.

And which path you choose to follow, which doors you choose to open, will dictate whether or not you end up going deeper into the dark, or coming out the other side.

It is also true that many, if not most, of these pathways have been well-worn by the passing of countless feet over the years, such that, whichever way you choose to turn, it is difficult not to find yourself walking in the footsteps of those who have gone before you.

This was clear enough on last year’s Apparition, the short-but-striking debut from Florida’s Gravenchalice, whose blend of hypnotic riffs and pulse-raising rhythms was reminiscent – in the best possible way – of some of the best work of Mgla, Misþyrming, and their ilk.

But with Samael, the group’s second album in just over a year, Gravenchalice have clearly – whether by accident or design – stepped away from the route they were following on their first record and have found themselves walking a much darker, and less-trodden, path.

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Oct 092021


(Andy Synn brings us another episode in his series about lyrics in Metal, and today the responses come from A.K. of the French band Decline of the I, whose latest album Johannes was released last spring by Agonia Records.)

I know it’s been a little while since we last published one of these columns – that’s largely because I want the various artists involved to work on them in their own time and without feeling pressured from my end – but the wait has definitely been worth it, as today we’re talking to songwriter, lyricist, and all-round mastermind A.K. of Decline of the I (along with many other bands).

It’s a fascinating piece, mark my words, which touches on the conceptual underpinnings of the group’s first album trilogy, and their next one, as well as the unusual methods involved in composing each record’s vivid yet dreamlike lyrics. Continue reading »

Oct 072021

(Andy Synn encourages you to check out four albums from last month which you might have missed)

Well then… how exactly do you try and address a month like September, which was, arguably, the biggest and busiest month of the year for new releases yet?

Hell, my initial shortlist (sorry, “short” list) for this column was a good eight or nine albums long, an even though I successfully spun one of them off as part of last month’s edition of The Synn Report, that still left me with more options than I could possibly fit into one article.

So what I ended up doing, to be frank, was just picking not-entirely-at-random and going with my gut for this latest edition of “Things You May Have Missed”, which ultimately ended up covering an intriguing array of artists/albums from across the (Extreme) Metal spectrum.

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Oct 052021

(Apexapienthe highly anticipated debut album from Canada’s Atræ Bilis is out this Friday via 20 Buck Spin, and Andy Synn would like to tell you exactly why that should be so exciting)

It really is a pleasure to see/hear a band living up to their potential, isn’t it? Especially a young band who seemingly have the world at their feet and a bright future laid out before them.

Case in point, when I wrote about Divinihility, the debut EP from up-and-coming Canadian death-dealers Atræ Bilis, last year I noted that while the band clearly owed a great debt to some of the biggest and best names in the genre – describing their sound, at one point, as “a combination of beefy, Blood Red Throne inspired riffs, chunky, Suffocation-style slam parts, and unexpectedly Ulcerate-esque moments of eerie dissonance” – they still, even at this early stage of their career, managed to pull it all together in a way that implied greater ambitions, and possibilities, for the group than just being one of the crowd.

As you might imagine, then, I predicted (and expected) big things for the band’s next release, and now, finally, we get to see/hear whether that prediction was in any way accurate.

Spoiler alert: it was.

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Sep 302021

Recommended for fans of: Isis, Sumac, Old Man Gloom

The central thesis of this site has always been to primarily focus our attention and efforts on the underdogs, the underrated, and the underappreciated of the Metal scene.

Of course, exactly who qualifies for this is somewhat debatable, especially when it comes to the regular retrospective provided by The Synn Report, where we’re just as likely to go to bat for a “big” name whose work we think has been undervalued or unfairly maligned as we are for a relatively unknown band whose merits have gone unsung for far too long.

Today’s edition definitely leans more towards the latter than the former, as while Portuguese trio Redemptus aren’t an entirely unknown quantity, they’ve definitely been dwelling below the radar for far too long in my/our opinion, and it’s high time that more people were made aware of the group’s abrasively aggressive and asphyxiatingly atmospheric blend of sludgy Hardcore and punky Post-Metal.

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Sep 272021

(Andy Synn takes some time out of his busy schedule to celebrate some short but sweet releases by a variety of big names and new faces)

One unfortunate result of the endless scramble to stay on top of the relentless torrent of new album releases is that the humble EP often gets a little overlooked.

Which, obviously, is a real shame, because a good EP can often be just as fulfilling as an album in its own way, especially when a band uses it as an opportunity to explore a different side of themselves or to create something that works within the constraints of the format to tell a complete and fully realised story.

So while I’m working on a number of different full-length reviews (as well as the next edition of The Synn Report) I thought I might as well take a few moments to jot down a few quick reviews for some of the EPs I’ve enjoyed the most over the course of the year so far.

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Sep 232021

(Andy Synn would like to remind you that while his country may be regressing, their music scene definitely isn’t)

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the news, the good ol’ UK is currently, well… fucked… especially when it comes to international relations and trade with other countries.

Thankfully, however, our homegrown music scene is as strong as it’s ever been, which is why I’m here today to recommend three recent releases which are well worth importing into your ears.

And I won’t even charge you anything for the privilege.

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