Aug 202019


(Here’s another installment of Andy Synn‘s occasional series devoted to reviews of new releases by UK bands.)

If there’s one thing I often find a little disappointing about the UK Metal scene it’s that many of our “bigger” underground acts seem content just playing it safe and being little more than a big fish in a relatively small pond.

The following three bands, however, are different, in that not only are they each more than capable of taking on the bigger names and more famous faces of the Metal world at their own game, but they also seem more than willing to risk doing so! Continue reading »

Aug 172019


(In this new edition of Waxing Lyrical Andy Synn was able to get answers to the usual questions from Larissa Stupar, vocalist of the UK death metal band Venom Prison, whose latest album was released by Prosthetic Records in March of this year.)

You’d have to have been living under a rock for the last several years not to have noticed the somewhat meteoric rise of UK Death Metal quintet Venom Prison, who’ve only gone from strength to strength ever since they first burst onto the scene in late 2015, before quickly being signed to Prosthetic Records for the release of their debut album, Animus, and this year’s blood-soaked and belligerent follow-up Samsara.

And, despite being busy finishing up the last leg of their summer festival dates (concluding tonight at Upsurge Fest in London), as well as preparing for their highly-anticipated US headlining tour next month, I managed to catch up with vocalist Larissa Stupar and (somehow) convince her to participate in Waxing Lyrical so we could all learn a little more about the meaning behind the music. Continue reading »

Aug 162019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Australian black metal band Deadspace, which was just released today.)

It’s been both a pleasure and a privilege to observe the musical progression of Australian DSBM collective Deadspace since I first stumbled across their Gravity EP in 2016, watching with ever-increasing interest as the band shifted, slowly but surely, away from the goth-inflected anguish of their early days towards a much more aggressive, much more “pure”, Black Metal approach in recent years.

However, it seems like the group’s steady transition away from their gothic/depressive roots has caused some consternation in their fanbase, to the point where they took the unexpected step of releasing a lengthy statement alongside their new album explicitly stating that they’d outgrown or moved beyond the “DSBM” label of their youth, and that The Grand Disillusionment shouldn’t be considered or judged as such.

Which is a little ironic when you realise that there are moments on TGD where the group hearken back towards the DSBM side of things more than they have done in quite some time… Continue reading »

Aug 152019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the third album by the Russian band Shokran, which was released in February of this year.)

There are a couple of reasons I selected the third album from Russian quartet Shokran as my second review of the week.

Firstly, switching out the grimness and grime of Shadow Tentacles in favour of the polished, melodically-stylised sounds of Ethereal makes for some welcome contrast, both for me and (hopefully) for the reader, and forces me to switch up my writing a little in a way that that doesn’t just involve googling additional synonyms for “dark” and “brooding”.

Secondly, it’s been a while since I threw a major curveball at the site, and the amount of gleaming, hyper-emotive clean-sung melody scattered liberally across the length and breadth of this record certainly makes it a bit different in that regard! Continue reading »

Aug 122019


(On August 5th The Howling Wind surprised us by dropping their latest album (this time the solo creation of Ryan Lipynsky), and Andy Synn gives it a review in this post.)

While it seemed like everyone else was either losing their minds last week over the release of a new Tool song, or bending over backwards to praise the new Slipknot record like it was the second coming, this particular writer was over in the corner giddy with excitement over the realisation that The Howling Wind had dropped their fifth album on Bandcamp without any warning or fanfare.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with liking either of the two former bands (while I think I’ve made my own feelings about the ‘knot more than clear, I’ll definitely be checking out the new Tool album once it’s actually released), but what I’m trying to point out is how easy it is for “the big fish” to monopolise all the online space and digital air so that there’s very little left for those (much, much) lower down the food chain.

Still, as you all know, we’re proud bottom-feeders here at NCS, and it’s our duty, and our privilege, to shine a light on some of the deepest and darkest corners of the Metal world to ensure that no stone remains unturned! Continue reading »

Aug 092019


(Andy Synn breathes more life into this occasional series featuring reviews of new releases by UK bands, with reviews and streams of EPs by Ba’al, Lvcifyre, and Man Must Die.)

Chances are a bunch of our regular UK readers will be off in a field in Derbyshire this weekend attending Bloodstock Festival, and so probably won’t get to read this article.

But that’s ok, because one of the primary purposes behind this “Best of British” series is to introduce readers/listeners from other countries to some of our best home-grown musical exports.

So, in that spirit, please allow me to draw your attention to three of the best new (or new-ish) EPs from three of the UK’s best bands. Continue reading »

Aug 082019


(Andy Synn penned this review of the second album by Swamp Witch from Oakland, California, which was released in May of this year.)

Maybe it’s because of the weather recently – a mixture of blazing, oppressive heat and thunderous downpours – but I’ve been in a really doomy mood recently.

Just last week I went to see hideously heavy Doomcore pioneers Black Tongue (who were great, although the less said about the support acts the better), and prior to that I’d been fully immersed not only in the complete Krypts discography, but also getting my teeth into the upcoming new Crypt Sermon album too (more about that at a later date).

This past weekend however it was the grimy, gloom-shrouded stomp of Swamp Witch which really caught my attention, and so I felt it was high time I shared the good news (and gruesome grooves) with the rest of you. Continue reading »

Aug 022019


(In this July edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn focuses on the albums released to date by the Finnish band Krypts, including a review of their most recent album, Cadaver Circulation, released this past May by Dark Descent Records.)

Recommended for fans of: Incantation, Desolate Shrine, Tomb Mold

Fearsome Finnish four-piece Krypts are one of the best bands in Death Metal right now.

As a matter of fact, in my humble opinion, their punishing blend of humongous, heaving riffs, putrid vocal vomit, and dread-inducing Doom is absolutely second to none, and looks to have achieved its ultimate apotheosis on the group’s latest, and greatest, album, Cadaver Circulation, a record which can honestly go toe-to-toe, round-for-round, with the very best of them.

That’s not to downplay the intensity or impact of their previous two releases though, as the band have always been consummate wielders of “the riff”, and have, likewise, always possessed a certain gift for songcraft which ensures that even their foulest metallic offerings are as virulently infectious as they are absolutely crushing. Continue reading »

Jul 312019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new seventh studio album by Carnifex, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 2nd.)

As a wise (albeit fictional) man once said, “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

And, as one of the biggest and most famous bands in all of Deathcore, it could be argued that Carnifex have a real responsibility to act as leaders and shepherds for the genre which they once helped pioneer.

The question, of course, is… do they want to? Continue reading »

Jul 292019


(In a continuation of this occasional series, Andy Synn reviews three recent albums by bands from his homeland.)

Normally I’d write something amusing/annoying to provide a “fun” lead in to the following three albums.

However, a combination of work/band/life pressures means that, right at this moment, I don’t have any time to mess around like that.

So, without further ado, here’s a mix of Death, Black, and Post/Sludge from the UK for you all to enjoy. Continue reading »