May 222019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Denver’s Call of the Void, which was released on May 10th by Translation Loss Records.)

For the sake of simplicity we often tend to think of the Metal scene as being split between the “underground” and the “mainstream”. But, of course, nothing is that simple.

The “underground” scene is itself separated into several distinct strata, from the upper echelons where the various “big” names live, well-known to all of us, but still practically invisible to the “mainstream” audience, all the way down into the deepest, darkest, dankest pits of squalling, sub-musical noise that only a handful of people are ever likely to hear… and everything in between.

And while Call of the Void have been hovering on the brink of breaking through to the wider underground for a while now, Buried In Light looks set to elevate them to a whole new level entirely. Continue reading »

May 202019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the first album in 10 years by Rammstein, which was released on May 17th.)

It seems like every year, if not every six months, the Metal Media ™ is overwhelmed with a glut of articles declaiming the imminent “death” of the scene, and asking “who will be the next Metallica?”

Yet amidst all the pontificating, prognosticating, and populist predictions – will it be Trivium (no, despite their best efforts), will it be Slipknot (I hope not), will it be Five Finger Death Punch (dear god no…) – one name seems consistently omitted and overlooked, despite the fact that they’re already quite capable of filling arenas and selling umpteen records without even breaking a sweat.

That band, as the more astute of you might already have guessed, is Rammstein. Continue reading »

May 162019


I was chatting with DGR recently (yes, we do in fact keep in touch outside of the site) and we both agreed that we’ve now reached that point of the year (and it comes every year) where our list of potential/possible reviews has become so massive and unwieldy that we’re just going to have to cut our losses, accept that some of the stuff we’d dearly love to write about isn’t going to get covered, and focus instead on doing our best for those artists/albums which we do get a chance to write about.

So, in that spirit, here are three new albums, one from an old favourite, one from a current favourite, and one from a potential new favourite, all of whom are well worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Continue reading »

May 132019


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Ulver, which they released two days ago)

A long time ago, in the distant land of Norway, a band was born.

Their name was Ulver, and though they made their start (and their mark) in the Black Metal scene it was clear very early on that they were a little different from their brothers.

No one at the time, of course, could have predicted the weird and wonderful places that their career would take them, but one thing has always been certain about the band’s music… no matter what they turn their minds towards it always results in something fascinating taking shape.

And it’s this endless fascination with their work – always compelling, sometimes frustrating, yet never quite what it seems to be – which keeps us here at NCS listening to and writing about Ulver regardless of how far their sound has strayed from our usual remit.

As long as they keep making music which inspires us to write about it, we’re going to keep doing so. Continue reading »

May 102019


(Andy Synn delivers his third compilation of reviews this week which focus on new records by UK bands, and again presents three of them in this latest installment.)

The third (and final) of this week’s series of “Best of British” posts deals with three bands who are collectively becoming (or have already become) a fair bit more well-known and more famous (or infamous) than those artists from the previous two editions. Continue reading »

May 082019


(Sooner than anticipated, Andy Synn brings us yet another installment of this series, which focuses on reviews of new records by UK bands — and you’ll find three of those here.)

Remember how I said I had enough collected material for three separate “Best of British” columns (including the one I/we published on Monday)?

Well, I wasn’t lying, and today’s edition features three bands who, in all likelihood, should drum up a lot of interest from our readers.

In fact I’m hopeful that, if you like one of these bands, you’ll like the other two as well! Continue reading »

May 062019


(In a new episode of this occasional series, Andy Synn again combines reviews of releases by bands from the UK, with three new offerings on tap today.)

So far this year I’ve barely touched upon the musical output of my homeland, barring a single edition of “The Best of British” back in February, but, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve now built up enough of a backlog that I have enough potential candidates to fill not only this column but another two additional ones as well.

At some point I’ll get them all written up and reviewed… at some point… but for now let’s begin with three shorter, but still rather spiffing, releases from Roots EntwinedSubservience, and Watchcries. Continue reading »

May 032019


(In this April 2019 edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn enthusiastically reviews the discography to date of the Italian band Caronte.)

Recommended for fans of: Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Pallbearer

Don’t let your senses deceive you… it may be a few days late but this is still the April edition of The Synn Report, and one which I hope will be more than worth the extra wait, as the Satanic Stoner Doom sound of Italy’s Caronte (a band I only became familiar with/aware of thanks to their performance at this year’s edition of Inferno Festival) represents something I/we haven’t really touched on very much (if at all) in this column before now.

Active for a little over eight years now, the quartet – Dorian Bones (vocals), Tony Bones (guitar), Henry Bones (bass), and Mike De Chirico (drums) – have already built up a pretty healthy discography during their career, using their music (and their live shows) to explore and celebrate the more occult side of things, with songs addressing everything from Thelemic mysticism to Buddhist philosophy to Native American shamanism.

And while the strident clean vocals of singer Dorian Bones might seem like something you wouldn’t usually expect on this site (given their somewhat theatrical, Danzig-esque cadence) please believe me when I say that they’re a vital part of the band’s identity.

But enough jibber-jabber from me… why not read/listen further and find out for yourself? Continue reading »

Apr 302019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Norwegian black metal band Kampfar, which will be released on May 3rd by Indie Recordings.)

Metal is, perhaps more than any other genre I can think of, a style of music built around its own mythology.

The bands and artists whom we love (or loathe) become our heroes, and our villains, our gods, and our demons, often all at the same time, while certain places – the fetid swamps of Florida, the frozen mountains of Norway, the steel and smoke of Northern England – become invested with near-mythic significance of their own, giving birth to their own legends and lore and traditions.

Black Metal in particular is rich in its own particular brand of folklore and fairy tale – much of it drenched in the blood and sweat of its progenitors – to the point where it sometimes seems like the music plays second fiddle to the myths surrounding it.

But not with Kampfar. And not on Ofidians Manifest. Continue reading »

Apr 292019


(This is a quartet of reviews written by Andy Synn, gathering together impressions and streams for four excellent new albums by bands who happen to share a first letter.)

Did you know they’re planning on doing a full-length movie version of Sesame Street?

I didn’t until recently, but I guess it just goes to show that anything which the studios believe can be turned into a movie will be turned into one eventually.

Still, as long as they avoid the temptation to make it a “dark and gritty reboot” I suppose it can’t be that bad, right?

Anyway, this has very little to do with the bands I’m writing about here today, other than to act as a cheeky little segue into me saying that today’s article is brought to you by the letter V and the number 4. Continue reading »