Jul 012020
 

 

(Andy Synn has chosen to devote his SYNN REPORT for the month of June to the discography of the French band Exocrine, whose new album Maelstrom was released by Unique Leader on June 26th.)

Recommended for fans of: The Faceless, Gorod, Beneath the Massacre

The purpose of The Synn Report is, obviously, to give our readers an overview of the background and back-catalogue of whatever band I select each month.

One of the great things about this approach, of course, is that it allows all of us (myself included) to see just how the band in question has evolved over the course of their career.

In the case of French four-piece Exocrine the band’s evolution has led them to grow from some relatively humble beginnings into something far more titanic, and if 2018’s blazing Molten Giant didn’t convince you of the group’s tech-tastic lethality then perhaps their recently released fourth record, Maelstrom, will?

Before then, of course, there’s three other albums to sink your teeth into… Continue reading »

Jun 292020
 


OHHMS

 

(Andy Synn wrote this trio of reviews, covering just-releqsed albums by bands from his home country.)

This edition of “The Best of British” – my long-running column where I take a look at some of the best-kept secrets and flawed-but-fascinating gems coming out of the UK underground – is a particularly timely one… or, at least it was meant to be, since it was originally intended to be published on Friday last week, the same day that all three of these bands released their new albums.

Sadly the twin pressures of my day job (which remains reliably, sometimes excessively, busy) and some important band business (which I’ll hopefully be able to talk more about soon) meant that I didn’t manage to get the column fully finished until far too late in the day, at which point our beloved leader convinced me that we’d be better off waiting until Monday (i.e., today) instead.

So, here we are, better late than never, with three new albums straight from the bountiful bosom of the British music scene. Continue reading »

Jun 222020
 

 

(On June 26th Agonia Records will release a new album by the Greek coven Acherontas, and today we present Andy Synn‘s review of this eye-opening, mind-expanding new record.)

The only constant in life, or so they say, is change.

But that doesn’t mean change is always good, or even wanted, especially when it comes to music.

By the same token, however, bands who refuse to change, refuse to progress, run the risk of sinking into a swamp of creative stagnation from which it’s often impossible to escape.

It’s a conundrum. How much change is too much… and how much is not enough?

Eight albums into their career, it seems like cult Black Metal coven Acherontas have found their own answer to this question, as while Psychic Death may not have shattered my perceptions of the band, it’s certainly made me rethink how I perceive their music. Continue reading »

Jun 192020
 


Acârash

(This is a collection of reviews and full-album streams assembled by Andy Synn.)

As everyone knows, the devil has all the best tunes, so today’s “Alternative Release Day Round-Up” has a demonic, Black/Death theme to it.

It also, for once, actually includes quite a few albums which are only just seeing the light of day today… although even the “oldest” albums featured here were all released within the last month or so. Continue reading »

Jun 182020
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Polish band Biesy, which was released by Godz Ov War Productions on May 8th.)

Black Metal is, let’s face it, an inherently contradictory genre.

By turns both fearlessly progressive and rigidly (some might even say “religiously”) conservative, infinitely malleable yet stubbornly inflexible, it’s the sort of place where bands can preach rebellion and non-conformity on one hand while ostracising anyone who dares to colour too far outside the lines on the other.

And while I love pretty much everything about it – the sound, the fury, the blending of avant-garde artistry and punk-as-fuck attitude – I’m also not afraid to acknowledge the high camp of it all either, considering how much time I’ve spent in small, dark rooms, watching shirtless, make-up covered men with pseudonyms like “Goat Impaler” and “Ultra Sodomite” hammering out priapic hymns of uber-masculinity, all while rocking a borderline-erotic amount of leather.

So it’s actually kind of surprising that it’s taken so long for someone to connect the obvious dots between the nihilistic escapism of Black Metal’s corpse-painted pageantry and the performative, provocative world of drag, but that’s exactly what the mastermind behind Biesy has done, adopting the persona of blue-haired punk-rock princess “Faustyna Moreau” to create an album designed to make you question your own prejudices and preconceptions about the necro-metallic arts. Continue reading »

Jun 152020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Ontario, Canada, metal band Protest the Hero, which will be released on June 18th.)

Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention. While adversity… adversity is a son of a bitch.

Progressive Tech-Metal punks Protest the Hero are all too familiar with adversity, as the years since the band’s last release, 2016’s piecemeal (but promising) EP Pacific Myth, have been riddled with ups and downs, setbacks and delays, and one extremely worrying period where it looked like singer Rody Walker might have to hang up the microphone for good.

But, wouldn’t you know it, the band’s dedication and bloody-minded perseverance has paid off handsomely, as you’re all about to discover. Continue reading »

Jun 122020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Australia’s Justice for the Damned, which is being released today by Greyscale Records.)

Even though I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to write reviews over the past couple of weeks, I’ve still had a fair bit of time to think about reviews – particularly why, how, and who we write for.

Let’s face it, a lot of what’s out there is little more than a regurgitated press release masquerading as a review. Either that, or so mindblowingly generic that you could cut and paste in a different band name and neither the overall content nor context of the review would really change all that much…

This latter issue is particularly prevalent on the more “brutal” end of the spectrum, as there’s only so many ways you can write about a band’s “sick gutturals” or “killer riffs” before it basically turns into a game of Extreme Metal mad-libs where the formula never changes, even if the names do.

So when it came time to write a few words about Pain Is Power, the new album from Aussie bruisers Justice for the Damned, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted to say, and exactly how I wanted to say it. Continue reading »

Jun 112020
 

 

(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Germany’s Bait, released by Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions on May 22nd, with cover art by Giovanni Raabe.)

Inspiration is a funny ol’ thing. Sometimes you have it… and sometimes you don’t.

Case in point, I’m currently sitting on a half-finished triptych of reviews for some very cool Black Metal bands – a mix of doomy and groovy, abrasively atmospheric, and straight-up weird albums that I’ve been spinning religiously for the past few weeks – but, for some reason, my wordstream has run a little dry.

So, to try and get things flowing again, I decided to switch tracks (mixing my metaphors here a little, but, hey, it’s not like anyone’s paying attention) and find something else to wax lyrical about.

As it turns out, none of us have written anything (barring a bit of preamble to accompany a video premiere back in April) about the new album from Germanic Blackened Hardcore crew Bait, so now seemed like the perfect time to correct this egregious oversight. Continue reading »

Jun 102020
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the debut album by END, which was released on June 5th by Closed Casket Activities.)

For years the UK and the USA have enjoyed (and endured) something called a “special relationship”.

This strange, strained, frequently estranged, situation has – for better or worse – resulted in an ongoing, tit for tat, “anything you can do we can do better”, back and forth between the two nations that has led both to the creation of some amazing art… and some pretty terrible political decisions.

The latest entry into this co-dependant cultural exchange is Splinters from an Ever-Changing Face, the debut album from pseudo-supergroup END, a band who seem to have spent quite some time listening to the collective works of Anaal Nathrakh and thinking “oh yeah, we can do that…” Continue reading »

Jun 052020
 


Peter Paul Rubens: “The Fall of the Damned”

 

(Andy Synn helps us end our week-day posts (though more will be coming this weekend) with the following trio of reviews.)

I really feel like I’ve let you all down this week. I had originally intended to write a bunch of different articles this week, but somehow – primarily due to having to focus on work and band stuff instead – time has slipped through my fingers.

Still, better late than never, right? So here’s a quick write-up of a trio of killer EPs I’ve been jamming lately. Continue reading »