Apr 032020


(Andy Synn has again assembled reviews and streams of new albums for this release-day Friday that might not be getting the attention they deserve elsewhere.)

People seemed to enjoy this the last time I did it, so I thought to myself… why not keep the streak alive?

So here we go, trying to go two for two, with another quick round-up of releases which you may otherwise have missed! Continue reading »

Apr 012020



(Andy Synn returns to a series in which he extols the virtues of new or soon-forthcoming releases by bands from the UK, and does that for three records here.)

Well, well, well… what do we have here then?

Ahem, cough, sorry, I turned into a nineteenth century cockney flatfoot there for a second.

Anyway, today’s edition of “The Best of British” features three albums which are bound to make quite an impact (and, in some cases, have done already) in the Metal world, both at home and abroad, and it’s my distinct pleasure to be able to do my small part to help raise their profile (even if just a little bit). Continue reading »

Mar 312020


(For the March 2020 edition of The Synn Report, Andy Synn has combined reviews and streams of all the releases by the Australian black metal band Wardaemonic, including their newest album Acts of Repentance, which was released by Transcending Obscurity Records on March 20th.)

Recommended for fans of: Immortal, Mayhem, 1349

From its humble beginnings in the streets and suburbs of Norway, Black Metal has stretched its eldritch tendrils far and wide, resulting in new cults and covens springing up all over the world.

There is, perhaps, no better example of how the genre has metastasised and infected practically every corner of the globe than Wardaemonic, who, despite hailing from the Western coast of Australia – about as far, both in distance and climate, from the Norwegian fjords as it’s possible to get – have spent the last fifteen years establishing their own place in the ever-growing legacy of Black Metal.

The group’s fourth (and possibly finest) album, Acts of Repentance, was released just over a week ago, so now seemed like the perfect time to bring their work to a wider audience. Continue reading »

Mar 272020



(Andy Synn prepared this collection of reviews, all addressing fine albums that are being released today.)

It’s a very busy Friday for releases this week, both big and small. Some of them we’ve covered here already (Aodon, Perdition Temple, The Malice), some of them we’ll probably get to over the next couple of weeks… maybe… and some of them have already received significant coverage elsewhere.

The purpose of today’s column however is to highlight a handful of bands/albums which might not necessarily receive the same amount of attention and/or adoration as some of the bigger or more high-profile releases, beginning with… drum roll please… Continue reading »

Mar 252020



(Herein, Andy Synn sings the praises of three recent releases by French bands who present varying forms of Gallic metallic extremity.)

While many of us may be locked down right now, waiting for the current crisis to pass (which it will, I promise you), that doesn’t mean we can’t travel the world… musically speaking anyway… so today we’re off to France to check out three killer new records from three exceptionally talented bands. Continue reading »

Mar 232020


(Here’s Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by North Carolina’s Feminazgul, which was released on March 17th.)

There’s a lot of things I love about Metal. Heck, I wouldn’t have been writing here for over nine feckin’ years if that wasn’t the case. But, truth be told, there’s a lot of things about the Metal scene which I don’t love.

For one thing, our tendency to bend over backwards to excuse or justify something reprehensible which our favourite artists have done, purely because of how good their music is, has always struck me as pretty distasteful (and I’m not excusing myself from this either, as I’ve certainly done it in the past).

But, similarly, the idea of simply praising a band for having the “right” ideology, for saying the “right” things, doesn’t sit quite right with me either, and I’ve seen far too many instances recently where people seem willing to overlook a band’s relative mediocrity simply because they’ve got the “right” message.

Don’t get me wrong, a band’s message, a band’s meaning, can be just as important as their medium (though it doesn’t have to be), but I don’t think, with the wealth of options available to us all these days, we should feel like we have to sacrifice one in favour of the other.

Which brings me, smoothly, to Feminazgul (FYI, love the name), a band whose music and meaning is so tightly interwoven that there’s simply no question of separating the art from the artist. Continue reading »

Mar 192020



(In this post Andy Synn provides reviews of six recent albums, all of them leaning in different deathly directions.)

As a companion piece to last week’s Black Metal Bonanza, and a follow-up to Monday’s Death Metal focussed “Short But Sweet” article, here’s a bunch of Death Metal artists/albums to help keep you all sane during these unsettled times. Continue reading »

Mar 162020


(Andy Synn has decided to collect in one place reviews of five recently released EPs that have provoked very enthusiastic responses. Lots of very good stuff here.)

After spending a significant amount of time last week covering some massive (some might say excessive) double-albums, I thought it might be nice to kick things off this week with a bunch of shorter releases, all of which sit somewhere along the ever-widening spectrum of Death Metal.

So whether you’re looking for something brutal and breakdown-heavy, something crusty and crushing, or something teched-out and transcendent, there should be something for everyone here. Continue reading »

Mar 142020


(For this new edition of a column devoted to lyrics in metal Andy Synn was fortunate to obtain insights from the two lyricists and co-vocalists of the Bay Area death metal band Vastum, whose latest album Orificial Purge was released last fall by 20 Buck Spin.)

We’ve written about Californian Death Metal crew Vastum several times before here at NCS (and just take a look here if you don’t believe me) but this is, if I’m not mistaken, our first time talking to them directly.

This piece was also meant as a precursor to the band’s upcoming dates in the Pacific Northwest region but – for reasons I’m sure no-one will be surprised by – those have now been put on hold.

Still, any opportunity to learn more about the group’s work, their drives and methods and inspirations, is one well worth taking, so I encourage you all to take some time and enjoy the following edition of Waxing Lyrical, which features responses not just from Vastum’s lead singer Daniel Butler but also his co-vocalist/co-lyricist (and half of the band’s guitar tag-team) Leila Abdul-Rauf, who have together gone above and beyond to provide us with a double-scoop of lyrical insight this time around. Continue reading »

Mar 132020


(We present Andy Synn‘s review of the ambitious new double album created by Mare Cognitum (California) and Spectral Lore (Greece), which is being released today by I, Voidhanger Records and features cover art by Elijah Tamu.)

Call me a glutton for punishment, but not only is this the second double-album I’m reviewing this week, but it’s actually even longer than the first one!

What makes it different (very different, in fact) is that rather than being the product of just one band’s vision, Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine (and that’s the last time I’m going to be typing that in full) is a split-release from two artists, Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum, each of whom contributes a full album’s worth of blistering blackened riffage and eerie, extraterrestrial atmosphere.

But wait, there’s more! Not only is the album arranged very differently to a traditional split – instead of grouping the songs by band they’re arranged (mostly) in an alternating pattern, loosely following the order of the planets in our solar system – but the final two tracks are in fact the result of a collaborative effort designed to fuse the best parts of both artists into one collective whole.

Of course, the problem with shooting for the stars is that there’s a lot that can go wrong out there in the formless void… so the question is, have Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum found a way to boldly go where no band has gone before, or is this one giant leap too far? Continue reading »