Jun 242019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of a new album by the Moscow-based metal band Morokh.)

I originally had this album lined up as part of a double-review alongside the latest release from a band who, due to various factors, have ended up becoming this month’s focus of The Synn Report (keep an eye out for that later this week).

But, due to changing circumstances, it’s Russian Blackened Hardcore crew Morokh who are getting top billing today, and will hopefully also garner themselves a few new fans (and sales) from being featured here. Continue reading »

Jun 222019


(After being on hiatus for a while, Andy Synn‘s Waxing Lyrical series returns today with answers to Andy’s standard questions by Jeff Bryan of the Canadian band Gomorrah.)

I’ve been an avid follower of Canadian death-dealers Gomorrah ever since I stumbled across their sophomore album, The Haruspex, way back in 2016.

More recently I spent some of my own time waxing lyrical about their third, self-titled, record which – spoiler alert – is very likely going to make an appearance in my personal end of year list at this rate.

Therefore you need to understand that when I reached out the band to take part in this column I did so not just as a highly respected, dare I say beloved, Metal writer… cough… but as an honest to god fan.

So you can imagine how pleased I was when the band’s vocalist Jeff Bryan agreed to provide this short but sweet insight into how the lyrical side of the band has come together over the years. Continue reading »

Jun 212019


(What follows is Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the UK’s Abyssal, which is being released today by Profound Lore Records.)

Over the years only three bands have been deemed worthy of making repeat appearances in my end of the year “Critical Top Ten” list.

Those bands are Alkaloid (The Malkuth Grimoire, Liquid Anatomy), Cattle Decapitation (Monolith of Inhumanity, The Anthropocene Extinction), and Sulphur Aeon (Gateway to the Antisphere, The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos).

But, with the release of A Beacon In The Husk, out today via Profound Lore, there’s a very good chance that Abyssal – whose third album, Antikatastaseis, made an appearance on my 2015 list alongside several of the other records mentioned above – might just be joining them. Continue reading »

Jun 172019


(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of three posts we will publish in as many days about the recently completed Ascension Festival MMXIX, which took place in Mosfellsbær, Iceland, on June 13-15, 2019. These are Andy Synn‘s impressions of the event, and the next two are being written by Islander., who took the photos included here, unless otherwise noted)

As the title above indicates, I recently celebrated my birthday (all presents and donations will be graciously accepted), and this year decided to celebrate it in style by attending Ascension Festival in Iceland, where the brooding darkness and overall brilliance of the music was matched only by the brightness of the ever-present sunshine and the brilliance of the company.

So what you’re about to read is a few random thoughts about the experience which, while not totally comprehensive (although I made sure to see something of every band, I’ve decided only to write about the ones which really stood out), should hopefully convince one or two of you to join us at next year’s edition! Continue reading »

Jun 142019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the fantastic new album by the black metal band Idolatry from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada — which was released on May 31st via Humanity’s Plague Production.)

One of my favourite discoveries of the last several weeks was this little blackened gem from Canadian chaos-weavers Idolatry, which by turns brings to mind the very best of Inquisition and Necrophobic (with maybe even a little bit of Emperor thrown in for good measure) without sounding overly in thrall to, or derivative of, any of them.

And while they may not be doing much to truly break the mould, there’s definitely something to be said for finding your evolutionary niche and filling it to perfection… and, in that respect, Idolatry are well on their way to becoming an apex predator in their own right. Continue reading »

Jun 132019


(Andy Synn wrote this review of the new album by the Floridian death metal wrecking crew NEKROÍ THEOÍ, which was recently released by Prosthetic Records.)

Last week was a surprisingly busy week for new releases, which is why you’ll probably notice that I’ve dedicated all of this week (and possibly a big chunk of the next) to catching up on some of the artists/albums which we missed.

You’ll (hopefully) already have cast your beady eyes over my review of the new Enthroned album, and now it’s time to turn your attention to this stomp-happy slab of deathly delights from Nekroi Theoi. Continue reading »

Jun 102019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by the Belgian black metal band Enthroned, which was releasd by Season of Mist on Friday, June 7.)

The human brain works in some funny ways (well, mine does anyway).

Conditioned as it is, by thousands upon thousands of years of evolution, to discern patterns in the surrounding world, sometimes it makes unconscious connections between things which the conscious mind would never have thought to put together.

For instance, ever since receiving the promo for Cold Black Suns I’ve been unable to shake this idea that, on a certain level, Enthroned have a lot in common with Sepultura.

Not musically of course – the two bands could hardly be more different – but it’s undeniable that the careers of both groups are defined/delineated by two distinct phases, each with their respective fans and detractors, and that the split between the two eras can, in simple (and far from comprehensive) terms be put down to a dramatic change in vocalist/frontman.

The difference, however, is that while latter-day Sepultura has proven rather divisive and uneven over the years (though not without its high points), the modern version of Enthroned have only gone from strength to strength, to the point where it seems like a majority of the band’s fans now recognise their current incarnation as the definitive one. Continue reading »

Jun 032019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Panzerfaust from Toronto, Ontario, which will be released on June 14th by Eisenwald.)

So Summer is officially here. The sun is shining, the days have grown longer, and even the nights are balmy and mild.

But, of course, if sunshine and good times aren’t your thing then the music world still offers more than enough sonic darkness to satisfy your cravings for all things bleak and blackened… which, in this particular case, includes the phenomenal fourth album from Canadian extremists Panzerfaust. Continue reading »

May 312019


(The subject of Andy Synn‘s REPORT for the month of May 2019 is the discography of the Australian band Encircling Sea.)

Recommended for fans of: Downfall of Gaia, Cult of Luna, Wolves In The Throne Room

Australian three-piece Encircling Sea are a band I’ve been itching to write about for what seems like forever, yet it’s always seemed like life has had other plans and other priorities which have prevented me from doing so.

Recently however my urge to cover the group’s music has ramped up considerably, largely because 2018’s Hearken was one of my favourite albums of the year, and helped reignite/reinvigorate my passion for their entire back catalogue.

Splitting the difference between the more atmospheric end of the Black Metal spectrum (think Wolves In The Throne Room, Agalloch, etc) and the heaving Post-Metal of ISIS and their ilk, the group’s sound also incorporates some hefty Doom and Sludge influences, as well as a dash of somber Neo-Folk, in a way that captures both the vastness and elemental grandeur of the band’s homeland in majestic musical form. Continue reading »

May 292019


(We missed our usual Sunday appointment for the SHADES OF BLACK column, but Andy Synn has stepped in to fill that void with this selection of new releases from the black realms.)

Even though we’ve just come off several days of relative quiet here at NCS (due mostly to a certain Deathfest) we’re already at risk of entering another quiet period as Islander (and various others) gets drawn into the day-to-day running of this year’s edition of Northwest Terror Fest.

However, as luck would have it, I’ve got a massive backlog of artists/albums I’ve been meaning to cover, and so have promised that I’ll deliver something new every day this week so that he doesn’t need to worry about juggling both NCS and NWTF at the same time.

So to kick things off I’ve decided to publish my own version of “Shades of Black” to make up for the lack of one this weekend, featuring short reviews of a bunch of bands, taking in a mix of well-known and (reasonably) obscure names, beginning with… Continue reading »