Aug 312019
 

 

(For this week’s edition of Andy Synn‘s column devoted to lyrics in metal he posed questions to Paulus Kressman (Rites of Thy Degringolade), and obtained very illuminating answers, as you shall see.)

As much as I hope you all enjoy the information and insight offered by these articles, I have to admit, there’s a certain amount of self-interest involved too, as the work of putting some extra focus on this underappreciated aspect of the metallic arts grants me an opportunity to talk to some of my favourite bands/artists and to (hopefully) gain a deeper understanding of their music.

Case in point, I was recently able to speak with Paulus Kressman, the founder and prime creative force of Canadian Black/Death esotericists Rites of Thy Degringolade – a band whose work I’ve followed and supported for years and whose most recent record, last year’s phenomenal The Blade Philosophical, was one of my favourite albums of 2018 – about the process and philosophy behind his arcane and abrasive art.

Not only was he more than happy to oblige, but his in-depth responses have given me an even deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the band’s entire discography.

So, without further ado, I present to you the latest edition of Waxing Lyrical. Continue reading »

Aug 302019
 

 

(In this August edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn writes of all the albums released by the California band Wrvth, including a review of their most recent album, No Rising Sun, released on August 23rd by Unique Leader Records.)

Recommended for fans of: Fallujah, The Faceless, Bosse-De-Nage

It’s always sad to see a band hanging up their boots just as it seems like they’re hitting their stride. Such is the case with Californian Technical/Progressive/Post-Death Metal crew Wrvth (pronounced “Wrath”, not “Ruth”) who released their fourth and final (and finest) album just last week, before all going their own separate ways.

Beginning life as a much more straightforward Technical Death/core group and operating under the lengthier sobriquet of Wrath of Vesuvius, it wasn’t until 2015, when the band changed their name, upgraded their sound, and released their career-redefining eponymous album, that they really came into their own, having developed a new approach that was simultaneously both atmospheric and aggressive, chaotic and cathartic, ambient yet angular, and which they would go on to refine to near perfection on this year’s No Rising Sun. Continue reading »

Aug 282019
 

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Dissentient from Ottawa, Canada, which was released on August 23rd.)

It’s very easy these days to become jaded and cynical when one is confronted by the sheer amount of music out there, much (if not most) of which offers only the slightest variation on the same old tired themes.

It sometimes seems that, instead of the proposed “infinite variety, in infinite combinations” which the future once promised, we are instead assailed by an endless array of copycats and sound-alikes whose entire purpose seems to be simply regurgitating things we’ve already heard in ever more dumbed-down and easily digestible forms stripped of all their subtlety and nuance.

But, every once in a while, if you’re very lucky (or very persistent), you stumble across an album which reminds you that, sometimes, all it takes is a slight tweak, or a slightly different perspective, to make something otherwise familiar feel utterly vital and vibrant once again.

Thus, Dissentient. Continue reading »

Aug 272019
 

 

(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Sweden’s Entombed A.D., which will be released on August 30 by Century Media.)

There are a LOT of albums being released this week, from underground underdogs like Witch Vomit to mainstream monsters like Tool.

But, what with time being both limited and linear, we’re unlikely to be able to cover everything in the next few days, which means some difficult choices need to be made.

If there’s one album I wasn’t going to let pass by without comment though, it’s the new Entombed.

You’ll note that I said “Entombed” and not “Entombed A.D.” there because, despite all the ongoing legal shenanigans, I still consider this version of the band to be the legitimate one.

Put it like this, you don’t get to leave a band and then decide to reclaim the name later on (in some cases decades later) just because someone offered you some of that sweet, sweet reunion money.

Of course, you may not agree with me on that, which is your prerogative. But, after listening to Bowels of Earth you might just change your tune… Continue reading »

Aug 242019
 


photo by Joe Ellis

 

(In this latest edition of his Waxing Lyrical series, Andy Synn posed questions to vocalist Laura Nichol of Light This City, whose comeback album Terminal Bloom was released last year by Creator-Destructor Records, and received the following answers.)

My relationship (such as it is) with Californian Melodeath crew Light This City goes back almost fifteen years now, and their 2006 record, Facing the Thousand, remains one of my go-to albums to this day.

Sadly, as many of you will know, the band went inactive for nearly a full decade after the release of Stormchaser in 2008, leaving behind them a trail of broken hearts and shattered dreams (as well as a bunch of kickass music).

Thankfully for all of us, however, last year’s comeback album, Terminal Bloom, wasn’t just a long-awaited return for the band, it also happens to be one of their best releases to date, which is why I’m so excited to be bringing some more attention to it, and the band in general, via this piece from LTC vocalist Laura Nichol. Continue reading »

Aug 232019
 


Blackhelm

 

(Andy Synn wrote the following collection of six reviews.)

So it’s almost September, and the last third of the year already looks packed to the gills with new releases, both big and small (and that’s just the ones I know about).

Looking backwards is, if possible, even worse, with the list of bands/albums we haven’t been able to cover here at NCS having become so long I can’t even see the other end of it.

And, again, that’s just the albums we KNOW we’ve missed!

Truly, there’s just too much music to properly keep track of it all.

But that’s not going to stop us/me trying, obviously, so here’s a few words about half-a-dozen recent (or recent-ish) releases, running the gamut from some (relatively) big names to some underexposed underground acts. Continue reading »

Aug 222019
 

 

(Andy Synn wrote this review of an album released in May, with cover art by Par Olofsson.)

There are lots of reasons why, logically speaking, I should hate Vancouver B.C. sextet God Said Kill.

They’ve got two singers (one of whom is entirely superfluous as far as I can tell, as there’s nothing here that requires two full-time vocalists), their bio reads like it was written by someone who googled a few smart-sounding words without fully understanding them, and their entire image (up to and including their embarrassingly bad music videos) feels like the band are simultaneously trying too hard, and yet not really trying hard enough, resulting in an overall aesthetic that’s not just weirdly inconsistent but which actively makes it hard to take the band completely seriously.

In fact I’m still not entirely convinced that the entire project wasn’t originally conceived as a bit of a joke, only for everyone involved to realise part way through that they were actually pretty good, so should probably think about getting serious.

And there’s the rub… despite everything I’ve pointed out above, God Said Kill are actually capable of being pretty damn good when they want to be. Continue reading »

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 »