Aug 112014

(Andy Synn wrote this remembrance of Tristessa, of the Greek metal band Astarte.)

Sad news my friends. Yesterday I learned that Astarte frontwoman Tristessa (aka Maria Kolokouri) passed away due to complications suffered while fighting off Leukaemia. Not only was her wonderful life tragically cut short, but she also leaves behind a husband and young son… and I cannot begin to imagine what they must be going through. My heart goes out to them for their loss.

I’d been following Maria’s battle via the Astarte Facebook page, and her husband’s occasional updates, and had been hopeful she would be able to pull through, because I have been a huge fan of hers (and of Astarte) for a long time now. Indeed  we’re coming up on the 50th edition of The Synn Report (not even counting special editions) and it was Astarte who I chose to cover for the very first edition, way back in January 2011.

Here’s how I described them back then:

With a consistently changing line-up, the primarily female band Astarte began life as a purely Black Metal band, albeit one with an ear for a distinctive and dark melody.

“Over the years they have metamorphosed into a more Black/Death hybrid of a band, shedding and recruiting numerous different members along the way, but each time progressing and improving upon their own sound. They have in the past ten years gained a cult following of their own, whilst also gaining the patronage and friendship of some of the larger leading lights of the international Black and Death metal scenes. Guest slots from members of Rotting ChristDimmu BorgirGod DethronedArch Enemy and Mayhem have all served to cement them as a band to be taken seriously on the world stage, although their overall lack of exposure (coupled with their inconsistent line-up issues) has yet to provide them with that all-important break-out opportunity.

In hindsight I think it holds up pretty well. So, in tribute to Tristessa, I’ve asked Islander to reprint the original Synn Report below, in the hope that more people will be drawn in to appreciate the scintillating blackened art of Astarte. Continue reading »

Jan 142014

(Andy Synn provides this update on three bands who have been the subject of previous editions of THE SYNN REPORT.)

While I’m busy putting together the first “proper” Synn Report of 2014 (it’s coming together and I guarantee you’re going to love it) I suppose I should take the opportunity to check back in on some of our previous alumni and update you all as to what’s been going on!

To make it easy for you this one’s in alphabetical order, A, B, and C, because I know you people have trouble with anything more complex than that!


First, and most importantly, it was revealed just before the new year that Astarte mastermind Tristessa was gravely ill in hospital with a form of leukaemia. This was of course terrible for her and her family, and the outpouring of support from her fans did little to assuage the dark cloud hanging over the whole situation.

Thankfully a few days ago the following post appeared on the band’s Facebook page which, while not a complete about-turn, certainly gives us all more cause for hope: Continue reading »

Nov 192013

(In this post, Andy Synn provides updates about five bands who have been the subject of past SYNN REPORTS (and one “proto Synn Report”): Martriden, Astarte, Anata, V.A.S.T., and Persefone.)

Wow, it’s been almost two months since the last edition of The Synn Report! Where does the time go?

In the intervening time I’ve been very busy, both with work, band stuff, and my personal life (yes, I do have one outside the site… erm, kind of…), and simply haven’t had chance to settle down and get to work on things in the more in-depth way that The Synn Report requires of me!

Don’t worry though, a new edition, with an all-new band, is on its way. In the meantime, I thought we might as well check in with a few updates from those bands we’ve featured here in the past. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

(NCS writer Andy Synn pauses after the 30th installment of THE SYNN REPORT to take a look back at the first two years of the series.)

Ok, so we’ve now had 30 ‘official’ entries in The Synn Report. I hope that a good number of you have discovered new bands and gone out and shown your support for them, buying music, merch, gig tickets, etc.

I thought, since the year (and the world!!!) is coming to an end, it might be a good time to provide a quick one-stop summation of all the previous entries, for those of you who maybe missed a couple, or for new devotees of the site who have yet to encounter the earlier editions and the bands contained therein.

Did you know that the genesis for The Synn Report was not entirely down to me? There’s a post that I consider ‘The Synn Report: Year Zero” which was written by Islander himself, in response to my recommendation of a particular band. That post is included here, as I think it’s an important foundation stone in the genesis of The Synn Report, and because I think the band in question are utterly phenomenal.

So there we go, after the jump there’s a tiny entry on each band from each edition of The Synn Report, with a short genre description and a re-iteration of the “Recommended for fans of:” section. Which ones did you miss? Which ones should you give another shot to? Click each one to be linked to the appropriate article, where you’ll find the full write-ups and sample songs from each release! Continue reading »

Jan 072011

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the debut of a new column which Islander has kindly allowed me to write and display here at NoCleanSinging.

Each week (ok, whenever I get round to it, they may not be weekly – or they may be more frequent, we’ll see) I’m going to be providing an introduction, a retrospective, or simply a re-consideration of  a band which I feel merits the treatment. Certain bands will be more well known than others, and primarily these bands will be part of THE SYNN REPORT simply because I feel that with all the bullshit media hype in the world, the band in question has been perhaps judged unfairly due to the influence of matters non-musical. Certain bands, however, you may not have heard of before at all, as although I do not consider myself a paragon of underground taste, there is only so much time each of us can devote to finding new music and really exploring it. Hopefully this column will help a little!

Each column will deal with a single musical entity, considering their works and progression in turn. Certain columns will be dedicated perhaps simply to eras in a band’s career and progression, considering and evaluating changes in style and direction with the benefit of hindsight and (hopefully) critical objectivity. Although that probably won’t last very long!

Anyway, for my first column I would like to introduce you to the Greek band ASTARTE (more after the jump, including sample songs from the band’s discography . . .) Continue reading »