Jun 172021

(Andy Synn sticks his head above the parapet once more to let you all know about three of the best British albums of the last few months)

I honestly can’t remember the last time I did one of these “Best of British” articles. In fact, this might very well be the first one of 2021 (or, at least, the first one dedicated to full-length albums).

That’s not because these fair and fertile isles have suddenly gone barren – the new Osiah, for example, is a brutal, if not exactly boundary-pushing, slab of uber-aggressive Deathcore, while the debut record from Epiphanic Truth was/is a welcome shot of strangeness – but, for whatever reason, I’ve been finding myself more drawn towards artists and albums from beyond the borders of these green and “pleasant” lands.

Rest assured, however, I’ve still been keeping my ear to the ground, so to speak, and finally found the time (and the impetus) to write about three truly excellent examples of “The Best of British” in the form of the new albums from Atvm, Boss Keloid, and Code.

Continue reading »

Mar 282021


We had a rare Sunday premiere earlier today, but fret not, Shades of Black has not been forgotten.

I enjoyed figuring out how to arrange the music I picked for today. The music of the first three bands seemed to complement each other, so I started there — and then made a hair-pin turn in the road with the full album stream that follows them. And, given how chilling and unearthly that album sounds, I decided to follow it with a couple of tracks that will give your adrenaline levels a sharp kick in the ass.


As usual, I owe some of today’s picks to reliably tasteful friends. I would have eventually discovered this first one on my own, but listened to it a lot faster because of the enthusiastic message I received from Rennie (starkweather). He called this new song by Code “fantastic”, and possibly his “favorite song of theirs since the first album’s ‘Brass Dogs.'” Continue reading »

Oct 182017

< code >


It occurred to me that the tag I came up with for these round-ups of new tracks — “Random Fucking Music” — could be misconstrued. The idea wasn’t that this would be random music you could actually fuck to, although I guess you could fuck to some of it if you were like certain members of the non-human animal kingdom who pound away in a frenzy for a few minutes (or less) and then go off to find more food or take a shit, leaving the female of the species looking either confused or bored and wondering, “Is it in yet?”

Yeah, don’t remind me, I know human males do that too. I guess maybe an album-length funeral doom track could provide some reciprocal coital benefits, but I assume most people like to shift into a higher gear at some point, except for those who pass out somewhere along the way. I’ve never seen a sloth have sex. Might be worth investigating. Continue reading »

Dec 092016



I’ve been immersed in compiling LISTMANIA features the last few days, but at the same time I’ve been noticing the appearance of new songs, many of them from albums headed our way in the new year. I’ve rounded up 9 of them here that I’ve enjoyed, with a range of metallic styles. I organized them sort of like a bell curve, with things starting hard and then getting more melodic in the middle, and then descending again into increasing ugliness and violence by the end.

Also, serious question: Should I divide collections of this length into smaller parts and spread them out over the day? Or does it matter?


I’m afraid that if I googled “lock up” these days, I’d get stories about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The world obviously needs to grind again, and the real Lock Up is here to help us do that. Continue reading »

Apr 112016



(In the 71st edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Code.)

Recommended for fans of: Borknagar, Ihsahn, Leprous

For whatever reason I’ve decided to stick close to home again for this edition of The Synn Report, following up the beefy Death Metal of Dyscarnate with the category defying, blackened-prog vibes of the legendary Code.

Though originally a joint venture between members from Norway and the UK, with strong ties to such groups as Ulver, Dodheimsgard, Indesinence, Season’s End, etc, the current incarnation of the band is an entirely British affair.

However, despite the many changes in the band’s line-up, and the ever-changing, ever-evolving nature of their sound, there remains an undeniable and intangible thread of identity and continuity within their music, running all the way from the very first track of their debut, Nouveau Gloaming, to the final climactic notes of last year’s phenomenal and shamelessly progressive mut. Continue reading »

Jun 262015


(Andy Synn delivers another long-overdue installment in his irregular series of album reviews in haiku. Two more reviews come after the jump. With music, of course.)

Wow, so, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s been almost a year since I did one of these?

How time flies when you’re having… fun…



Shot through the heart. Pink

Floyd’s to blame. Norwegian prog

Has a damn good name Continue reading »

Dec 112014


I’m really backlogged in listening to new music, and the list of things worth checking out grows on a daily basis. Last night I did manage to sift through part of my collection of enticing links and found this quintet of tracks that I thought were worth throwing your way. Diversity is again the organizing principle.


The UK’s Ethereal, about whom we’ve written frequently in the past, have been signed by Candlelight Records, and the first release for their new label will be an album entitled Opus Aethereum (due in February 2015). The very cool cover art for the album is above and was rendered by Tripple Seis Design.

But the first song in this collection isn’t from the new album. It’s a cover of Darkthrone’s “Fucked Up and Ready To Die” from 2003’s Hate Them. Ethereal recorded it for a Darkthrone tribute album named One Cold Night In Norway, which will be released as a free download through Speed Slaughter Productions on December 13. Ethereal recently uploaded their cover to YouTube, and it’s excellent — dark, ravenous, brooding in its atmospherics, heavy as granite yet ghostly in its void-faring journey — and ultimately a swarming assault on the senses. Continue reading »

Nov 192013

(We hit the trifecta in this post — BadWolf provides an overview of the new album by <code>, an interview of the band’s guitarist/songwriter Aort, and a full stream of the album.)

Augur Nox, the new album by international outfit <code>, is a gift—as in, I was not expecting it, and 2013’s crop of albums is richer for it.

The last time <code> released an album, 2009’s excellent Resplendent Grotesque, it was up for a Spellemann award (Norway’s equivalent to a Grammy), and rightfully so: That record is a roller coaster of dark moods and powerful guitar work, one that pushed the boundaries of what I considered “normal” for a progressive black metal album at that time.

And then, nothing. <code> parted ways with vocalist Khovst, who has a particular talent for high-pitched screeches as well as super-creepy clean singing. Khvost has gone on to work with many other not-particularly-metal-but-still-super-creepy projects, such as folk outfit Hexvessel, and goth rock band Beastmilk (the new Beastmilk LP is pretty fun, as well).

As for Aort… not a peep. Apparently he spent that time searching for a vocalist who could actually compete with Khvost, as well as writing the material that would become Augur Nox. The wait seems to have paid off—the new <code> frontman, Wacian, suits the band perfectly. Continue reading »