Sep 072017


This will be a very busy day at our site. We’ve posted one review already, we have another one coming, and we have four (!) very good premieres lined up. But thanks to DGR, we also have a brief round-up of new songs and videos that have recently appeared elsewhere — to which I’ve added one news item at the front end, one wisely suggested by my comrade Mr. Synn. So, you’ll have to tolerate a bit of my verbiage for the first item, and then I’ll turn you over to the words and selections of DGR.


This has been a banner year for metal album covers, and Berlin-based Eliran Kantor has been responsible for many of the best ones, including the one above, which accompanies a new album by the Norwegian progressive metal band Communic. And the fact that we will have a new Communic album this year is itself very welcome news.

The name of the album is Where Echoes Gather, and it will be released on October 27 by the band’s new label, AFM Records, following four previous albums released by Nuclear Blast. 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 »

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 »

May 102012

My personal listening prejudices are spread in big spiky letters across the top of every NCS page. I’m not here to defend them, because I know it’s a matter of personal taste. It’s simply a fact: I just really and truly prefer not to have much, if any, clean singing in metal.

But at this site we do have Exceptions to the Rule. Some of our other writers invoke Exceptions because sometimes they genuinely enjoy the clean singing found on some albums. I usually invoke it when I like everything else about the music, and the everything else is so strong that it outweighs the vocals. That was my reaction when I saw and heard the new video that Norway’s Communic released today.

The song is “Facing Tomorrow”, and it appears on the band’s 2011 album The Bottom Deep. Andy Synn reviewed the album here, and he made Communic the subject of a SYNN REPORT here. I’ve heard the song once before, back when Andy reviewed the album, but I don’t think I had the volume turned loud enough back then. I really cranked the mother up when watching the video this time.

I would be plenty happy with this song if it consisted of nothing more than the intro and the finish, because the riffage and the drummage are stupendous — pulverizing, physically compelling, and heavier than a truckload of paving stones. Continue reading »

Aug 082011

(Andy Synn follows his SYNN REPORT on the discography of Norway’s Communic (located here) with this review of the band’s brand new album.)

After several listens, my impression is that The Bottom Deep is an overall darker affair than we have seen before from Communic. The progression from Payment Of Existence has seen the group shift their focus slightly from their characteristically expressive melodic nuances to a pressurised, gloomier form of morose and self-absorbed introspection. The songs have a doom-laden vibe that matches the enigmatic concept which underpins the record. The ever-present and insidious synths have taken on a far darker tone, working for the band as yet another tool with which they can mine the rich seam of deep-seated personal tragedy which fits the conceptually-bound constraints of the album perfectly.

Facing Tomorrow” begins the record in striking style, inflicting heavy damage with a wall of guitars that bears remorselessly down upon the listener from the off. Cryptic and convoluted, the song bulges at the seams with ferocious metallic power, the sheer meatiness of the guitar tone giving every power-house riff and nimble scattering of lead notes a sense of prodigious potency that, coupled with Tor Atle Andersen’s display of manic, multi-limbed drumming, provides each song with a dense, unshakeable foundation.

Singer Oddleif Stensland has altered his vocal style subtly, delivering his abstract lyrics with a more resonant croon, deeper and more constrained than before. His grittier delivery adds another string to his bow, not yet as strong as his traditional mode of singing, but showcasing the man attempting to grow and develop the use of his instrument further. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »

Aug 052011

(Time for another SYNN REPORT. Today, Andy looks back at the discography of Norway’s Communic, and on Monday we’ll have his review of the band’s brand new album, “The Bottom Deep”.)

Hailing from Kristiansand, Norway, yet bucking the common trends one associates with Norwegian music – no rotten, corpse-painted fury or leather-clad, aggressive sleaze to be found here – prog-metal 3-piece Communic pursue a huge, multi-faceted sound that takes in recognisable elements from a multiplicity of metal sub-genres, swallowing up thrashy rhythms, soaring vocals, labyrinthine song structures, adaptable string-work and elaborate, eloquent drumming, melting them down to their constituents in order to re-forge them anew into a whole far greater than the mere sum of the parts.

Each of the three members is a vital component in crafting the complex and convoluted mini-epics which make up Communic’s various records; Tor Atle Andersen’s drums are a sheer delight to experience, over and over again playing subtle rhythmic shifts off against pounding artillery fire, Erik Mortensen’s flowing, liquid bass lines adding both depth and power in equal measure, while frontman Oddleif Stensland draws from a seemingly bottomless well of scything riffs and piercing, emotional solos. The way these three individuals play off one another is mesmerising, creating a vast soundscape of progressive instrumentalism one second, locking into a devastating metallic groove the next. The breadth of their sound and the sheer array of sonic textures they are able to conjure is a testament both to their striking individual personalities and to their collective focus and the musical identity they have built.

For all their soaring, epic compositions, the band are careful to maintain a strong foundation of armour-plated riffs which make their layered, expansive sound a legitimately heavy concern. At times soft and soothing, at others hard and pounding, these Norwegian progsters have perfected a precise balance between melancholy clarity and crushing power that serves as a perfect foil to their dark, often wilfully complex, subject matter. (more after the jump, including tracks to stream from each album . . .) Continue reading »

Feb 272011

We’re jumping the gun on this post, since the month doesn’t end until tomorrow. Why? Uh, because this post is ready to go and we don’t have anything else finished for today yet. Work and other shit interfered with our grand plans for a Sunday post.  We might still get another one up later today, but for now, feast your eyes on the barrage of metal headed our direction.

What we do with these installments of METAL IN THE FORGE is collect news blurbs and press releases we’ve seen over the last 30 days (or in this case, the last 27 days) about forthcoming new albums from bands we know and like (including updates about releases we’ve included in previous installments of this series), or from bands that look interesting, even though we don’t know them yet. And in this post, we cut and paste the announcements and compile them in alphabetical order.

This isn’t a cumulative list, so be sure to check the Category link called “Forthcoming New Albums” on the right side of this page to see forecasted releases we reported in previous installments. This month’s list begins right after the jump. Look for your favorite bands, or get intrigued about some new ones. There’s some awesome shit on the way. Continue reading »