Sep 252019


(This is Andy Synn‘s review of the new album by Germany’s Cranial, which will be released on September 27th by Moment of Collapse.)

It’s either an incredibly ballsy, or completely coincidental, move for German sludgemongers Cranial to put out Alternate Endings just one week after Post-Metal titans Cult of Luna released their new, long-awaited album, A Dawn to Fear.

After all, there’s only so much time, money, and mental energy available to potential listeners, and big releases like ADtF do tend to monopolise people’s attention for a long time both before and after they come out (heck, this is exactly why you often see movies getting pushed back or bumped up… no-one wants to go up against Star Wars at the box office unless they really have to after all!).

I’m inclined to think that it was a purposeful move by the Bavarian quartet though, as not only did they explicitly select CoL’s Magnus Lindberg to master their new record, but each of the four songs presented here is written and performed with such brash, bullish confidence that I can’t imagine any of the members of Cranial were at all worried about being compared to their Swedish brethren! Continue reading »

Aug 072019


The music of Cranial is primeval. It connects with elemental aspects of humankind that stretch back tens of millennia, to some unrecorded time when our ancestors had barely formed the rudiments of speech but stomped and writhed about the bonfires they had learned to make, the only accompaniment to their howling rites the pounding of stone on stone and the rhythms of the hammering blood in their veins. But cast in more modern forms, the creations of Cranial become demolition machines, vastly more powerful and destructive than their primal antecedents, yet still rooted in the sensations or fear and exultation that have always been intrinsic to our species, the fear of death, the defiance of living.

If you think that opening paragraph sounds hyperbolic, then listen to “Faint Voice” and decide for yourselves. Those of you who have encountered this German band’s previous releases won’t need convincing, and can simply revel in these 12 1/2 extravagant minutes. Newcomers might need a bit of preparation, which of course we’re happy to provide. The preparation begins by advising you not to be misled by the title of this song, which will appear on Cranial’s second album, Alternate Endings. There is a reason for the title, but there is almost nothing faint about the music. Continue reading »

Apr 072017


(We bring you a trio of reviews by Andy Synn, with full album streams of the music. The focus is on Cranial, Fjoergyn, and Grand Old Wrath.)


I shouldn’t have to remind you that our Germanic brothers and sisters are absolutely killing it at the moment. Heck, I already have four other albums, and an EP, lined up to review in the near future, and there’s still most of the year left to go!

But, before then, how about you click on through and check out my latest three recommendations, a mix of crushing Post-Metal, blackened avant-garde extravagance, and toothsome Teutonic Tech Death. Continue reading »

Jan 102017


I have a large collection of new songs I want to share with you, large enough that I’ve divided it into two parts. The second part (coming tomorrow) will be even longer than this one, especially because the odds are high that by the time I write it, more good new things will have surfaced that I’ll want to add.


In 2015 the German band Cranial made their debut with an EP named Dead Ends released by Moment of Collapse Records. The release initially drew attention because Cranial’s line-up includes connections to the late, lamented Omega Massif through the presence of guitarist Michael Melchers. And then it drew more attention because of the impressive quality of the music.

On February 10, Moment of Collapse will release Cranial’s new album Dark Towers, Bright Lights, and yesterday brought the debut of an immense advance track that we’re now able to bring you right here. Continue reading »