Mar 152021


(Andy Synn returns to the golden path to praise the new album from Dvne, out this Friday via Metal Blade)

As anyone who’s been following this site for more than a few years will be able to tell you, I absolutely love Asheran, the 2017 album from Scottish Post/Prog Metal prodigies Dvne.

Not only is it one of my favourite albums of all time, but it’s also one I legitimately consider to be among the best full-length records of the last decade (and I know quite a lot of our readers agree).

So when I found out that the band were not only working on a follow-up but had been snatched up by Metal Blade at the same time… well, as you can imagine my excitement levels went through the roof.

And now that the moment of its release is (almost) upon us, there’s just three questions about Etemen Ænka which need answering.

  1. Is it as good as (or even better than, if that’s possible) Asheran?
  2. Will it help the band reach a whole new audience and get them the attention and acclaim they deserve?
  3. Could it possibly, maybe, one day supplant its predecessor in my affections?

Well, the answers to those questions are, in order, “yes”, “I hope so”, and “only time will tell”…

Continue reading »

Jan 222021


It’s been another one of those weeks when a smorgasbord of distractions (did you hear we inaugurated a new President?) prevented me from doing much more at NCS than write up the premieres I’d agreed to do. As the days rolled on I noticed dozens of new songs and videos that I’m anxious to check out. I haven’t gotten to most of them; I guess I know how I’ll be spending this weekend. But I did seize on a few of them, and from those I picked the three included in this quick Friday round-up.


Yes, I suppose you could accuse me of nepotism with this first pick, given that our own Andy Synn fronts the band in question. But I’m just so thrilled for him and his band that I honestly haven’t given a second thought to my decision to lead off with this new song and video. And it’s not just that the song and video are so good, it’s also that the video premiered on the day of an announcement that Beyond Grace had signed to Prosthetic Records for the release of their next album. Continue reading »

Jan 182021



(As the title suggests, Andy Synn prepared the following list of some of the albums (though certainly not all of them) he’s eagerly awaiting in the coming year.)

Well, it happened, it’s now the third week of January and I’ve already fallen behind when it comes to reviewing new albums.

Honestly, I can think of at least five records from the last week or two that I really want to write about and that a big proportion of our readers would probably get a real kick out of… but instead of doing that I’m going to publish a list of some of my most anticipated new releases of the year still to come… because logical consistency and common sense were never my strong points.

Now, as it so happens the final version of the article you’re reading is slightly different from the first draft, as I managed to get a hold of new albums from Stortregn, Autarkh, and Suffering Hour while I was writing it, and since I’m definitely going to be writing about each of them in full at some point soon I decided to switch them out for three other selections instead.

Obviously this list is in no way comprehensive. There’s a lot more than ten artists/albums I’m really looking forward to hearing over the next twelve months But I’ve tried to purposefully avoid many of the bigger names in order to focus in on a bunch of bands who I personally love but whom many of our readers may not have been aware were going to be bringing something out this year. Continue reading »

Jul 212018


(Lyricist, guitarist, and co-vocalist Dan Barter of the Scottish band Dvne is the subject of this week’s edition of Andy Synn’s Waxing Lyrical series.)

The phenomenal Asheran, by Edinburgh Prog-Metal quartet Dvne, was, without doubt, one of the best, brightest, and most brilliant albums of 2017 (I even said so in my review), and the fact that it didn’t feature in more EOTY lists is perhaps the greatest injustice of the last decade…

All joking aside, it really is a fantastic piece of work, and one which immediately marked the group as one of the major up-and-comers of the UK scene.

So, in the hope of bringing the band’s music to a wider audience, and with the aim of learning more about the in-depth sci-fi concept(s) behind their sound, we’re pleased to publish this detailed feature from the band’s guitarist/co-vocalist Dan Barter for your edification and enjoyment. Continue reading »

Apr 202018


(Andy Synn returns to his irregular series devoted to things that come in five’s, the focus of this one being metal album art.)

The phrase “never judge a book by its cover” was obviously uttered by someone who’d never found themselves stranded in a busy bookshop and frozen by indecision over which of the many, many options to spend their hard-earned cash on.

Of course while I agree with the sentiment in principle – style is no substitute for substance after all, and a shiny package is no guarantee of superior contents – the truth is that human beings are very visual creatures, and an eye-catching cover, one which hints at the themes and manifest delights contained within, can be the difference between finding a new reader and being consigned to the bottom of the bargain bin at the end of the month.

The same obviously applies when we’re talking about albums too. Yes, the move towards a primarily digital market has had an impact on the means and methodology behind how new albums are accessed and presented (though apparently physical sales have been rebounding quite a bit recently), but the importance of good album art still shouldn’t be understated. Continue reading »

Aug 042017


(We present Andy Synn’s review of the new album by the Scottish band DVNE, released on July 28 by Wasted State Records.)

You know what really grinds my gears?

Seeing/hearing people bleat on about how “there’s just no good new music out there anymore”, when, in truth, it’s never been simpler or easier to find something that caters to your specific tastes.

It’s a particularly frustrating attitude when you consider that the discovery of new music, whether on purpose or by accident, can be one of life’s great joys, and seeing people make such sweeping, and ill-informed statements – blithely dismissing, through their own ignorance/arrogance the absolute wealth of impressive, imaginative, and downright inspiring artists and albums out there – just pisses me off no end.

Of course I can kind of understand it if you’re used to simply passively consuming whatever you’re spoonfed by tv or radio – there’s only so much of the same shit that you can swallow after all, and only so many times you can regurgitate the same pre-chewed “opinions” before you actually make yourself sick – but the fact remains that it only takes about five minutes these days to find something new and exciting online.

Heck, sometimes it’s not even that hard. Sometimes you just stumble upon something that blows you away entirely by accident. Like I did a few months ago when I came across DVNE. Continue reading »