Dec 282023

(Andy Synn delivers one final retrospective on albums from 2023 you may have overlooked)

Hey everyone, I’m back, feeling fully refreshed and ready to rumble after my week (and a bit) hiatus.

Before I get fully stuck into 2024’s upcoming slate of releases I’ve got two more pieces for 2023 for you all to enjoy – namely my last Synn Report of the year (coming on Friday) and this extra-big edition of “Things You May Have Missed”.

Now unlike previous editions, this one won’t just be focussing on albums from the last month (though there’s seven – I think – albums from December featured here) but will also take a look back at certain albums from the past year that I either didn’t get the chance to cover at the time, didn’t discover until much later, or just wanted to highlight one more time for people to check out.

Of course, even so there’s more artists and albums I wanted to include than I had space or time for – so I’d urge you, if you have any extra time, to check out the new Moonreich (which almost made my “Personal Top Ten“, Rosa Faenskap (which did) and Witch Ripper (which I know was on my “Critical Top Ten“, but still seems to have flown under a few radars) – but first, feel free to go through everything I’ve featured here (which I’ve broken up into separate sub-categories) and check out a few things you may have missed!

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Jul 012023

Recommended for fans of: Akercocke, Imperial Triumphant, Abyssal

With another month having now come and gone it is – inevitably – time for another edition of The Synn Report.

And with Baltimore-based blast-beatniks Genevieve having just dropped their long-awaited new album last week… well, there was simply no question that this month was going to be all about them and their ambitious brand of unpredictable, avant-garde extremity.

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Nov 172017


I didn’t do a very good job keeping up with e-mails or occurrences in the interhole the last few days, so I crawled through those fetid swamps last night and came up with a big list of intriguing new songs and videos to add to my previous big list. And then I began exploring what I found. I have a little time this morning to round-up a few of the good things I discovered in my listening, with more to come soon.

I have to fly to Texas this morning (for a high school reunion rather than my fucking day job), but I do plan to finish a further SEEN AND HEARD for Saturday. And unless the reunion crushes too many brain cells (or my soul), there will be a SHADES OF BLACK feature on Sunday before I fly home.


This first item will be regrettably brief — regrettable only in the sense that I have failed to write a review of the new Aosoth album prior to its full streaming debut, which happened yesterday. And so all I can do now (and maybe ever) is to give you a strong push to listen to V: The Inside Scriptures as soon as you can. You won’t regret that decision. The stream is below; the album is being released today (November 17). Continue reading »

Oct 172017


Two years have passed since the debut of Genevieve’s scathing debut album Escapism, and in connection with its release we premiered not only one of the first singles but also the album as a whole, which our Austin Weber described as “an invitation of nightmares and horror into our world”, “pitch-black and haunting”, a display of “immense hatred and chaos”, but also a record laced with surprises and overall “quite striking and brilliant” in its unconventional strategies.

Two years on, and Grimoire Records is gearing up to release the second full-length by this Maryland collective. Entitled Regressionism, it’s set for detonation on Black Friday, November 24, and we again find ourselves in the fortunate position of presenting a first taste of the new music, in the form of a harrowing experimental track named “No For An Answer“. Continue reading »

Sep 272016



(Last year we were fortunate to bring you a report from Kaptain Carbon on the first annual Shadow Woods Metal Festival , and now we are fortunate to welcome him back with his report on the second edition of the festival, which took place on September 15-18, 2016, in the vicinity of White Hall, Maryland. He also took the photos that you’ll see in this post. Kaptain Carbon operates Tape Wyrm, a blog dedicated to current and lesser-known heavy metal. He also writes Dungeon Synth reviews over at Hollywood Metal as well as moderating Reddit’s r/metal community.)

The Shadow Woods’ second event is an important step for a festival still attempting to set its roots and find an identity. Held in the woods of upper county Baltimore, Shadow Woods caters to a diverse array of acts, but with a concentration on extreme metal. With a festival’s life this young, its future is always in jeopardy and dependent on press, attendance, and overall happiness of its guests. There was some speculation and conjecture whether or not Shadow Woods would even have a second gathering. This was further jeopardized with the ongoing drama of alcohol licensing and the looming calculations of cost versus return.

By the time the campfire of the second night was winding down and shrieks were heard throughout the woods, immediately swallowed by hideous laughter, the number of people who attended this year were convinced that this may be a thing to do every year. Continue reading »

Oct 162015



(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of the scathing new album by Maryland’s Genevieve.)

By definition, escapism denotes an activity or fantasy used to distract us from our daily pain and boredom. So when Maryland-based black/death act Genevieve decided to call their record Escapism, it seems to have been used here more like the opposite of what the word means — as if its use here instead actually represents an invitation of nightmares and horror into their world as opposed to hiding in positive forms of escapism. I get the sense that with music as pitch-black and haunting as Genevieve’s, this reversal of the term’s meaning was done purposefully.

For all the immense hatred and chaos on display in their music, Genevieve do take time to offer reprieves from the chaotic storm bearing down upon listeners, in the form of sparse instrumentals called “Paradise I” and “Paradise II”, which open and close the record. Both are built upon Middle Eastern-sounding melodies and played with a slow, restrained feel, although “Parasite II” reveals a more drone-influenced soundscape overall, one that that creates a sense of mystery as it closes the intense journey that Escapism has taken you on. Continue reading »

Sep 112015



(Austin Weber introduces our premiere of a song from the new album by Maryland’s Genevieve, coming soon from Grimoire Records.)

Much like Dark Descent, Grimoire Records has really been on a fucking roll as of late. They’ve somehow managed to release several of my favorite records of the year. And it would seem from the press I’ve seen elsewhere for Dendritic Arbor, Bearstorm, and others that it’s not just our site that has been latching on to all the great things the label is doing. So with that being said, we are very proud to let you hear a song called “Charnel Flow”, the first song to drop from Grimoire’s next release, an album entitled Escapism by a Maryland group known as Genevieve.

Don’t let their innocent-sounding name fool you, because Genevieve’s music dwells in the very pits of despair and disgust. They traffic in a particularly dark blend of black and death metal that’s very noisey and stomach-churning. Listening to “Charnel Flow” brings to mind the warped riffing and unconventional nature of Portal in its death metal moments, which is intertwined with equally warped and odd black metal passages that remind me of the deliciously twisted black metal band Imperial Triumphant. Continue reading »