Sep 132017


(Andy Synn provides his reactions to the new album by Gigan, which will be released on September 15 by Willowtip Records.)

Last year I wrote a column attempting to delineate the reason (or, more accurately) reasons, why I listen to Metal.

But some bands are so weird and wonderful, so damnably difficult to pin down, that they defy explanation.

So I can’t necessarily tell you WHY I like Gigan… only that I do.

And maybe, just maybe, you will too. Continue reading »

Jun 222017


That’s Jinx Dawson’s coffin up there, rising above the stage at Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle last Saturday night. Trust me, she was about as far from dead as you could get, but that’s where she was, inside that box when the lights came up. The crowd went crazy when she came out, and didn’t stop until a while after Coven finished their headlining set on the festival’s last night.

Someday soon I’ll write about the festival, and maybe a little about the chaotic experience of actually helping put on a festival instead of just watching the show. That’s a box I’ve now checked off on the bucket list, even though it wasn’t on my bucket list before the planning for NWTF began last year. As I think back on the experience, I’m lucky I didn’t kick the bucket before the weekend ended. Nevertheless, we’re doing it again next year, and perhaps I will emerge less exhausted, having learned a few things from the first outing, but probably not.

Anyway, since about the middle of last week I’ve had no time to compile a round-up, and am thankful to DGR for stepping into that breach not once but twice (even though he too helped out with the heavy lifting at NWTF). In the meantime, my list of new things to check out became typically overwhelming. To make the job of choosing somewhat easier, I’ve focused on more recent revelations, and perhaps will dig deeper into the last week or two in the coming days. So, let’s begin…. Continue reading »

Jun 172016

Gigan logo


(In this June edition of The Synn Report, Andy reviews the discography of Gigan.)

Recommended for fans of: Gorguts, Cephalic Carnage, Wormed

I try my best to keep things (relatively) fresh and exciting here at The Synn Report, and a big part of that is keeping things varied and different between editions. As such we’re taking a leap away from the monolithic fields of Post-Metal we explored with last month’s offering and jetting off into the bleed between dimensions in the company of Gigan and their mind-melting, brain-bending brand of calculated Tech-Death chaos.

Hailing from Chicago (by way, originally, of Tampa, Florida… something which potentially explains the undercurrent of semi-lucid lunacy present on every song), the three-piece clearly take a warped sense of pride in pushing Tech-Death into some truly weird and wonderful places, anchored by the unholy talents of multi-instrumental main-man Eric Hersemann, who not only handles 99% of the guitar-work across the band’s three albums, but also the bass, synths, theremin, and xylophone(!) to boot.

So, if you’re in a particularly masochistic mood, and fancy having your brain reduced to a quivering mass of over-cooked and over-stimulated neurons, then by all means, please click on… Continue reading »

Sep 262014


(Austin Weber witnessed the live performances of Artificial Brain, Pyrrhon, and Gigan in Covington, Kentucky, on September 24, 2014, and provides this report and a big collection of photos.)

With this tour, three of the brightest and best modern American death metal bands have united to present one of the best tour lineups of the year — one with no crappy/boring support bands, and with each bringing a defined and unique identity to the table. All three share a similar convention-denying approach and an out-of-the-box nature.

So I made the hour-and-a-half, each way, trek to Covington, KY, near Cincinnati, to take in this most marvelous show. While I have often had Nik Vechery accompany me and take photos, I was unable to line that up, so I took the pictures as well. A few are scattered throughout the review, and the rest are collected at the end.

Unfortunately, the camera I borrowed from my roommate I had never used before, and due to putting Gigan up for the night on the evening preceding the show, I had no time to mess with various photo settings, exposure settings, and the like. So, while shooting the show I had fun going nuts switching up the ISO settings and varying the exposure speed to trippy effect, although I didn’t get as many pictures of Artificial Brain as I would have liked.

Still, I think I got some wild shots that express the energy and insanity of the bands who played. I missed most of the opening band, whose name I did not catch, so I focused on shooting and covering the bands who were touring. I was pleasantly surprised that the sound for the small venue in question, Backstage Cafe, was excellent and perfectly captured the spirit and vitality of all the bands present. Continue reading »

Jul 262014

Happy goddamned Saturday to one and all. I’m in the middle of a mini-vacation with family and friends, which means I’ve spent more time over the last 24 hours making lists of new music to check out than actually listening or writing. But I hate to let a day go by without posting something at NCS (that’s happened on a grand total of 3 days since we started this site in November 2009), so here are a few quick things I’d like to recommend. With luck, I’ll have a few more to bring your way tomorrow.


As previously reported here, the Ukrainian black metal band Blood of Kingu (started by Roman Sayenko of Drudkh) will be releasing their third album via Season of Mist on September 2 in North America (and August 29 everywhere else). The title is Dark Star on the Right Horn of the Crescent Moon. Last month Terrorizer premiered the first advance track from the album — “Enshrined in the Nethermost Lairs Beneath the Oceans” — and a few days ago Metal Underground premiered a second track. Continue reading »

Mar 122014

(In this jumbo post Austin Weber puts the spotlight on recommended recent music from nine (9!) bands plus some tour news about a tenth.)

By now you know the drill, I’m going to throw a bunch of music your way and see if any of it sticks. While 2014 has seemed sort of slow, release-wise, so far, I managed to find a number of under-the-radar goodies and I’ve also included two established-band updates. As usual, you are free to loathe or love all or none of it. While I usually only listen to ambient grindcore, I’ve been branching out lately. So, lots of different kinds of music besides ambi-grind are included below. With deathqueef making up more of the music mentioned this time, but also delving into colostomy-bag-fueled post-electronic, instrumental scat, and nu-grunge.


With their latest release Reptilian Agenda, Embryonic Devourment have even further embraced old school death metal tendencies into the fold of their technical brutal carnage that warns of the true reptilian nature of reality. This is a big step up for them, and fans of old school death metal should certainly give this a listen. In spite of its swarming Origin-meets-Malignancy veneer, a lot of the riffs are superbly evil, meaty, and groovy in an old school way.  Continue reading »

Oct 072013

(In this post Austin Weber reviews the new album by Chicago’s Gigan.  A full-album stream follows the review.)

Since Gigan’s inception in 2006, formed by Eric Hersemann upon his exit from Hate Eternal, the band has survived and evolved despite a number of lineup shifts that would have ended most bands. After their excellent 2011 release Quasi-Hallucinogenic Sonic Landscapes, both drummer Keseva “Kaish” Doane and vocalist John Collett left sometime in 2012, though I was unaware of their departures until songs from this record premiered and a new band photo surfaced. Now Gigan is a Chicago-based group, by way of bandleader and composer Hersemann moving to the Windy City. He is now joined by new New York vocalist Eston Browne (Humanity Falls) and drummer Nate Cotton, who had played live for Gigan back in 2009-2010. With this new line-up, Gigan deliver to us a colossal emanation from another realm, entitled Multi-Dimensional Fractal Sorcery And Super Science.

When I listen to Gigan I often think of them as a better, more creative Hate Eternal (sorry Erik Rutan!). This album, while having a stronger atmospheric and synth-laced gravitas, is a labyrinth of destructive percussion and frenzied guitar-work that build in collaboration to monstrous heights of hyper-blasting, ever-shifting insanity. They’ve always been one of the most unique and truly alien-sounding technical death metal bands, their aggressiveness rounded out with a heavy dose of drawn-out atmosphere, oddball riffs, genuinely psychedelic and trance-like moments, and a chaotic nature rooted in the shifting between these different sounds that makes the music a uniquely unhinged, unpredictable experience. Continue reading »

Jul 222011

Pathology is a brutal death-metal band from SoCal. I’m a fan, partly for reasons that don’t have much to do with the music. Jonathan Huber, Pathology’s vocalist, used to be the frontman for Seattle’s I Declare War, and I had fun watching that band rise up from their starting days playing local gigs to their current prominence on the deathcore scene. I also had fun watching Jonathan periodically destroy himself in one Seattle mosh pit after another.

Pathology’s new album, Awaken to the Suffering, will be their first since Huber joined the band. It’s scheduled for release on September 13 via Victory Records. Yesterday, courtesy of a tip from NCS reader Utmu, I discovered that the band has now released the cover art for the album, created by the awesome Pär Olofsson. I couldn’t resist posting about it. Just feast your eyes on the grisliness above — and imagine the feasting that those monsters are about to enjoy.

After a festival in California and a few headline dates in Texas beginning August 26, Pathology will start a nationwide tour as support for Grave and Blood Red Throne, and Gigan is also on the bill. That will be a grisly, blood-drenched, head-busting extravaganza. The schedule is after the jump. Continue reading »

Apr 022011

Technically, we should have posted this yesterday, but yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and people might have thought we were making up some of this shit. But it’s all true, and nothing happens on April 2 to plant doubt about truth. Except for what causes doubt to be planted about truth on any other day of the year.

Here we are at the beginning of the second quarter of 2011 — the time when for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is supposed to spring.  Where I live, spring has apparently been victimized by a brutal street mugging and is hospitalized at the moment.  A few plants have been deluded into thinking it’s spring, but for the rest of our local world, it’s still fucking winter.

Fortunately, the change of the seasons have fuck all to do with the release of metal. 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 31 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. Dive in after the jump. Continue reading »