Jun 302018


(This Saturday’s edition of Andy Synn’sWaxing Lyrical series presents thoughts about lyrics from Joseph Martinez of Junius, whose most recent album, Eternal Rituals For the Accretion of Light, was released by Prosthetic Records in 2017.)

There’s a certain argument (not that it’s one I agree with) that proggy Post-Rock/Post-Metal collective (and celebrated Synn Report alumni) Junius don’t really “belong” here at NCS.

After all, their music is certainly far from “extreme” (though it does have its heavier moments), and the vocals are almost entirely clean-sung, meaning that the band’s whole existence essentially runs counter to the site’s original ethos.

But the truth is that NCS has grown far beyond its original remit, and the fact that we often cover lighter, more melodic fare is balanced out by the way in which we also give coverage to bands and artists who are leaps and bounds heavier and more abrasive than anything the site’s original founders could have predicted.

Personally I’m proud of the way in which we’ve broadened our scope, while still retaining our focus on quality and integrity as two of the key values in all the music we feature, just as I’m proud to have been able to convince Junius frontman/vocalist/lyricist Joseph Martinez to participate in this latest edition of “Waxing Lyrical”. Continue reading »

Mar 082017


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Boston’s Junius, followed by a full music stream.)

One thing I’ve observed over the years is how often people conflate the statement “I don’t like this” with the judgement that “this isn’t good”.

Sometimes it means that someone has decided that just because they don’t like something, that means it can’t be good… but it also often means that people get offended when you say you don’t like something, because they immediately think you’re saying it isn’t any good.

Which, obviously, isn’t necessarily the case.

Why am I saying all this? Well, it’s because even though I definitely do like this album (a lot), I don’t quite like it as much as 2011’s Reports from the Threshold of Death.

But… that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as good. Continue reading »

Aug 182014


(Guest writer Ty Lowery has assembled a personal list of favorite metal album covers for 2014 to date, divided into two parts. Part 1 appeared here. Once again, Ty asked his wife Heather (who he says isn’t very big on metal music as a whole) and his friend Adam (who is) to look at the album art and provide guesses about the music. Once again, please feel free to add your own favorites in the Comments.)

Alright, so the first round went pretty well for my two assistants. Where we left off, they were neck-and-neck in our little guessing game. So, time to finish this thing up and see if the trend continues. Lets get right to it, shall we?


There’s just something about the color red with me, for some reason. I really like how while the majority of this artwork is solid red, yet there’s enough variation that you can divine the angel, the demon, the symbols, and the serpents. With that knowledge, Heather was able to correctly suggest that this album was steeped in religious undertones, probably in the vein of black metal, as did Adam. He suggested that it might have something to do with atheism, but changed his mind after seeing the symbols along the bottom.

The cover art is by Valnoir of Metastazis Studio in Paris. NCS reviewed the album here.
http://www.graphic-noise.com/valnoir Continue reading »

Jul 292014

(In this 49th edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Junius from Boston, Massachusetts. Their music is an exception to our Rule.)

Recommended for fans of: Deftones, Katatonia, Solstafir

I first heard about this band in a rather unusual way back at the tail-end of 2011, when they stepped in at the last minute as replacements for Ghost, who were forced to drop off Enslaved’s North American tour at the last minute due to visa issues. Having no prior knowledge of the band at all, I was particularly intrigued when I started to see a quiet shit-storm floating around certain parts of the internet about “that indie band opening for Enslaved”, and felt compelled to check them out… after all, there must be something to them to be causing such a fuss.

And I’m glad I did, because the music they make is astonishingly beautiful and moving, with a sense of haunting atmosphere and blooming melodic power. The guitars shimmer and blossom in great waves of light and shade above an electric foundation of looping bass lines and lithe, progressive drum work, while the vocals – pulsing with echoes of both Joy Division and The Smiths – weave their own distinctive spell of captivating, clean-sung poetry and passion.

The band have been described in several ways… “Alt Metal”, “Post Rock”, “Indie Metal”, “Art Rock”, “Shoegaze Doom Metal”… though none of them really hit the spot. There’s certainly elements of Post-Punk and New Wave in their DNA, that’s obvious enough, as well as a fascination with the metallic atmospherics of acts like Neurosis and Isis, but really their sound is quite unique – oddly anthemic, yet strangely apocalyptic.

Ultimately then, the proof is in the listening. Perhaps start with their latest EP, and work your way backwards. After all, this may not be typical NCS fare, but you trust me… right? Continue reading »

Mar 272014

I don’t have the data at my fingertips. It’s possible that we’ve written about some other band more than we’ve written about Iceland’s Sólstafir over the years — but I’d be surprised if that were true. And so it’s a foregone conclusion that I’m posting the following announcement of the band’s first “North American” tour, even though some literary license has been taken with the term “North American”:

Icelandic rock heathens Sólstafir have announced a string of North American tour dates. The band’s first-ever North American trek starts on May 15 in Brooklyn, NY and will continue through the band’s stop at this year’s Maryland Deathfest on May 23. Support on these dates comes from JUNIUS. A full list of confirmed tour dates can be found below.

SOLSTAFIR North American tour dates
5/15 Toronto, ON @ Hard Luck
5/16 Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus Bar
5/17 Philadelphia PA @ Underground Arts
5/18 Boston, MA @ Middle East
5/19 Springfield, VA @ Empire
5/23 Baltimore, MD @ Maryland Deathfest Continue reading »

Sep 132011

We previously reported that because of difficulties obtaining visas, Ghost would be forced to drop off the fall North American tour headlined by Norway’s Enslaved, which begins September 23. We mused that such a cloud might have a silver lining, ie, that another awesome band might be recruited to take the place of the missing phantoms.

Well, a replacement has indeed been found. Their name is Junius. I knew fuck-all about them when I saw the press release announcing their appearance on the tour. I have done some very quick research, and I now know (a) that they are from Boston; (b) that they describe their music as “art rock” and have been described by others as “a perfect hybrid of Neurosis and The Smiths”; (c) that they premiered a new song this morning on Brooklyn Vegan (here), which will appear on a new album to be released by Prosthetic Records called Reports From the Threshold of Death; and (d) the cover art for that new album is cool.

In case you were wondering, I did listen to that new song, “All Shall Float”. It’s not metal, at least not by my definition. It’s what I think of as emotional indie rock, and therefore (given my own tastes) it’s not something I would listen to on my own in a million years. So, it doesn’t enhance my anticipation for this tour, although I don’t really need any enhancement with Enslaved and Alcest already on the bill. Have a look at the cover art after the jump, and if you’re going to this tour and want to see what you’re in for from Junius, you can listen to “All Shall Float” after the jump, too. 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 »