Sep 272021

(Andy Synn takes some time out of his busy schedule to celebrate some short but sweet releases by a variety of big names and new faces)

One unfortunate result of the endless scramble to stay on top of the relentless torrent of new album releases is that the humble EP often gets a little overlooked.

Which, obviously, is a real shame, because a good EP can often be just as fulfilling as an album in its own way, especially when a band uses it as an opportunity to explore a different side of themselves or to create something that works within the constraints of the format to tell a complete and fully realised story.

So while I’m working on a number of different full-length reviews (as well as the next edition of The Synn Report) I thought I might as well take a few moments to jot down a few quick reviews for some of the EPs I’ve enjoyed the most over the course of the year so far.

Continue reading »

Dec 302020


(For the final SYNN REPORT of 2020, Andy Synn reviews all the rcords in the significant discography of the unorthodox German black metal band Maladie.)

Recommended for fans of: Solefald, Sigh, Dødheimsgard

Well, it’s the end of the year as we know it and I feel… well, to be quite honest I’m not sure how I feel.

After all, it’s been a very strange (not to mention challenging) twelve months for most of us, with this site being one of the very few constants capable of brightening the bleak monotony of daily life in 2020.

So, I thought to myself, why not end the year with a feature on a band who are, in their own way, just as strange, and just as challenging (though far more rewarding)? Which is why you’re about to read my in-depth analysis of the still-expanding discography of the multi-headed metallic entity known as Maladie.

Musically-speaking the band’s sound is rooted in Black Metal, sure… but it’s also wilfully Avant-Garde, wickedly Progressive, jazzily indulgent, turbulently Technical, and everything in between, running the gamut from strafing blastbeats to swirling saxophone to groove-heavy riffs to grandiose synths, all topped off with a cacophonous chorus of shrieks and snarls, barks and bellows, sonorous croons and high-toned harmonies delivered in a polyglottal mix of English, French, Spanish, German, and Latin!

As complex and chaotic as all that sounds though, Maladie aren’t afraid to deploy hooks and/or heaviness to keep their listener(s) engaged, and – as a result of the band’s kitchen-sink-in-a-blender approach – there’s a good chance that there’ll be something here to appeal not just to fans of the three bands mentioned above (Solefald, Sigh, and Dødheimsgard) but to people who love Satyricon, Sear Bliss, Arcturus, Ne Obliviscaris, Vintersorg, In Vain, Ihsahn’s solo work, and more. Continue reading »

Oct 252019


(In this column Andy Synn compiles reviews and streams of six new EPs — by Engulf, Lvcifyre, Maladie, Ordeals, Phobocosm, and Ultha.)

Damn, today is a busy one for big releases isn’t it?

We’ve got Alcest, The Great Old Ones, Vastum, Leprous, Hour of Penance, Fit for an Autopsy, Vacivus (more on them soon), Dawn Ray’d, and about a bajillion others all coming out on the same day.

So, to address this overload of new albums… I’ve decided to write a piece covering a bunch of recently released EPs instead.

Who said I wasn’t helpful? Continue reading »

Jan 072018


I mentioned in yesterday’s last post, which immediately precedes this one, that I have an extraordinarily long list of intriguing new music that came out (or that I discovered) over just the last week. And a great deal of that is music from the black realms… too much to shoehorn into a single SHADES OF BLACK post.

So, even though this is a long post, with a lot of music for you to explore, it doesn’t exhaust everything I would like to recommend. Sadly, I’ll have to shoehorn everything else into an OVERFLOWING STREAMS post tomorrow, in which I’ll deprive myself of the pleasure of commenting on the music and instead simply furnish the streams, with release details.


The first song in this collection is also the one I heard most recently, thanks to a link yesterday from my astute acquaintance Miloš. But it demanded to be placed here, because it shot a lightning bolt straight through me on the first listen. Continue reading »

Apr 062015


(In this post Dan Barkasi continues his monthly series recommending music from the month just ended.)

Welcome, welcome, to the March edition of essential entries. February was a decent month, highlighted by stellar releases by Crypt Sermon, Devouring Star, and Sarpanitum. Overall, it wasn’t as solid as January, and I listened to a ton of music for February. There were plenty of strong albums, but also a lot of “decent, but not great” sort of releases. Everything included here, however, is top-notch, of course!

March, however, was loaded with a metric ton of great albums. As a result, there were a few difficult omissions, but that’s a good problem to have. The following turned this guy’s head the most.

Antagoniste – The Myth of Mankind

Hailing from France – the land of oddball experimental metal – is another entry of this sort by Antagoniste. A one-man avant garde black metal project, this is the debut release, and it’s nothing short of beastly. The vocals vary wildly, with a mix of menacing growls and chants. It’s heavy, a bit out there, quite catchy, and all quality. Continue reading »

Mar 062015


(Austin Weber reviews the new album by the German band Maladie.)

My problem with bands such as Slipknot is not merely a distaste based on personal likes and dislikes, but one rooted in the fact that their music has never seemed to sound like the collective efforts of their many members. It seems limited and small, compared to what might actually be possible had a band with that many members truly tried to include and incorporate each player’s talents in a way that added richly to the band’s sound.

While they are worlds away from Slipknot, I think this is part of the reason why I love the German metal super-group Maladie. They truly make full use of each of their nine members, to create an ensemble effort that defies the norm in search of a highly progressive musical path that never loses its venomously monstrous aggressive edge in the pursuit of this enlightening and forward-thinking aim. Continue reading »

Feb 022015


(Austin Weber steps up with a fill-in round-up…)

In lieu of a “Seen and Heard” from Islander, since he is swamped, I’ll cover a bunch of different-sounding bands, ranging from post-grind to anti-grim to electro-gypsy and smegma-core. Everything the body needs and then some. I’ve been a bit behind, so some of this news/releases is more recent than others. Part two with a class of equally different-sounding bands will be posted tomorrow.

The Heads Are Zeros/Neck First split

I’ve been meaning to cover this gem of a split for some time, and now that time has finally come. The Heads Are Zeros are a first-rate, ruthlessly intense grind act from Baltimore whom I covered here last year with their album, All The Men I Love Are Dead, a grind album that I put on my year-end list and felt was one of the rare grind acts you hear who truly have their own identity and unique songwriting abilities within this style. Continue reading »

Apr 022014

(For our third review of the day, Austin Weber discusses the debut album by Germany’s Maladie.)

How does one accurately capture the essence of a brilliant work of musical art? Certainly there are many ways, a variety of different approaches, different attempts to quantify opinion, while hopefully eschewing the concept of good-because-it’s-good, and bad-because-it’s-bad. But at the end of the day, words are merely words, and what’s captured by the ear and experienced in the mind and soul from a truly brilliant piece of music is what matters. The following words only exist as a vessel with which to extend an invitation to agree or disagree with how I feel, in this case, about Maladie.

Maladie are a 9-piece German metal group, a band I came across a few months back when doing one of my usual deep searches within the bowels of But to be precise, only 6 people play on Plague Within, as they added, improved, and altered into a  9-man line-up after Plague Within was released. At first I only intended to include them on my “Remnants of 2013” article (coming soon!) with a brief write-up, but then I came to the conclusion that I wanted to write a full review after becoming obsessed with “1979” (which is basically the exact opposite of the Smashing Pumpkins song, lest anyone like me think of that initially as well).

The guitar-work here is damned impressive — and comes as no surprise, since one of their guitarists, Mark Walther, plays in Spheron and their other guitarist, Björn Köppler, is a member of Tombthroat. Their triple vocal attack is intense, with Alexander Wenz and Déhà scraping their throats performing a range of metal vocals and Bernd Wener stepping in at all the right points with triumphant, fitting, clean singing during both furious passages and also in the expected slower and progressive points. Continue reading »