Mar 052018
 

 

(Here’s Andy Synn’s review of the new album by Houston-based Oceans of Slumber, which has just been released by Century Media Records.)

If there’s one thing that’s immediately obvious about Oceans of Slumber, it’s that they’re an easy band to love.

The band’s intricate but engrossing song-writing style, topped off with the truly awe-inspiring vocals of Cammie Gilbert, and fuelled by the prodigious drumming talents of Dobber Beverley, makes for a formidable formula for success, and the general response to both their previous album, Winter, and their newest release, has been one of almost unmitigated praise.

But while the band’s potent blend of ability, ambition, and peerless passion, certainly makes it difficult to criticise them… it doesn’t make it impossible.

Because, as great as it is, The Banished Heart isn’t flawless. Continue reading »

Nov 082016
 

julie-christmas-cult-of-luna

 

(Our man in the UK, Andy Synn, attended Damnation Festival 2016 in Leeds on November 5, and provides this report along with videos he made.)

Oh Damnation Festival how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…

Whereas too many other events seem content to book the same big-name crowd-pleasers, year in and year out, buttressed by an interchangeable selection of generic sound-alikes and contrived gimmicks – all carefully selected purely for their mundane mass-appeal – the Damnation team seem to operate on an unwavering ethos of only booking the bands they truly like, bands (big and small) that they truly believe in, who have something unique or special to offer.

This is how every edition of the festival features an array of bands from multiple different styles, from Death to Prog to Doom to Hardcore to Sludge (and beyond), from across the length and breadth of the underground Metal scene coexisting under one roof and why, over the years, Damnation has seen everyone from Ahab to Asphyx, Carcass to Katatonia, Mono to My Dying Bride, playing to the sort of packed crowds that are a regular occurrence in Europe, but which only rarely seem to be achievable here in the UK.

This helps make Damnation Festival’s line-up a much more interesting affair than many of their peers, as the organisers seem to operate on the principal of “if you build it, they will come”, putting their faith in the belief that the UK scene doesn’t just want to be fed the same old bands and the same old performances, time and time again. And this year was no different, with a wide variety of different acts, of different styles, on display, coupled with a bunch of exclusive performances which practically justified the ticket price on their own! Continue reading »

Feb 152016
 

Oceans of Slumber-Winter

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Houston’s Oceans of Slumber.)

WARNING – EXTREME AMOUNTS OF CLEAN SINGING AHEAD

Ahem, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me just say that I’ve honestly fallen in love with this album after being introduced to it by the Angry Metal Guy himself a few weeks back. And whilst it’s not 100% perfect, there’s definitely something special, and truly unique, about Winter.

Rather than racing out of the gate and grabbing you by the throat, the album opts instead for a sublime slow-burn, beginning with the sombre, slowly unfurling strains of its title-track whose gleaming fretwork and subtle, progressive drumming provide a languid canvas upon which the utterly astounding and captivating vocals of Cammie Gilbert take centre stage.

It’s several minutes before the band unveil their heavier side, dropping into a sonorous, distortion-soaked groove, layered with scintillating, shamelessly progressive lead guitar work and gorgeous atmospheric touches and interspersed with some impressively gruff, pseudo-melodic vocals and rough-hewn growls, which play off against Gilbert’s silken tones perfectly, as the song builds to a stunningly powerful, Prog-Death denouement.

It’s quite unlike anything else I’ve heard in some time, and provides a perfect example of the album’s distinctive blend of proggy intricacy and metallic intensity. Continue reading »

Dec 122015
 

Rebel Wizard-Invocation of the Miserable Ones

 

That post title is a little misleading. I’m writing this (somewhat hurriedly) on a Friday afternoon, because the place of employment for my fucking day job is having its annual holiday party tonight, and the odds are I will get fucked up and be in a world of hurt on Saturday morning — because (obviously) I have all the self-control of a three-year-old.

So, this is a selection of new music that I heard and liked on a Friday, presented for your eyes and ears on a Saturday. As you will no doubt expect by now, no two songs sound remotely alike.

REBEL WIZARD

Rebel Wizard” is the name of a solo project by the Australian musician Nekrasov, whose work under that name is probably better known in certain circles than Rebel Wizard (and whose most recent release I reviewed here last month). The first Rebel Wizard recording that I heard (and reviewed here) was an EP released in July named Negative Wizard Metal. Just yesterday another EP was released on Bandcamp, this one entitled Invocation of the Miserable Ones. It has many of the attributes that made me like the last EP so much. For example: Continue reading »