Mar 212022

(Andy Synn brings us three more examples of British brilliance)

It feels like absolutely ages since I’ve written one of these columns, but – after double-checking – it turns out I actually did do one just last month.

For some reason my sense of time has been all out of whack this year, to the point where the days either feel like they’re rushing by (meaning I simply don’t have time to write about all the things I want to) or else have been slowed to a mind-numbing crawl (meaning the wait for new releases seems interminable).

My terrible time-keeping, therefore, is ultimately what’s to blame for this particular edition of “The Best of British” covering such a wide spread, as one of the album’s featured here has been out for almost a full month, the other was released a few weeks ago, and the third isn’t out until Friday, making for a mixed-bag of older, newer, and unreleased records for you to wrap your ears around.

Thankfully one thing that isn’t mixed is the quality, as each of these albums represents the very best work yet by each of the three bands in question. So let’s start the show, shall we?

Continue reading »

Jul 292019


(In a continuation of this occasional series, Andy Synn reviews three recent albums by bands from his homeland.)

Normally I’d write something amusing/annoying to provide a “fun” lead in to the following three albums.

However, a combination of work/band/life pressures means that, right at this moment, I don’t have any time to mess around like that.

So, without further ado, here’s a mix of Death, Black, and Post/Sludge from the UK for you all to enjoy. Continue reading »

Sep 022017


(Andy Synn is now lobbying the Oxford English Dictionary for recognition of a new word.)

In case you didn’t know, yesterday saw release of the brand new album by Symphonic Death Metal titans Septic Flesh (yes, I’m still spelling it as two words).

Now while I’m not planning on reviewing it here (that honour will, in all likelihood, fall to DGR), I will say that Codex Omega feels like a big step up from The Great Mass and Titan, the latter of which in particular suffered (in this author’s opinion at least) from a noticeable lack of balance between the “Symphonic” and the “Death Metal” aspects of the band’s sound, with the lion’s share of the effort put into the orchestration, while the drums and riffs (or lack thereof) were treated very much as an afterthought.

And as Codex Omega is such a big improvement on its predecessors in this regard, I felt it might be high time we all got together to discuss the costs/benefits inherent in “symphonisizing” (a word I’ve just invented) your sound. Continue reading »

Sep 132014


I find myself once again with a long list of new items I think are worth sharing but not enough time to write about all of it. I’m beginning to think this is a perpetual state of existence: TOO MUCH METAL. But rather than be stymied by this predicament, I’ll just have to pick a random assortment of new things — something is better than nothing, right? The first three items in this collection first caught my eye because of the visual art — in each case you can see larger versions of them by clicking the images.


There may be a metal artist whose work I’ve featured on this site more than Eliran Kantor, but I doubt it. And yesterday I spotted his latest work, the cover of a forthcoming live album by the long-running British heavy metal band Satan. The new album is named Trail of Fire: Live In North America, and it will be released by Listenable Records. Kantor created the cover for the band’s previous album Life Sentence, and he explained the concept behind this new one as follows:

“As fire sets the tone of the last album cover, I wanted to focus this one on what you usually get afterwards – ashes left behind. Hence the burnt coal frame. The band came up with the title ‘Trail of Fire’ probably referring to being on the road, and it’s symbolized by the judge’s wig morphing into a trail of burning wooden logs, and the trail of fire actually leads to a trial by fire. I wanted the story told on the band’s covers to move forward too – ‘Court in the Act’ was a trial scene, ‘Life Sentence’ showed the incarceration stage, and now we’re witnessing the execution.”

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Aug 072013

(In this post Andy Synn reviews the new EP by London’s Sidious.)

Brutal intensity. Savage technicality. Pure, refined evil.

That should really be all you need to read. Go buy these UK blackened death metallers’ debut EP right now. You won’t regret it.

For those of you who want a little more information (I’ll call you “Cautious Cathys”) let me describe the Sidious sound to you.

Though the music is built around a visceral core of pure black metal poison, there’s also more than a hint of death metal in its punishing, mechanised rhythms, while the whole unholy package is wrapped in an aura of imperial symphonic melody. Ultimately, Ascension to the Throne ov Self is as majestic as it is misanthropic, as menacing as it is morbid, combining the best elements of both black and death metal with a sense of infernal ambition. Continue reading »