Apr 212018


(Welcome to another edition of Andy Synn’s Waxing Lyrical feature. Today he presents a very interesting discussion with Jamie Stewart of The Absence.)

Some of you may have caught my review of A Gift for the Obsessed, the long-awaited fourth album by Floridian Melodeath marauders The Absence, last month (almost exactly one month ago, in fact). And hopefully some of you were inspired enough to go check out the album on your own terms and, ideally, to pick up a copy for yourselves.

If you didn’t catch it, well, here’s another chance for you to check out what you’ve been missing, as I managed to cajole the band’s vocalist/lyricist Jamie Stewart into participating in this edition of Waxing Lyrical, where he talks about misheard lyrics, space madness, and the importance of Hip-Hop to his early musical development! Continue reading »

Mar 232018


(Today M-Theory Audio releases the first new album by The Absence since 2010’s Enemy Unbound, and here we present Andy Synn’s review along with a full stream of the album.)


Let’s get one thing clear right away – while Riders of the Plague, the second album by Floridian firebrands The Absence, is a bona fide underground classic, the band’s erratic follow-up, Enemy Unbound, singularly failed to capitalise on the critical acclaim and momentum generated by its predecessor, and the subsequent array of label woes and line-up changes certainly didn’t help matters either.

Thankfully, the general consensus appears to be that the group’s long-awaited fourth album, A Gift for the Obsessed, is a more than worthy sequel to Riders…, even if I’ve have seen more than a few writers/reviewers bemoaning the fact that the band haven’t massively changed or updated their style and still sound like “an American version of Arch Enemy.”

But while this comparison isn’t necessarily invalid – their penchant for thrashy, high-octane riffs, adrenaline-pumping drums, and shamelessly infectious hooks certainly shares more than a few similarities with the works of Amott and co. from before they became a toothless parody of themselves – it’s also not necessarily a bad thing.

After all, the overall decline of the Melodeath/Melodic Death Metal scene worldwide has left behind something of a void, which The Absence seem more than happy to fill with their vintage-yet-visceral brand of melody-infused metallic mayhem. Continue reading »

Jan 222018



(DGR has stepped into the round-up void left by our editor this past week and has produced a three-part collection of recent songs and videos. Parts 1 and 2 are here and here.)


Three weeks into January, and judging by the handful of massive Seen and Heard and Overflowing Streams posts we’ve had to put up, you could say that we’ve managed to the get ourselves into gear as our beloved musical genre has already offloaded numerous news bits upon us in the new year.

I, your ever-faithful servant, have also been doing my best to go along with my ragged fish net and catch everything that might’ve slipped by us — which in the case of this post dates back to last week and then some. Continue reading »

Nov 262015

Swallow the Sun-Songs From the North


(Here are some ideas from Andy Synn….)

Recently my good friend DGR and I were having a discussion about the merits of Songs From the North, the new Swallow The Sun triple album, focussing mainly on which of the three CDs we considered the strongest overall, which we thought were the best songs across all three albums, and just generally shooting the shit about the reasoning behind releasing such a mammoth endeavour in one fell-swoop.

As expected, we eventually digressed into a wider discussion of the band’s discography, but came to loggerheads over how we viewed the band’s 2012 release Emerald Forest and the Blackbird. DGR thinks that, though it’s not the band’s best album, there’s still some solid songs on there. I disagree.


Because it doesn’t pass “The Setlist Test”. Continue reading »

Sep 222014


“Supergroups” are hit or miss affairs. The combination of musicians drawn from well-known and very talented bands sometimes turns out to be less than the sum of its parts. That may turn out to be true of Necromancing the Stone (though I’m betting it won’t), but at least they’ve scored a win with the selection of their band name.

Necromancing the Stone is a new band whose line-up includes these musicians:

James Malone (Arsis) (guitars)
Ryan ‘Bart’ Williams (ex-The Black Dahlia Murder) (bass)
Jeramie Kling (The Absence) (drums)
Justin Wood (Brimstone Coven) (guitars)
John Williams (Brimstone Coven) (vocals)

As for the music, the band have recorded a three-song EP named Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead that will be released tomorrow. It will be available on Bandcamp, and shirts are already available at this location. The EP was mixed by Peter Tagtgren at Studio Abyss, with additional mixing by Eyal Levi at Audiohammer Studios. The EP’s cover art, which you cane see next, was created by Mark Riddick: Continue reading »

Sep 262013

So many bands are trying to raise money through crowd-funding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Some of them deserve a helping hand. I’ll tell you about two that I think deserve your help, because I like both bands and really hope your money will enable them to get their new music in a form suitable to send to me so that I can have it. In fact, I can think of few betters uses for your money, unless of course you’d prefer to just send it directly to me. If that sounds good, hit me up.

Where was I?  Oh yeah, two bands I hope you will help finance, for me.


Contrary to early speculation, the departure of vocalist/bassist Arthur von Nagel did not put an end to Cormorant. In fact, they just finished tracking their third album to analog tape with engineer/producer Justin Weis (Slough Feg, Agalloch, Hammers of Misfortune, Ludicra), having first supplemented their remaining line-up through the addition of Marcus Luscombe, who has become the new bassist and lead vocalist.

Luscombe is an Australian-born San Francisco Bay Area native who has been lead guitarist, songwriter, and backing vocalist for for a band named Vengince and lead singer, lyricist, and guitarist for another band named Cloakwheel. According to Cormorant, “His unique stylings and weird, proggy bass lines have added new elements to the Cormorant sound, and we can’t wait for you to hear how he sounds on the album!” Continue reading »

Jun 092013

I’ve been waiting anxiously for “Oceans” ever since Tampa’s The Absence first announced back in early May that it would be coming — and then I completely overlooked its debut last week, finally hearing it only yesterday. I was anxious to hear it because in my humble opinion The Absence are one of the finest melodic death metal bands the U.S. has yet produced. To this day, their 2007 album Riders of the Plague remains high on my personal list of “most-played” releases ever.

What set The Absence apart from so many other U.S. bands who piled on to the Gothenburg bandwagon was a combination of vibrantly vicious vocals, intensely memorable melodic riffs, and brilliant guitar leads and solos by the duo of Patrick Pintavalle and Peter Joseph. And of course the music was also heavy as hell. But almost three years have passed since the band’s last album (Enemy Unbound), and they’ve had a bit of a rocky road since then, including a split from Metal Blade (who released all three of their full-lengths) and the departure of Peter Joseph, which was announced this past January.

But it definitely seems like The Absence have turned the corner. First, they enlisted the awesome Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry) as Joseph’s replacement. And second, “Oceans” is great. Continue reading »

May 062013

What do you do when you get flooded with tantalizing news and new music over the span of 24 hours, and it’s all too much to cover in your usual long-winded style of prose (I don’t mean your long-winded style, I mean mine)? You swallow all those words and you do this . . . really short blurbs about many items . . . from Howl, The Resistance, Strychnia, The Absence, Darkane, Mordbrand, and After the Burial. Whew!


Today, Rhode Island’s Howl premiered a new official music video for “Demonic”, a song off their new album Bloodlines, which is out now and which features some incredibly eye-catching cover art. “Demonic” is a cross between scorching and crushing. Scorshing? It’s catchy, too. The video comes next . . . Continue reading »

Sep 022011

(TheMadIsraeli delivers the next installment of his Melodeath Week series.)

Now we get into the real meat and potatoes. This is the shit I LOVE out of this list. So without further ado…

The Absence is pretty easy to sum up. Mix At The Gates with early In Flames and you have this band in a nutshell. From Your Grave, for a debut, was vicious, sharp, and aiming for the throat. This band was obviously out for blood at the time, having the problem to overcome of being an American melodeath band.

From Your Grave is fast, technical, and memorable in all the right ways. Somehow The Absence found a way to take the brutality and dark riffing of At The Gates and counterbalance it with In Flames sense of guitar harmonies and emotive melodies. As the album’s intro plays, with that somber sole riff in the distance and the harmony coming into it, you’re being lured you into the assault of the official opener “A Breath Beneath”.

This album is full of riffs. Chock-fucking-full. You’ll remember every single one of them and want to hear them on repeat. Guitar duo Patrick Pintavalle and Peter Joseph perform with each other as if they’re one entity. It’s rare to hear two guitarists who write dual guitar parts THIS seamless. Picking the harmonies at the right time is a huge thing for me on this album.  In fact, everything occurs at the right place, at the right time.

Most of you will already know this band, but if you don’t, learning about them now might serve you well. These guys BLEED melodic death metal. Listen after the jump . . . Continue reading »

Apr 292011

(I swear this was a coincidence. I wrote a post that went up earlier today on metal covers based on a single by Anachronaeon we received yesterday, and then our UK contributor Andy Synn delivered this special edition of THE SYNN REPORT about . . . covers. This is the kind of occurrence that sends me back to the dictionary once again to figure out the difference between synchronicity and serenditpity. Or maybe it’s both.)

Covers are a strange breed of song – they’re the equivalent of a parallel universe, an alternate history, a What If? Comic, an adaptation of your favourite book starring an unexpected actor, a Shakespeare play set in an average American high school…

Seriously though, they have a huge amount of potential, both to be intriguingly inventive and woefully horrendous. Their success (or lack thereof) depends on many factors, but mainly on the song-choice itself – is it a natural fit for the band? Do they have the intelligence to re-work it in a distinctive manner? Or is it simply enough to tear through it in their own inimitable style, making few changes, but relying on sheer power to see them through?

I have chosen 15 artists who have produced some of my own personal favourite covers, showcasing a variety of approaches, some fully traditional takes on the original, others totally reworked variations. If there’s one thing that these covers show however, it is the subtle threads that inter-link all different sub-genres of rock and metal, which allow bands to re-work them organically. (more after the jump . . .) Continue reading »