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 »

Dec 152015



In advance of the 2014 Metal Blade release of the latest full-length by Poland’s Vesania, our writer Andy Synn concluded his review of the album with these words:

“As darkly dramatic as it is devastating, Deus Ex Machina, if pushed hard enough and marketed right, could be a real game-changer for Vesania. It demonstrates their songwriting, and their skills, at their absolute sharpest, and takes their sound and vision to the next level.”

Today we are privileged to bring you the debut of a video for a song from Deus Ex Machina named “Notion”, a track Andy characterized as “half blackened blitzkrieg, half glorious symphonic majesty,” a song that “for all its orchestral excess and metallic thunder, takes time to reveal its secrets, telling a story through sound and verse, shape and colour, which unfolds naturally and organically as the song progresses”. Continue reading »

Oct 292014


(Andy Synn reviews the new album by Poland’s Vesania.)

When I spoke to Vesania vocalist/guitarist Orion not long ago (interview here) he said the following about the band’s new album Deus Ex Machina:

“We started working on the album with this thought that we want it to sound very ‘alive’. I didn’t want to record another typical metal album with the kick drum sample straight in your face, edited to the very edge and with super high gain guitars. The idea was to make this music breathe…”

And after listening to the album a number of times now, I think they’ve definitely managed to achieve what they set out to do. Compared to their previous albums there’s definitely a lighter touch involved here – though the album is no less heavy for it. It’s looser, in a way, without being any less tight. Freer, yet in no way any less focused.

It’s an album of contradictions, make no mistake. And all the better for it. Continue reading »

Oct 032014


(Andy Synn presents his interview of Orion, vocalist/guitarist of Poland’s Vesania (and of course a member of Behemoth), whose new album Deus Ex Machina is coming our way. All photos accompanying the interview were taken by Aleksander Ikaniewicz.)

In case you missed out, I previously featured Polish behemoths Vesania in the 22nd edition of The Synn Report, covering all three of their albums, addressing their underground (sort-of) supergroup status, and comparing their Symphonic/Blackened Death Metal hybrid sound to Emperor, Zyklon, and Dimmu Borgir.

If you want to read more about them, then head on over here to check out what I originally wrote, then come back to this article to get some updated goodies.

You see, recently I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to conduct an interview with Vesania main-man Orion, since the band are in the first stages of promoting their upcoming fourth album Deus Ex Machina.

It’s a short, but ultimately revealing, interview, where you really get a feel for the drive and personality of the members behind the music, and of the difficulties inherent in pulling together a band made up of such busy musicians, as well as the growing theatricality of the band’s stage show! Continue reading »

Sep 262014


I failed to pull together a round-up of new music yesterday — as you may have noticed, we were pretty busy with a lot of other goings-on at the site. What that means is that I now have two days’ worth of new things to pore over in deciding what to throw your way.

And man, it has been one hell of a week for new songs and videos. I’m having trouble remembering another one so filled with worthy new debuts. Unfortunately, this means I won’t be able to cover everything that deserves to be covered. But we soldier on as best we can.


Yesterday brought a torrent of news from this excellent Polish supergroup whose music my comrade Andy Synn once described as “crushing blackened-death metal with a lunatic, symphonic twist”. Vesania’s discography, as it then existed, was the subject of one of Andy’s SYNN REPORTs in 2012, but that report is about to be rendered incomplete, because… Continue reading »

Feb 142014

This has been one hell of a week for new songs and videos. I have a list of good new things as long as my… arm… and although I’ve been doing my best to round up the best of what I’ve noticed, I’m still coming up… short. Although I won’t be able to cover everything before the week ends, I do have this one final collection of head-wreckers. Happy Valentine’s Day motherfuckers. If you’re sad about being alone on V-Day, just gaze into the eyes of that cat, and remember… we love you.


Heathen — the forthcoming album by Thou from Baton Rouge, Louisiana — is on my list of highly anticipated 2014 releases.  It is due to arrive from Gilead Media on March 25 and is now available for pre-order here. I discovered this morning that while I wait for that apocalyptic monstrosity, I will have something else from Thou to while away the hours. Specifically, Thou have made available for free on Bandcamp a compilation entitled Ceremonies of Humiliation. It collects all of the band’s musical output from split releases prior to the release of 2010’s Summit.

Ceremonies of Humiliation will also be released as a triple-LP set, though I haven’t yet seen a projected release for that. After the jump, you can gaze upon the Ceremonies cover and stream the entire collection. There is no love in it. Continue reading »

Dec 052012

(NCS writer Andy Synn pauses after the 30th installment of THE SYNN REPORT to take a look back at the first two years of the series.)

Ok, so we’ve now had 30 ‘official’ entries in The Synn Report. I hope that a good number of you have discovered new bands and gone out and shown your support for them, buying music, merch, gig tickets, etc.

I thought, since the year (and the world!!!) is coming to an end, it might be a good time to provide a quick one-stop summation of all the previous entries, for those of you who maybe missed a couple, or for new devotees of the site who have yet to encounter the earlier editions and the bands contained therein.

Did you know that the genesis for The Synn Report was not entirely down to me? There’s a post that I consider ‘The Synn Report: Year Zero” which was written by Islander himself, in response to my recommendation of a particular band. That post is included here, as I think it’s an important foundation stone in the genesis of The Synn Report, and because I think the band in question are utterly phenomenal.

So there we go, after the jump there’s a tiny entry on each band from each edition of The Synn Report, with a short genre description and a re-iteration of the “Recommended for fans of:” section. Which ones did you miss? Which ones should you give another shot to? Click each one to be linked to the appropriate article, where you’ll find the full write-ups and sample songs from each release! Continue reading »

Oct 042012

(Our UK-based writer Andy Synn provides this update on the doings of certain bands featured in previous editions of THE SYNN REPORT: Vesania, Emeth, and Crocell.)

So we’ve almost reached a milestone of 30 SYNN REPORTS (plus a few more varied entries). That’s 30 new, or underappreciated, bands I’ve tried my best to bring into the cold embrace of the NCS bosom. But before we reach the hollowed ‘Big 30’ (who it’s going to be I still haven’t decided), how about we catch up with a few quick updates on past SYNN REPORT alumni?


Well first of all, we have the little teasing image above from Polish symphonic black metal maestros Vesania, which shows their drummer Daray in the studio. Which means they’ve already started work recording a new album. This was kept pretty quiet, but I for one am already salivating at the prospect of more crushing blackened-death metal with a lunatic, symphonic twist.


Secondly, the fine young Belgian gents in Emeth have posted a slew of updates regarding the gear and the songwriting from their upcoming fourth album: Continue reading »

May 022012

(In this latest edition of THE SYNN REPORT, Andy Synn reviews the discography of Polish supergroup Vesania, with musical accompaniment, of course.)

Recommended for fans of: Emperor, Zyklon, Behemoth

Supergroups are an odd thing. Mostly you’ll find them being trumpeted about in the mainstream press when an aging rock/pop star collaborates with a younger group in a desperate attempt to retain their relevance, or when ‘a’ from indie band ‘b’ forms a new group with ‘x’, ‘y’, and ‘z’, the questionable quality of their output inevitably outweighed by the extravagant hype played out in the media.

Supergroups in metal largely don’t get the excessive, fawning praise others do, for more reasons than just their lesser exposure. Generally, unless at least one of the members is of almost Portnoyan levels of media exposure, this interest in the quirks of celebrity and name value will quickly dwindle to an actual interest in whether the music is any good.

Another contributing factor is that the very nature of bands as a conglomeration of individuals, all with their own baggage, means many of them are a ‘supergroup’ in their own right. Look at the current Chimaira/Daath crossover, or the stellar line-up of modern day Borknagar. Or even The Gathering-era Testament, which existed essentially as a supergroup under the already established name.

Even supergroup side-projects often take on a fully-fledged life of their own. Mikael Akerfeldt recently announced his departure from death metal legends Bloodbath due to their intent to step up their touring and recording schedule, while the terror-thrash superpower Witchery have recently snagged yet another well-known figure and have been raising their profile ever since. Continue reading »