I have to admit, I’d never heard of Syn Ze Șase Tri before I grabbed their 2017 release Zăul moș. For six years these Romanian black metallers have been roaming the earth without my knowledge—dropping their unique brand of symphonic black/death on the planet. Though these Transylvanians hail from the same hometown as Negură Bunget, things are done differently. Both bands have their folky songwriting and both have their native mythologies and concepts, but Syn Ze Șase Tri focuses on bigness. Their massive riffs, impressive drum work, thick symphonics, and alternating rasp/bark/clean vocals throw them in with the likes of Septicflesh, Dimmu Borgir, and Old Man’s Child—without actually sounding like them. And now their fourth chapter, Zăul moș, is upon us.

After maintaining a fairly consisting lineup through their Dimmu clone Între două lumi, their coming-of-age Sub semnul lupului, and the all-encapsulating Stăpîn peste stăpîni, it appears a new era has begun. Founding member Corb is still the mastermind behind the band (meaning, the songwriting is still there, the riffs are still there, and the symphonic elements are still there), but what isn’t there is… well, the rest of the old band. With a new vocalist, guitarist, and drummer on hand, Corb pushes on with another impressive outing.

But, unlike the band’s previous records, Zăul moș opens with a nearly eleven-minute masterpiece that encompasses the vast spectrum that is Syn Ze Șase Tri. After opening with some beautiful clean guitars, the song busts wide open—cruising along with a melodic death attitude. After it builds, the song drops into a booming, spoken-word segment before ascending once more to the surface with an emotional, yet powerful gallop. The song thrives off builds, and build it does. This time, however, it hits its climax with a full force of drums, vocals, guitars, and orchestration.

My initial thought of “Tărîmu de lumină” was that, perhaps, it would have worked better as a closer. That’s until I heard closer “În pîntecu pămîntului.” It turns out “Tărîmu de lumină” was only the beginning and not the all-encompassing piece that I thought it was. It turns out, Zăul moș spends its entire runtime building up to “În pîntecu pămîntului.” The closer takes the emotional riffage and folky atmospheres that unravel throughout Zăul moș and unleashes them all as a final farewell. Of all the songs, this one builds the most and the climax is the greatest. After it finally climaxes, I’m left feeling satisfied, yet bummed that it’s over.

As Zăul moș progresses, each song compliments the other: “În pîntecu pămîntului” is the direct result of predecessor “Cocoșii negri” and “Cocoșii negri” is the direct result of “Plecăciune zăului.” While “Plecăciune zăului” could be described as the “ballad” of the album, “Cocoșii negri” is the emotional and suspenseful march to war. “Plecăciune zăului” uses a beautiful piano to control its pace while it interweaves male and female cleans. As both voices soar above the instruments, the male cleans give way to harsher tones and deliver a classic Suidakra beauty and the beast duet. This beautiful balladiness continues into “Cocoșii negri”—setting up a scene of blaring war horns and battle-ready drum beats. The result is a song that feels like Viking-era Bathory, but done with a Syn Ze Șase Tri flair.

For more rollicking pieces, go no further than the Old Man’s Child-like “Dîn negru gînd,” the Children of Bodom-ish “De-a dreapta omului,” and the impressively-folky title track. “Dîn negru gînd” takes the lead from the opener and delivers a melodic piece that sounds Galdar-ish and drips with the key-laden atmospheres of Dimmu Borgir and Old Man’s Child. The guitars of “Dîn negru gînd,” on the other hand, dance about like snakes before dropping and unloading a classic CoB riff and vocal performances. But the title track tops both. From the opening seconds, this one smashes hard on the downbeat with everything it’s got. Then, the song unleashes a mighty display of folky riffs and wildly unique clean vocals that boom and soar with a passion like nothing else on the album.

Beyond this, the rest of the record is straightforward Septicflesh-meets-Dimmu Borgir symphonic black/death metal. Like their previous album, this one is an envelope pusher. And, perhaps, the band’s best to date. Though less-captivating pieces exist on the record, Zăul moș has a better flow than its predecessor and ravels new secrets with each new song. Unfortunately, like Stăpîn peste stăpîni before it, Zăul moș suffers from overcompression. And while some things are lost in the brickwalling, this doesn’t completely ruin the experience. This is still a great album.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Code666 Records
Websites: synzesasetri.ro | facebook.com/synzesasetri.ro
Releases Worldwide: September 29th, 2017

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  • Felchmeister777

    Bloody awful…

    • Tofu muncher

      …ly good. ;-)

  • Feytalist

    Yeah man, these guys are great. I’m gratified to hear they’re still good even with a new line-up. The album art tends to be cheesy but kickass too :D

    Plus, you know. Transylvanian black metal. What’s not to like.

  • VenusAdonis

    With album art like that I can’t believe it’s not power metal. I’m feelin’ the embedded track though, good stuff.

    • Ta2dlam

      That was my first thought when I saw the thumbnail…another power metal record. I’m pleasantly surprised and totally diggin’ this.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Did you check out the artwork for the other albums? Yeah… But fun stuff.

        • Ta2dlam

          I did check them out and it certainly fits with their theme. I really am enjoying this album although I keep going back to Lor after it showed up as the AotM.

    • Tofu muncher

      Yep. Btw, any chance AMG’ll be reviewing Jag Panzer’s latest?

  • Wilhelm

    Very cool stuff that would sound better with a better production/mastering job but not TOO bad.

    • Yeah, I was thinking that the vocals are wayyyy too separate from everything else, whilst the instruments are muted in the background. Weird. Some of it might be YouTube’s fault, I guess.

      • Tofu muncher

        i know right? The vocals, and some other instruments. Sound like they are playing in a different room idk. Am listening to the whole album right now to see if other songs have the same problem.

        • It’s a pity, because I quite like the songs themselves.

  • Ironwood_Druid

    Oh damn that album artwork is stunning…as is the music…

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    Cover art brought to you by Coast To Coast and Art Bell.

  • HeavyMetalHamster

    “I do not say ‘blah, blah, blah'”!

    • brutal_sushi

      Because I was denied an animated gif post… *inserts Captain America gif saying “I understood that reference.”

      • HeavyMetalHamster

        Thank you for validating my reply.

  • Luca Popescu

    Wow this is great and I didn’t even know these guys existed and they’re from my native Romania. This is why I love this site.

  • Levly

    This review reads more like a 4 to me, but I’m still happy to see this band so well celebrated. With three excellent albums back to back, they’re fast becoming one of my favorite Black Metal acts. They have a unique sound and Corb is a master of dynamic songwriting.

  • Nukenado

    Wait… that cover is black metal?

    • That was my first thought as well. Imagine my dismay when this was not a new Tales of Gaia album.

      • Nukenado

        There’s still some blackened cheese here.

    • Nahuel Benvenuto

      I could swear is a powrr metal band cover art

      • [not a Dr]

        The voice kicking in at 4:47 certainly thinks so too.

  • Nate Sweet

    This is pretty decent despite not being a huge black metal person. If only I could pronounce a single song on the album… Or even their name for that matter

    • [not a Dr]

      kvlt as fvck.

    • Zadion

      I read it in my head as “Sen’ ze sauce tree!” In a firm Italian accent.

  • SoLeftISeeRight

    Surprised not to see a pic in the comments with a unicorn lurking in the back of the band photo.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      Just wait…

  • ToddRob64

    The good doctor sneaking some dirt into his reviews?

    “After it finally climaxes, I’m left feeling satisfied, yet bummed that it’s over.”
    Or is that just my mind again?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Teehee

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    My guess is that Syn Ze Șase Tri is Romanian for “Eenie meenie miney mo”

    • thornh

      One of my favorite band names though I have no freaking clue what it means…. sooo, I looked it up.

      It translates to “I Am With Triple Six” from Ancient Romanian. I guess you can’t get more Black Metal than that!

  • Innit Bartender

    I opened this review just to see the band photo.

  • madhare

    This is pretty damn good. Enough melodic death metal elements and not too much black metal. Might be just perfect for me. And available on Bandcamp! Awesome!

  • Andrei Vajna

    It doesn’t quite make sense to say that the album builds towards “În pîntecu’ Pământului” since that song is more a bonus track. It’s the “electric version” of the track that appeared on “Sub semnul lupului”

  • “This is still a great album.” – 4.0 = Great – Rating: 3.5/5.0

    Head… blown!