Syning – Syning Review

I’m not entirely sure what’s happening on this cover, but it can’t be good. Making rounds at the office to gather insight on these mummified shenanigans, Cherd suggests the vaccination line at CVS. Felagund shakes his n00by tail-feathers with a bright-eyed look and suggests it’s the DMV waiting room. Still utterly confused, I slapped this down on Steel‘s desk with a big ol’ “the fuck is this” and he chuckles nostalgically and a gleam enters his eye. “The n00b gauntlet,” he mumbles with a manic tremble, meeting my gaze with the ravenous look a hawk might give to the terrified field mouse. Both entirely horrifying and begging more questions than it answers, I stumble back to my desk, that look still branded into my mind’s eye.

That feeling of utter bafflement, of stunned horror, of haunting unknown? That’s the feeling Syning provides. This Norwegian trio is brand new to the scene, although its members are far from amateur: Cernunnus of Manes and Manii,1 V. Einride of Whoredom Rife and Keep of Kalessin, and Levninger of Knokkelklang. Doom et Al brought Misotheist to our attention in a stunning album that reestablishes Norway as capable of terrifying black metal once again; while their self-titled debut may lack serious bite, Syning is no exception, its horrifying atmosphere and haunting songwriting is at least cause for pause.

What’s perhaps most stunning about Syning is its hopelessly bleak atmosphere. While DSBM has a penchant for melodrama and atmoblack often forsakes subtlety, Syning strikes a delicate balance that falls into neither trap, utilizing ambiance and patient instrumentation to create a soundscape utterly devoid of light. Each of the three tracks is constructed with the utmost patience, allowing upwards of fourteen minutes to breathe organically. “Atter Ignjen Kommer Mørket Krypende” and “Et Siste Skrik” are absolutely mammoth affairs, offering V. Einride’s doomy plodding percussion and Cernunnus’ droning tremolo with a foundation of layered ambiance and industrial edge that complements the icy tone. Distorted plucking, moments of acoustic guitar, and crystalline synths periodically peak through the dreary style, adding depth, while Levninger’s formidable roars add a dimension of horror amid the dreariness. Furthermore, closer “Fortapt” is an interesting take that feels more like an ambient track in its lack of electric instruments and drums, as sprawling synths, somber acoustic guitar, and reverb-laden vocals ebb and flow from the background. Syning is truly an evocative experience that ascends genre tropes, creating the hopeless atmosphere of None with the nasty iciness of early Darkthrone, the empty ambiance of Darkspace, and industrial apathy of Reverorum ib Malacht.

It’s perhaps an unfair comparison, but against countrymen Misotheist, Syning’s greatest fault in their debut is their lack of blackened edge. While 2021 heavyweight For the Glory of Your Redeemer expertly balances atmosphere with pummel, only one distinct passage of the Syning peaks through the dreariness with scathing blackened tremolo–the halfway mark of “Atter Ignjen Kommer Mørket Krypende.” Otherwise, its tricks feel remarkably one-dimensional, evocative and emotionally weary. “Et Siste Skrik” feels nearly symphonic at times in its doomy flavors, a feel that clashes with its predecessor, and “Fortapt” can be divisive in its stunningly gentle tones. Syning feels so patiently constructed that its 34-minute runtime feels much lengthier than its time suggests, a feature whose reception depends on the individual. As such, replay value may not be as high as others in the style.

In the end, Syning is a great album whose bleakness is thus far unmatched in 2021. Its creators showcase their dreary tricks with veteran professionalism and patience, and pays off. While blackened fury is a far cry and repeated spins are difficult to recommend, Syning’s priority is its haunting and harrowing quality, lending itself to DSBM and atmoblack comparisons without succumbing to their traps. This project may fall short to its countrymen in its relatively toothless debut, but its absolutely soul-crushing tones and eerie repetition will be remembered, nay, branded into memory.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Terratur Possessions
Website: More like winternet amirite
Releases Worldwide: April 9th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Also having collaborated with Vindsval in the short-lived project The Eye.
« »