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Synnōve : The Whore And The Bride

Normally we don't review pure black metal albums here at Doom-Metal.com, but one of Synnōve's two founders, Brad Bessel (guitarist and vocalist), used to play bass in Virgin Black. Thus this album might be of interest for fans of Virgin Black. A warning should be made, however. 'The Whore And The Bride' contains neither doom metal, gothic metal, opera vocals or elements of classical music. In other words, the two bands do not have much in common musically except that their music holds very high standards of quality. Yet another warning should be issued to those who do not fancy preachy Christian metal (to digress, is Satanic, nihilist or NS preaching more OK in black metal because they're considered to be evil-ish?), because Synnōve is all about religious beliefs. The band follows what's called the The Anam Cara Community Mission. I have a hard time telling it apart from other missions or churches, but the band has posted the details here. The purpose of the band itself is described like so by it's members: "Synnōve (pronounced sin-oe-vey) is named after the saint of the same name and was formed in response to the need of the extreme metal subculture to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a language and art form they could understand. ... There is need for ministries, communities and Churches to leave their comfort zone and catch the heart of God for this generation. It will require radical, costly discipleship and a willingness to do some deep heart searching and to rethink the Church's captivity to middle class assumptions that form a barrier between the Church and the people of this subculture."

Personally I find it refreshing with some Christian extremism for a change in black metal. It's bound to provoke die-hard zealots of the 'tr00 black metal can only have non-Christian lyrics' truism, just like Synnōve's fellow countryman Horde did nearly 20 years ago. There are of course two main problems with this. One, Satanism is a Christian cult, and two, Christianity can be just as evil when they want to be. But enough about that. Let's move on to the discussion of whether the gospel influences make the music sound like Bathory.

Now you're probably questioning my sanity, but the gregorian-like gospel influence really does remind me of the choirs used in viking metal bands (e.g. Bathory, Einherjer and Nomans Land). Actually, it wasn't until I started reading on the bands MySpace page that I realized that this wasn't necessarily a Bathory influence. Hell, I never even suspected they were anything but an unusually skilled black metal band before I started reading. They are averagely aggressive for a band in their genre, but the versatility of their songs and the punishing riffage keeps the music dynamic and intense. Synnōve is in that way comparable to Borknagar, though more orthodox (pun not intended). Not surprisingly, the choirs have to take some of the credit for what I consider to be the best parts of the album. By themselves they lift the aura of the music to a whole new level.

I'm not sure who to recommend this CD to. Well, obviously Christian black metallers should know their new king and thus buy this album. This is also, in my humble opinion, an excellent choice for those who enjoy black metal with a rich atmosphere and viking metal influences but who do not mind religious sentiment. Personally, I'll probably be spinning this disk many times more. I'll just have to balance this with Katatonia's 'Dance of December Souls' to retain a healthy state of mind.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Funeral For Innocence
2. Rhythms Of The Apocalypse
3. The Whore And The Bride
4. Non Servium
5. Sangreal
6. The Cry Of Creation
7. The Last Lament
8. Lindisfarne

Duration : Approx. 49 minutes.

Visit the Synnōve bandpage.

Reviewed on 01-06-2010 by Arnstein Petersen
No God Only Pain
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