I know what you’re thinking, that’s an anagram of something. Apparently not. Syn Ze Sase Tri really is the name of the band and “Sub Semnul Lupului” is the band’s new album. The blurb tell me that we have entered into Transylvanian Pagan Black Metal territory, not a genre I’ve delved into too much but which sounds just brilliant.
The first track is atmospheric and spooky with a spine-tingling spoken part. At least I imagine its spine-tingling. He might be reciting his shopping list for all I know. But it has the desired effect. I am 14 again and watching those old Hammer films late at night after Mum and Dad have gone to bed.
Unsurprisingly, we get into it with the second track. Everything is in place as you’d hope: Hammering drums, roaring guitars and growling to wake the dead. There is also keyboards and strings, I’m pretty sure, so its fair to say we have everything bar the kitchen sink in here.
I guess the most obvious comparison, just to give you an idea, is a Transylvanian version of Amon Amarth, what with the myths and legends and stuff.
The third track features some piano sprinkled over the top and some choir-like vocals. It also has some keyboards that sound like they’ve come from the Addams Family movie. Not necessarily a recommendation but it adds to the fun. Track 4 is more of the same and the next track too, although the latter has some impressive Gregorian chanting at the start.
There’s little point in me mentioning each song because by now I’ve realised that none of them really stand out from each other. Its all well-played and enthusiastically performed but by track 8 I’m beginning to skip through them.
However, there is a more acoustic feel to In ‘Pantecu Pamantului’, the strings adding to the atmosphere, and its a good change of pace. Penultimate track ‘Inaripat Si Impietrit’ continues in this more restrained way, at least to start with, and is perhaps more impressive than some of the first few tracks.
The final track is the climax of the horror movie that started at the beginning of the album and features some bizarre guttural growls at the end.
Syn Ze Sase Tri have produced a great sounding album and the playing is top-notch. However, some of the songs are a bit samey and I’m not convinced that there is a great deal here to really make the band stand out from the crowd. That said, I don’t know how many Transylvanian Pagan Black Metal bands there are so maybe they are at the top of their particular pile.
I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as I thought as might at the start but I’d still recommend it because Syn Ze Sase Tri should be encouraged. The world needs more Transylvanian Pagan Black Metal bands.