Syn Ze Sase Tri [Romania]
Sub Semnul Lupului
Symphonic Black Metal
Symphonic black metal has always left me an impression of being a more pussified/watered-down version of black metal, with bands like Dimmu Borgir drenching their music in keyboards and symphonic elements that their music could hardly be considered black metal personally anymore. But Romania’s Syn Ze Sase Tri left me rather intrigued, first by their country of origin, then by that beautiful album artwork that evokes a folk/viking metal feel. What’s more, being released under the cult label Code666 also meant that there’s a potential that their latest album Sub Semnul Lupului could surprise me.
And surprise me it did. Rather than taking the usual route of symphonic black metal bands, Syn Ze Sase Tri has somehow managed to infuse some folk/viking elements into their music, and this comes across strongly on songs like Nascut Din Negura, where there is a certain majestic feel in the music, not only in the guitar riffs and the drumming, but also in the way that the band has managed to include the symphonic elements in the music nicely, with sufficient presence yet not drowning out any of the other instruments, and completely avoiding any chances of sounding cheesy. Other than the usual symphonic effects, the band also utilises other sound effects and traditional instruments that underlie the music to ensure that there’s a constant haunting atmosphere.
The innovation of the band is also heard through the incorporation of elements of various other genres in the music as well, such as the neo-classical piano that can be spotted throughout the album. The high presence especially on Legea Strabunilor is interesting to say the least, and provides a rather different experience to other symphonic black metal bands that I have encountered thus far. Sound samples are also utilised suitably, such as the marching on Sambata Apelor, enhancing the overall listening experience.
The band does not neglect their traditional extreme metal elements though. The riffs that are unleashed by Corb are ballsy and aggressive, and at times remind listeners of fellow viking-themed bands such as Amon Amarth with a more black metal feel, such as on Vatra Stramoseasca, though his lead guitar style varies rather widely, with moments that even border melodic death metal. The black metal feel is further backed up by the shrieking vocals of Lycan, somewhat reminiscent of vocalists like Shagrath, sending chills down the listener’s spine. The alternating between the high-pitched shrieks and growls in the album also provide a nice contrast, giving a fuller sound to the songs. These elements all add up together to make Sub Semnul Lupului an extremely enjoyable journey, managing to keep me engaged throughout the album.