I missed the first two parts of this trio of releases from Romanian blackened power metal thrashers Syn Ze Șase Tri so the big question was always going to be: would I be stirred into checking out the first two after immersing myself in this one. Anyone who has listened to Tengger Cavalry, the closest comparison I can come up with for this lot, will know what I mean when I say this is quirky and slightly undefinable. The above description is a bit of a mouthful but to call this black metal of any sort, as I’ve seen referenced in some places, is a bit misleading. Power metal with lots of galloping bass lines and pagan odes amid lashings of death metal growling and racing riffs – all slightly charred rather than black. A similarly frenetic if more accessible version of Bal-Sagoth with all the lo-fi keyboards and orchestral meandering. If you can’t tell by now, these guys pay no heed to the whims of musical fashions or mainstream acclaim. It’s leather jerkins and oversized battle axes all the way.
No doubt all that is either left your stomach turning or mouth-watering. “Sounds a bit like early Turisas,” some of you may even be thinking. But am I ready to start shelling out cold hard cash for the first two parts just yet? Does it deliver that overwhelming Battle Metal thrill? Well, the first thing I’d say is that Syn Ze (let’s go for a shorter version of the name) is not without its charms. Not as many hooks as their Hun-inspired Mongolian cavalry rivals but certainly they’re present in all their rabble-rousing folky glory. And as the first, heavier part of the album passes they begin to reveal their inner Romanian spirit with folk crooning, pipes and various other instruments all playing a bigger role no doubt clad in some serious loin cloth action. In fact the final three tracks are drenched in the stuff of folk metal and for me that’s when the band works a little better and begins to stand out.
Otherwise what you’re left with is lots of scale dancing riffs and tracks which sometimes begin to merge into one. Sure that’s the bands style – and they certainly have carved out their own niche here. But I was also left feeling like the flashes of brilliance that kept shining through were not quite enough to be planting their roots firmly within my tiny brain just yet. Maybe the three parts should’ve been two and a few more ideas crammed into what remained. But, like I say, there’s definitely something here and I feel like I might be checking out their first two releases at some point during one of those afternoons when You Tube and Bandcamp suck away four hours of our life promising never to return them. Until then I’m glad I checked Syn Ze out but, for the time being, I’ll be parking their chariot in Valhalla’s long stay car park – or whatever might be the Transylvanian equivalent, of course.
(7/10 Reverend Darkstanley)