Expiation, the debut from Italy’s Synapses was a fine slab of controlled tech death metal that focused much more on deliberate grooves and shuddering rhythms rather than the sheer tech death onslaught of many of their peers (Hour of Penance, Logic of Denial etc). Now, three years later, Devoutness has dropped, and while the focus is still the same, the intensity has been raised.

Rather than clinical, noodly tech death, Synapses’ sound is more akin to their nerve firing namesake; djent-y stuttering, shuddering, poly rhythmic and powerful. Obvious comparisons to Meshuggah are abound and well deserved but with more of a death metal lean, especially in the blast furnace growls of Giovanni Canedoli, and the big, burly production, but you can also make comparisons to Decapitated’s post Vitek sound, Soreption,  and even the most recent couple of Pestilence albums.

After “Intro”, “Spiral of Devoutness” explode from the speakers to apparently disregard everything I just said above with a furious blast beat, but soon settles into a stuttering, loping gait littered with some high octane blast and a huge bass drop. And that’s pretty well the mantra for the rest of the album’s 43 minute run time, and it’s seriously impressive. The band’s skill and ability to deliver ample tech death blasts and stop on a dime and delivers some absolutely massive groove or lope in almost every song makes the album a killer, unpredictable listen.

From the opener to “Legates of Tyranny”,   through ” to penultimate bruiser “Sickening Runes”, Devoutness is just a monster of an album.  And it’s not soulless, forgetful tech self absorption. The monolithic grooves and time changes as well as the blasts all have purpose and sense of depth and foot tapping, neck snapping precision. And while single tracks are hard to recall or pick a favorite, the density of many of the album’s moments make it that much more hard hitting when they do drop, even if you don’t remember the song name. A few instrumental moments of clarity like “Hybrid Soul”  break up the crumbling rocks slide of riffs and occasionally the band settle into something, that’s, dare I say, ‘catchy’ (in the very loosest and heaviest sense of the word), such as “Phoenix Condemned”. But for the most part, your are getting some seriously face ripping  blasts (“Expiation”) or thunderous grooves (“Sacrilegious”).

If Terminal Function‘s Clockwork Sky ( its self a fine album also) was a little too nice for your djent-y death metal fix, then look to Devoutness to rattle your fillings and fill a void with some impressive noise.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 12th, 2015


  1. Commented by: Kevin E.

    Oh wow I didn’t even know they had a new one. I loved their last one so def need to check this one out.

  2. Commented by: Gulliame

    Love this.

  3. Commented by: diggedy

    Remembered this band from the deepsend release a few years back which was a cool little album that slipped under my radar. Never hearing of Cimmerian Shade records, I looked up Synapses on bandcamp and sure enough the digital dl is available there for name your price…imma head over there and throw some dollars in their direction. Great writeup by the way, E. Thomas, still one of the best in the metal review biz.

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