Syn Ze Sase Tri: Stăpîn Peste Stăpîni

Blackened symphonic Romanians prove slightly out of key

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The wave of mediocre, Dimmu Borgir-inspired symphonic black metal bands that sprang up around a decade ago has (mercifully) largely buggered off, leaving a handful of better acts behind.

Romanians Syn Ze Sase Tri are clearly rather close to the Norwegians, with their grandiose theatrics carrying some of that weird eeriness – albeit warped into their own template.

This album, their third, and the final chapter of a trilogy, is their most articulate and individual to date, with some fiery riffage underpinning the synthesised orchestration over the top. There are, sadly, a few flaws: the falsetto clean vocals in Al Din Ochi De Apa are an error, and an irritating one at that, and the sub-Fleshgod operatic soprano in Scrijelit În Piatra sounds out of place.

It also suffers badly from the huge advances in symphonic metal production values in recent years, as this sounds thin and – fatally – fake by modern standards. A shame, as this comes close to being very good./o:p