Zăul moș by Syn Ze Șase Tri

Release date: September 29, 2017
Label: Code 666

Syn Ze Șase Tri may not be a band you’ve heard of before. The name of this band from Romania translates to ‘I am with triple six’ and singing in their native language about historic themes, they have remained in the shadows. That might change with their brand new album Zăul moș. Granted, the theatrics and artistic choices may not be particularly shaped for an international crowd, but their music is rather captivating.

The band from Timișoara has been around for a good 10 years now with only guitarist Alex G. Mihai, stage name Corb, as continuous member. The group has released three albums before and Zăul moș is the fourth, telling of Ancient Dacian Legends from their motherland Transylvania. Their artwork is a whole different story. This is the result of a Dungeons & Dragons playing spray paint fanatic going at it on the side of his van. The albums all hold the same figure and theme, but this time the level of cheesy is up high. There’s a recognisable continuity though, and that works for them.

‘Tărîmu de lumină’ is rich with operatic singing, booming spoken word passages and eerie synths, to create an overwhelming experience. When the vocals burst loose in a grand and wild fashion, we get that big sound you’ll find in a lot of rock groups from Eastern Europe. The music is a twirling sensation of folky keys and blistering guitar works, while the drums are pounding out a solid pattern where this intricate dance takes place upon. The fierce grunts and pitched screams are the rough edge this symphonic metal mayhem needs. This is actually where the band excels, at keeping a balance between the tough sounding metal parts and slick symphonic side, without slipping to either. This makes their sound one that is continually peaking, offering very little respite for the listener. ‘Dîn negru gînd’ is like a five minute sprint!

The key loops are sometimes mildly off putting. On ‘De-a dreapta omului’ I seriously wonder who put that half cup of Twilight Force in the batter for this cake. The sprightly, happy flutterings on that keyboard are merrily out of place. Still, it’s a minor detail for this record, which has little issues on the front of quality. The thing is though, that Syn Ze Șase Tri has a habit of going too far out in the polishing of their records and sometimes that just becomes too clear. On the title track the guitars sound as if they’re made in a Chinese factory and every note is so measurably cut that the song loses any organic feel it might have held. That is a shame, but the band regains my faith in the next few songs. ‘Plecăciune zăului’ is a grand, theatrical ballad, with a lady offering vocals for powerful duet. This is where the antics of the band really come out best and most convincing in my view and the sound gets to do what it does best. You can almost see classical ballrooms, grand palaces and beautiful garments of a bygone age during this song.

At this point the record becomes quite good, also because these songs have more of a flow to them and thus the album ends on a high note, filled with soaring passages. Overall Syn Ze Șase Tri offers a lot of Dimmu Borgir worship with maybe a little bit of Bal Sagoth meets Suidakra elements thrown in. Should you check this album? If any of that appeals to you and the idea of Transylvanian operatic black metal warms your heart, give them a go.

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