With a sound rooted in folk and classical music, Belarussian band Synaxaria offer up a deep, atmospheric and dreamy rock meets metal offering that they describe as “romantic melodic metal.”
The core of the Minsk band is married couple Dzmitry (vocals and guitars) and Natallia Kramoushchanka (vocals and keyboards), who played music together in their youth through the 2000s. Around ten years ago they started a project that still exists as Synaxaria, with assistance from various musicians.
As Dzmitry tells us: “Natallia and I grew up in the same subcultures, this was and is our life, so we understand each other well in what we want to do. In many ways, Synaxaria is a reflection of our life path, our thoughts and impressions.
“We are mainly a studio project. Due to the specific situation with music in our country, it’s difficult to find musicians with the appropriate professional level for our band. There are many people who have played with us over the years as permanent or session musicians. Therefore, we try to compensate for this with studio work including real live music, with minimal involvement of midi. I’m a multi-instrumentalist, and I can and like to work in studio with a variety of musical instruments.”
Intriguingly, Synaxaria’s music is inspired by the cultural and historical landscapes of the former European state the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, of which Belarus is now part.
As Dzmitry explains: “Previously, our lyrical themes were associated with personal relationships, psychological reflections on this. Our first album ‘Sadness Of Memories’ was written in this vein. But for a long time we have been devoting our work to those mystical impressions that we get from history, legends, and nature. We always take real, not fantasy things as a basis. To show that this wonderful world of our history and culture is not an illusion, but our real foundation. This is what we should remember and know.”
Their latest release is last year’s EP Forest Path, which opens with the mystical laid-back title track and three re-imagined tracks from their second album Oldtime Misery, which was released in 2019. Forest Path, the track, picks up pace as guitars come in alongside Natallia’s vocals and develops into a delicious guitar solo. The EP shows the band’s ability to mix various genres and sounds, including the excellent Our Summer Is Gone. It opens with a cool darting riff and backing vocals before kicking into an atmospheric instrumental section. A light verse feeds into a powerful chorus before a big guitar solo takes over. Give it a listen below:
Oldtime Misery offers a deeper look into the Synaxaria sound, including the intriguing Thousands of Ways. It features almost whispered vocals through the verse before launching into a faster, heavier dual-vocal chorus. It also features the lively The Lost Gold, intriguing Cherry Blood and excellent near seven minute long opener Fairy Oldtime Misery. But a personal favourite is Path to the Oak, which opens with dramatic instrumentals and drops into a trademark light verse. It slowly builds to a powerful conclusion that includes a cheeky guitar solo.
The Synaxaria sound takes a broad range of influences, from classical and folk music to extreme metal. As Dzmitry tells us: “You can name almost any direction in music and I’ll call my favorite artists there. Likewise, in our discography there are songs that were influenced by the band Texas, and there are some that were influenced by Wintersun or Borknagar. The band Amorphis and a lot of Finnish and Scandinavian metal music also have a great professional and creative influence for us. Also, our native soil and culture has an influence. Such Belarusian groups like Gods Tower or Vicious Crusade inspired us.”
We’ve featured two additional Belarussian bands in the last few years, Weesp and Belle Morte, who are both excellent bands but sadly the country’s music scene doesn’t appear to be in the best of health.
As Dzmitry explains: “I have watched the metal culture of our country for over 20 years and I can say that it’s progressing very poorly. At the beginning of the 21st century, metal was underground in Belarus. This was ignored by the official culture and the media; it wasn’t respected by most of the people in our country. But there was a lot of human enthusiasm in the underground community in those days. Unfortunately, since then, metal in our country has only become less listened to. Metalists have almost no good clubs, promoters, labels, or large audiences. There is no question of any kind of earnings at all. Good musicians often leave metal bands for playing pop cover-bands or cut off from music. Once we thought that our difficulties were temporary and we’ll live like a normal European country soon – with big festivals, clubs, music industry. But no progress has been made for over 20 years already. I’m sorry, but I can see it’s pretty sad here.
“It doesn’t make much sense to talk about our new bands, because you never know if they will exist in a year. In the 2010s, we had a lot of young bands who posed as ‘new metal stars,’ and today they are already in IT offices, because they pay more. Therefore, I’ll tell you some names of bands that have become our time-tested classics – Gods Tower, Vicious Crusade, Asguard, Evthanazia, Diathra. You can easily find them on YouTube and streaming sites . They are wonderful original bands that deserve to represent Belarussian metal.”
Synaxaria are currently working on their album, which promises to be a colourful and conceptual work based on the history and legends of their homeland.
And Dzmitry adds: “- I think (I hope) everyone who loves conceptual melodic atmospheric metal with an interesting cultural background will be able to enjoy our music. Our land is an interesting and distinctive part of Europe, and we would like to present our impressions of it. So we invite you to our official resources, which are available in almost all social networks and streaming. There you can find something interesting for your ears, mind and soul.”