Being new to the band, never even hearing their name before, I was greatly anticipating what to expect having been told it was “old school death metal”. Brutal cover? Check. Mystical song titles? Check. A discography dating back to 1989? Check. Sinister band name? Errr… check.
All boxes ticked, the opening track came on and a sudden wave of anxiety hit comes: a synthy organ playing an overly dramatic progression, almost like a funeral march, comes into play like an intro for a cheesy power metal album…
However, as soon as the death metal that had been promised kicked in with the second track “Unheavenly Domain”, all doubts were quickly drained. Crunchy guitars and full, loud drums going at fast pace, locked into an unstoppable groove while rough, deep vocals grunt over along the top – a signature sound that is echoed through the likes of Nile, Behemoth and Dying Fetus. They manage to keep the old school death metal essence, but give it a high quality sound, and not only does it sound good, but do the approaches to song structures and the ideas that get thrown at you.
In particular, at one point in the track “Crown Of Thorns”, Sinister seem to set up for the classic Slayer style of a quick-pause-and-bursting-into-all-out-speed – a trend that seems commonplace in death/thrash metal, almost warning listeners when to start the moshpits or to challenge you to headbang in time. Sinister do NOT abide, but instead the gap is even longer than you expect, catching you off-guard when this suffocating mid-pace guitar/bass groove with double-kicks comes into play. It’s just refreshing and heavy; enough to make you sigh with satisfaction.
And that is what this album is about: turning against the grain of what is expected of death metal bands, defying the norm of modern bands that has turned them into a forgettable series of blastbeats and muted tremolo riffs. There are plenty of riffs that will get you revisiting the album; and even more that will get you air-guitaring as you pull your best Phil Anselmo face. It’s brutal, it’s creative and it’s stubborn – what more do you want in modern old school death metal?
01. Gates Of Bloodshed
02. Unheavenly Domain
03. Transylvania (City Of The Damned)
04. My Casual Enemy
05. Crown Of Thorns
06. The Carnage Ending
07. Oath Of Rebirth
08. Regarding The Imagery
09. Blood Ecstacy
10. Defamatory Content
11. The Final Destroyer
01. Spit On Your Grave [Whiplash Cover]
02. Succubus [Massacre Cover]
03. Swing Of The Axe [Possessed Cover]
04. Dethroned Emperor [Celtic Frost Cover]
05. Face Fate [Bloodfeast Cover]
Adrie Kloosterwaard – Vocals
Dennis Hartog – Guitars
Bas Brussaard – Guitars
Mathijs Brussaard – Bass
Toep Duin – Drums