Metal Church - The Present Wasteland

Death Metal is a very tricky business! I mean, how does anyone really go about it in the year 2010? Do you concentrate on technical skill by providing each of your compositions with layers upon layers of different riffs and rhythmical patterns, an approach that most young bands seems to follow nowadays, or ‘play it safe’ by investing in classic late 80s/early 90s formulae? As with most things in life, the preferable position is somewhere in the middle and yes, there are not many bands out there who can achieve such a fine balance. One of those that do is the Dutch quartet Sinister – a band that started its musical quest in the year 1988 and which has quite recently celebrated the release of its ninth studio album, “Legacy Of Ashes”.

In typical Sinister fashion, what we have here is an album whose duration does not exceed the fifty minute mark and whose track list counts fewer than ten compositions. Coincidence? I don’t believe so! Aad Kloosterwaard’s (vocals) outfit never felt the need to record a composition for the sake of doing so or in order to meet certain standards and that is a good thing also in the case of “Legacy Of Ashes” as there are absolutely no fillers here. The production of the album is modern and pristine, Aad’s vocals once again lead the overall proceedings while Alex Paul’s guitar spews one Slayeric riff after the other. Edwin van den Eeden’s performance behind the drums is absolutely phenomenal – I find that it is his highly intelligent drumming that adds both interest and character to this thirty seven minute gem!

You really understand that Sinister mean serious business from the very start, as the one and a half minute atmospheric intro “Herd Of Damnation” is followed by the truly bombastic “Into The Blind World” – a composition that is founded upon layers of short crispy riffs, excruciatingly fast drum beats and a catchy refrain whose deep throat growls are of such quality that you can easily understand the context behind them without having to rely on reading the lyrics. “The Enemy Of My Enemy” is a song with a double identity, as the first part is mid tempo and riff-orientated, whereas the latter constitutes fast riffing and blast beats. “Anatomie Of A Catastrophe” is another mid tempo rhythmical piece which proves to be a pleasant interlude to the amazing “Sin Of Sodomy” – a three and a half minute belter whose aggressive but also quite melodic guitar riffs and Cannibal Corpse-sounding refrain are the absolute highlight of the album. Though the success of this composition is not again repeated, the same titled “Legacy Of Ashes” impresses with its clever bass lines, while the much Thrashier “The Hornet’s Nest” will force quite a few heads to bang to its galloping rhythm. “Righteous Indignations” is not the kind of composition that will win you over from the very start but it won’t be long before you are hooked, while the closing opus “The Living Sacrifice” stands as proof that technical efficiency and brutality can happily co-exist in a Death Metal environment.

“Legacy Of Ashes” is an unpredictably cheeky little album, that will almost instantaneously become an attractive proposition to you, providing that you live and breathe all things Death Metal. If, like me, you decide to give it quite a few goods spins, you will be well and truly hooked! That will not be at all difficult to achieve – there are plenty of good quality cut-edge riffs for you to choose from and Edwin van den Eeden’s exquisite drumming will ensure that your adrenaline levels reach sky high! A legend from the past raises hopes for a promising future? Indeed it does…
John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

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