Thursday, 8 September 2011

Sinister - Cross the Styx

Sinister - Cross the Styx (NUCLEAR BLAST - LP 1992)
Here's an album I have so many great memories with, that I still feel it's one of my all time favorites and also it's actually one of the first death metal full lengths that I've heard in my life. I had a tape version of it years ago (when I was 12 or something, in about 1992!) and it was a masterpiece in my opinion. Nowadays I own a vinyl and this music still shreds me to dust. "Cross the Styx" is one of the best death metal albums in the history and one which doesn't get old at all. To some point it reminds me Vader's "The Ultimate Incantation" - not only musically, but also because I think both bands' debuts are the best albums in their long discographies, rivaled only by "Hate" on Sinister's side and "De Profundis" on Vader's. Never again neither Vader or Sinister managed to capture that dark and sinister (hehe) feeling ever again and never again the song writing was so magnificent and the riffs so slaughtering. To me, these two LPs are milestones of European death metal.
Already the opening intro of "Cross the Styx" (composed by Atrocity's Alex Krull) brings chills. This is one of the most creepy and dark intros I've heard in my life, one which you'll never forget, even years later you'll still be able to recognize it and make the quick connection with "Cross the Styx". And the music on this album was I think a little bit ahead of its time. There weren't that many bands - in Europe especially - at the time that were playing such ruthless, brutal and at the same time technical death metal. Sinister had technical riffs like Slayer (yeah!!!), was fast and brutal like Monstrosity and Malevolent Creation and had the satanic atmosphere and some riffs that were also reminding me the debut LPs of Deicide and Vader. Put all these influences together and you'll see that even nowadays such a deadly mixture is an ultimate winner. This album is simply fuckin AWESOME! No single song or riff here is out of place, there's nothing on "Cross the Styx" I wouldn't like, each track is like a torture from the Cenobites - skinning you alive with the razor sharp riffs, crushing your bones with the drums and accompanying these tortures with excellent, vicious screams of the vocalist. And Mike van Mastrigt is the best vocalist Sinister ever had. This guy was fantastic and it's a real shame he's not in the band anymore.
The songwriting on "Cross the Styx" is absolutely outstanding. If you listen to such songs as "Doomed" you'll know it's not the average, easily forgettable death metal. This song itself deserves to be praised as one of the best death metal anthems ever, its opening riffing is just excellent, a wonderful introduction to the strongest song on the album, which later turns into much faster riffing slaughter. But as I already said, every track on "Cross the Styx" is strong. "Spiritual Immolation", "Cross the Styx", "Corridors to the Abyss", "Epoch of Denial", "Compulsory Resignation"...Whatever you'll pick up, it's going to massacre you with a tornado of tormenting riffs, many of which are so incredibly fast and vicious that you'll feel an ecstasy when your head fill be chopped off during the maniacal headbanging. And the atmosphere on the album is truly obscure and creepy.
I can't imagine a death metal freak, who doesn't know "Cross the Styx". If you haven't got this album in your collection, then you missed one of the best European death metal LPs in the history. I can definitely advise you to get it on vinyl or first press CD, as the reprint (on digipack with "Diabolical Summoning" second album) looks just bad and cheap. So, join the torment!
Best songs: "Doomed", "Corridors to the Abyss", "Epoch of Denial", "Compulsory Resignation" and the rest of the album!


Final rate: 97 / 100

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