Saturday, 31 March 2018

Sinister - Afterburner

SINISTER - Afterburner (NUCLEAR BLAST - CD 2006)
If I can be honest, I kind of lost interest in Sinister music in recent years. This band is very productive, I know that, and released quite many albums. But I just stopped caring for them at some point, maybe because each next album was "just another Sinister" and none would get even close to the greatness of such "Cross the Styx" or "Hate". Sinister's debut LP shows everything the best this band has ever had to offer killer songs from start to finish, truly incredible riffs, one of the most evil and vicious death metal of the 90's. I love every fuckin sound from it. Obviously, it's not the only album from Sinister discography I like, but it's the one, which is best for me.  
I think that the last Sinister record, which really stands out for me is "Afterburner". Released in 2006, it was a true return to form, especially after that pile of crap, which "Savage or Grace" was. It also introduced new line up, in which Aad Kloosterwaard switched from drums to the vocals, and new drummer filled in. It's one of those albums, which I can say presents the highest quality, without any seconds of fillers or boredom. And in many ways, I like to think that "Afterburner" is just as good as "Diabolical Summoning" or "Hate", so it's worthy successor of these albums and an important piece of this band's discography. 
That it is Sinister, not any other death metal band, you can notice right from the very first song. Sinister is a band, which always had its own style and identity, which you cannot mistake with any other act. And it's awesome that despite the line up changes, especially the guitarists, "Afterburner" still sounds like classic Sinister, so the new members learned this style perfectly. On "Afterburner" you can hear all these specific, vicious and aggressive riffs, all these characteristic arrangements, song structures and ideas, which follow the recipes first created on the demos and early records. What's great is that "Afterburner" instead of sounding repetitive and tired, still sounds fresh and fantastic. Every song bursts with passionate energy and power that shall crush the walls. Every song is filled with impressive, killer riffage (fairly technical, yet memorable somehow), I love the feeling they have and how memorable, yet aggressive this stuff is. This whole content is nicely diverse, tempo wise there's plenty of fast, as well as slower parts and what I love is that there are even some melodic bits included here and there, what gives the music an extra flavour. Oh, just check "The Grey Massacre" and how brilliantly they included that well know musical theme there. Killer result and fantastic song. Check also "Flesh of the Servant", which has a bit of Nile-esque type of harmony. So you can hear that Sinister tried to include some different ideas, which would make their style fresher and not so repetitive... And they did it incredibly well, in many songs here. 
And finally I am happy to say that Add did great job as a vocalist, surely better than Rachel Heyzer, who didn't sound brutal enough for me. I have just nothing to moan about here, for me this is just one of the finest moments in Sinister career. I really recommend it. If only the artwork for it was better... I hate that photoshoped crap on it. 
Standout tracks: "The Grey Massacre", "Flesh of the Servant", "Afterburner" 
Verdict: 80/100 

Scythian - To Those Who Stand Against Us...

SCYTHIAN - To Those Who Stand Against Us... (NECROTERROR - CD 2009 / BLOOD HARVEST - LP 2011)
I'm quite surprised that this album seems so overlooked, because "To Those Who Stand Against Us..." belongs to my favourite debut records of recent years. British Scythian really nailed it and delivered truly impressive and memorable piece of epic black / thrash / death metal. It's one of those albums, which I can listen to over and over again, for days. And it never gets boring, it never starts to annoy me. It's the opposite - it makes me hungry for more! 
So, what is Scythian like? Well, to some it's just a band, which sounds very close to the likes of Destroyer 666, Razor of Occam or Gospel of the Horns. It's true that the Australian scene must have inspired Scythian strongly, but I don't think it's something necessary to moan about. That's because "To Those Who Stand Against Us..." sounds incredibly well and I think that this album matches the quality of the infamous "Unchain the Wolves", "Phoenix Rising" or "A Call to Arms". For me there's the same quality of songwriting, excellent riffage, fantastic wild performance, atmosphere and aggression. Just memorable and best extreme metal I can think of. It's even more noticeable that such a good album came from an unknown band and this is their first full length, prior to which they only did one demo. 
I called this album an epic black / thrash / death metal. Believe or not, but that's exactly how I feel it sounds. There's blackened atmosphere and viciousness, with raspy vocals of S.Wrath. The riffs have sometimes almost a thrashing sharpness and aggression, but also old school death metal feel at times similar to the early Morbid Angel. Everything sounds savage, violent, the music is roaring with great, powerful force. Yet it also has a strong epic feel. There are plenty of more atmospheric parts, some of which even remind me the likes of classic Bathory and Absu. There are some keyboards in the background to some of these fragments, which obviously give more dark aura. And damn, it's fantastic how many of these riffs are just catchy and memorable, that they stick in your head and you know that they're gonna stay in there for good. I can mention songs such as "Pray to War", "Shattered Idols" (evoking the great Bathory spirit), "Ares Guide My Blade" (which is so vicious and fast!) and "Kurgan Funeral Chant" and they all are insanely brilliant. From start to finish, we have 45 minutes of excellent music, which I cannot recommend enough.  
Just as I wrote in the beginning, this is one of the best debuts in many years for me. An instant classic, as good as "Phoenix Rising" and other such killer records. There's fire in these sounds, at the same time it sounds fresh and not like something what was over-done by other bands before. They had a perfect formula and used it in the best possible way. Strong support! A must to have for sure!!! 
Standout tracks: "Pray to War", "Shattered Idols", "Kurgan Funeral Chant" 
Verdict: 90/100