Holland's longstanding death metal crew Sinister, while not necessarily as well known as other bands from the Dutch scene such Asphyx and Pestilence, are every bit as enjoyable to listen to, and have stayed consistent in releasing catchy, groove driven death metal (with some fucking cool cover art!!!).
The one question I did have to ask myself however, was "now they have yet another new lineup (except of course mainstay drummer turned vocalist Adrie "Aad" Kloosterwaard), will the new album be as good as their past few?"
Considering the high standard of Sinister's albums since Adrie became vocalist in 2005, this album should tick all the right boxes, as "Afterburner (2006)" and "The Silent Howling (2008)" are among two of my favourite death metal albums. However, 2010's "Legacy Of Ashes" was slightly lackluster by comparison. Now with yet another lineup change, one can only hope that this new incarnation can deliver...
...And for the most part they have. This is pure old school, no frills, balls-out death metal. And it pays off. By keeping things simple the band have stayed catchy and managed to coax several intense headbanging sessions out of me. Some of the grooves on this record really are infectious, such as the intro riffs to "Oath Of Rebirth" and "Defamatory Content", whereas other songs just full on attack with brutality from the offset, a great example being the title track or "Regarding The Imagery". The bass keeps everything on rhythm and the drums have some great fills but stay consistent, keeping the blasts strong and constant and the bass work reliable.
I've personally never understood why the Dutch scene has never gained as much attention among death metal fans, when so many death metal fans are dedicated to the Swedish school and the Florida scene. The Dutch scene has the diversity of nearly every subgenre of death metal and each band executes it well in one way or another. But anyway, I digress...
As with many albums there are filler tracks but these tracks are still well written and performed, the only problem is they don't stick in the mind like some others do on this album. Tracks I would definitely list as album highlights are "Transylvania (City Of The Damned)", "The Carnage Ending", "Oath Of Rebirth" and "The Final Destroyer", with "Blood Ecstasy", "Defamatory Content" and "Crown Of Thorns"" close behind.
I also feel that I should once again talk about the frankly fantastic album art, provided once again by Mike Hrubovcak (vocals for Vile, Abraxas and several more quality US death metal bands), who has provided artwork for the band's last 3 albums. The artwork, like previous Sinister releases before it, really drew me in and intrigued me enough to take another chance on this band after feeling slightly let down with "Legacy Of Ashes". I'm glad I did because this album definitely signals that Sinister are once again on the rise.
This is clearly an attempt to return the band to the form shown on "The Silent Howling" and Kloosterwaard and co. are nearly there, I'm confident that with a bit more time for the musicians to play together and become more cohesive as a unit that Sinister will soon be back on top form.
In the mean time I'm happy to give this album the odd spin over the next few days and let it grow on me. I would definitely recommend giving this album a listen, whether as a fan of the band or just a death metal fan, I'm sure you'll find something to enjoy once it starts to sink in.
Check this out if: You're curious about the diversity of the Dutch death metal scene, you enjoy thrashy death metal with some great groove riffs, or you just want to check out some different death metal bands
For fans of: Malevolent Creation, Benediction, Disincarnate
The Carnage Ending is out now on Massacre Records