After returning from a hiatus in 2008, America's Sinstorm
have released a single and a demo, all in preparation for the release of their debut full length album, the self-titled Sinstorm
The sound of rain and thunder in the few opening seconds of the album remind me of Dream Theater
's A Nightmare
to Remember (pardon me, for I have been too engrossed in their recent search for a new drummer), and it sets down the mood of the rest of the album - somewhat depressing yet with an omen that something violent is brewing in the background. The listener is not proven wrong as the band goes into breakneck (or as they prefer to call themselves, "vile" melodic black metal) speed. As vocalist Noor begins his vocal onslaught, I can't help but bring about the comparison with Singapore/Nepal
vocalist, Kiew Jay, with the almost Dani Filth
-esque semi-shrieks. Drummer Mike punishes his kit with insanely fast and constant double-bass drumming, not surprising considering his work with his other band, Lightning Swords
The various influences and ideas that the band throws in their music also ensures that the listener is constantly engaged and interested. The soft intro before the breaking into a symphonic passage on Beneath
a Star Long Since Fallen
certainly leaves the listener gasping for breath in the moment of epic-ness in the music. It seems that it is also on this track when the presence of keyboardist Nevada begins to be felt, with the haunting yet beautiful synth provided adding to the overall atmosphere of the song. Unlike most bands as well, there is a balance between the keyboards and the rest of the instruments, with the melodic guitar lines aiding in the creation of the ambient of the music instead of solely relying on the keyboards. On Infernal
Conflagrations bassist Gory is finally given some air time, with the bass line improvising beneath all the chaos presented by the rest of the instruments above, yet this is one of the very few moments given to him.
Sound effects such as the sound of burning wood and haunting voices such as on the interlude Storms of the Heretic Millenium
ensure that the sanity of the listener is constantly challenged, and keeps the spine-tingling mood of the album up.
The disappointment in the album comes as soon as the guitar solos come onto the speaker. While each of the guitar solos display the technical prowess of the guitarists (such as on Immortal Revelations
), at times they seem out of place and incoherent with the rest of the instrument, almost sounding as if the solo is there for the sake of having a solo, or as if the guitarist is doing his own thing while the rest of the band mind their own business. For example, the sweep-picking leads on Transcending Dimensions certainly seemed out of place (and these aren't the only such moments on the track, and on the album) and the song could have certainly been more smooth and easy listening without the presence of these moments.
The cover of Type-O-Negative
's I Don't Wanna Be Me surprisingly manages to capture the essence of the music, the seemingly upbeat vibe in the original song, perhaps due to the still recognisable riffs despite the blackened and highly sped up rendition of the song. The cover of Iron Maiden's The Trooper
though was disappointing, with the riffs becoming unrecognisable, and the keyboards at times overpowering. The speed of the song, while understandable, caused the band to almost sound out of sync and as if they were rushing to catch a speeding train, losing the entire essence of the original.
said, while overall the album contains good ideas and the abilities of the individual band members are obvious, the song and music writing department causes the album to become much less enjoyable, with the many awkward moments.