Sinister - The Carnage Ending

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2012

If there’s a more under-appreciated band in the pantheon of Death Metal’s elite, I’d like to know about them. All Sinister have done is kick ass for 20 years —amidst a small-town phonebook’s worth of lineup changes no less— yet they aren’t spoken of with the same reverence as the Swedish, Floridian, or East Coast all-stars of their era. Taking a look back and realizing that every album has been quality material, you begin to see just how remarkable this run has been. Classics like Diabolical Summoning and Hate shaped my youth, and I will argue that Aggressive Measures deserves consideration for the best-Death-Metal-album-of-all-time conversation. Hindsight reveals I’ve been listening to this record steadily for 14 years! I can practically recite the damn thing from memory! How many Death Metal albums from 1998 can you say that about? True, some records have been better than others, which unfortunately leads into The Carnage Ending. Not a bad record —I don’t believe Sinister could make a bad record if they tried— but it isn’t the one I’ll be reaching for when the day comes that the carnage does end. Once again, lineup tumult factors in. Aad Kloosterwaard (drums 1988-2003, vocals 2005-present) is now the only remaining original member. Even longtime bandmate Alex Paul —who just as recently as 2008’s The Silent Howling wrote all the music and lyrics— is gone now. With respect to Aad and his newly assembled cohorts, you get 110% of what they’ve got. Songs like “Transylvania (City of the Damned),” “Regarding the Imagery,” “Blood Ecstacy,” and the title track sizzle with that familiar Sinister riffing style and Aad’s trademark bestial roar. Newest drummer Toep Duin (ex-Unlord, ex-Melechesh) is a fucking demon from Hell on the kit as well. But in terms of memorability, this can’t even hold a candle to 2010’s Legacy of Ashes. Too much of the LP feels like a legendary band going through their legendary motions… if that makes any sense at all. It ultimately lacks the staying power of their army of classics, which, fairly or unfairly, I’ll always judge them by. Speaking of legendary classics, it might help to track down the Limited Edition for its bonus disc featuring five deadly covers. The best of which include Massacre’s “Succubus,” Possessed’s “Swing of the Axe,” and Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor.”

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