Sinister - The Post-Apocalyptic Servant - (6/10)
Published on July 3, 2014
First impression of Sinister’s new album, The Post-Apocalyptic Servant: “Great – vintage-sounding, relentless Sinister!” Subsequent listens confirm the vintage-ness, the Sinister-ness, but perhaps there’s just too much of the relentlessness…
Brief history lesson: one of death metal’s formative acts, Sinister started out in 1990 and other than a short hiatus between 2003 and 2006, have been churning out death metal ever since. The only original member of the band still remaining is vocalist Aad Kloosterwaard, who happened to be the drummer on the band’s first few releases when the excellent Mike van Mastrigt was on growling duty. The band split up in 2011, but Aad came back with a new line-up that same year and this is the second release with the current ensemble.
Heavy, fast death metal with guttural, almost exclusively indecipherable vocals is a good summary of The Post-Apocalyptic Servant. The sound is similar, but not the same as on the band’s classic from 1993, Diabolical Summoning, although there’s a riff in ‘The Macabre God’ could have come straight from the recordings of that album.
The songs on this album aren’t bad, but the relentlessness often drags into monotony. A number of tracks have one interesting element, such as a stirring riff, strong chorus or enjoyable guitar solo, but those highlights can be lost among the persistent blasting and unintelligible growls. There are a couple of songs that bring these elements together nicely, offering some let-up from the aural pounding. “The End Of All That Conquers” is a catchy tune with a strong chorus and a good guitar solo. It’s no classic, but it’s decent representation of the genre and a level above most of the tracks on The Post-Apocalyptic Servant.
The clear stand-out, though, is “The Saviour,” which gets your neck muscles going from the start, has great lead guitar and a memorable chorus. This is everything you need in a death metal track and sticks in your head. It might be the only song here that does stick in your head, but it shows that these guys have still got it when they put their minds to it. Well, Aad and his new colleagues, that is.
The double-CD release includes three cover versions. “Fall From Grace” is a great death metal song from a classic death metal album and while this version was never going to quite live up to the brilliant original, it’s a worthy attempt. It injects more speed into the song, so doesn’t have the fantastically evil guitar sound of Morbid Angel and Aad’s vocals don’t reach David Vincent’s greatness, but if anything I prefer the guitar solo in the Sinister rendition. The other covers are just Sinister-ized version of the original tracks, which are interesting if not essential.
This album doesn’t get close to the classic Sinister releases and probably won’t feature in the best of 2014 lists, but it’s professional, well-played death metal with a couple of real highlights.