Sinsaenum - Echoes Of The Tortured - (8/10)
Published on August 2, 2016
Sinsaenum in the membraenum
Supergroups are becoming all too common in the current era. However, even given today’s abundance of side-projects and eyebrow-raising collaborations, Sinsaenum offer a curious prospect. Lead by current Dragonforce bassist and renowned six-stringer, Frédéric Leclercq; the band is rounded-out by ex-Slipknot / current-VIMIC drummer Joey Jordison, legendary Mayhem vocalist Atilla Csihar, former-Dååth and Chimaira vocalist/programmer Sean Zatorsky, Loudblast guitarist Frédéric Leclercq and Seth’s Heimoth C. Krueger on bass. What’s most intriguing about Sinsaenun however, is that Echoes Of The Tortured is an impressive slab of blackened death metal that far-outshines1 anything that any of its formidable line-up have put out for the better-part of ten years.2
Sinsanum play a brand of groove-heavy blackened death metal, which takes its cues (variably) from the likes of pre-Satanist-era Behemoth, later Satyricon and mid-period Dimmu Borgir—among (many) others. The interlude track “Excommunicare” sounds strikingly similar to Dimmu Borgir’s “Mourning Palace”, while “Army Of Chaos” brings to mind the best of Satyricon’s Volcano; and the similarities don’t stop there. “Inverted Cross” has a suitably Deicide(an) feel to it, and “Army Of Chaos” provides a convincing cross section between Goatwhore and Cradle Of Filth at their most volatile. Rather than mere imitation however, Sinsaenum manage to craft these influences into something that, although not wholly original, exudes its own personality, and which is executed to such a high standard as to stand firmly on its own two feet.3
Even though it only clocks-in at just over an hour, Echoes Of The Tortured comprises twenty-one tracks, with every track besides “Condemned To Suffer” being introduced by a separate interlude, and one can’t hep but feel there’s a more developed/focussed record in there somewhere. As much as the band might have wanted each song to have “a breath to let the listener digest what they just heard before [Sinsaenum] take [them] on another journey”, the net result—especially given so many instances of the device—is a significant loss of impact and momentum. The interludes are kept fairly short, which prevents them from becoming too intrusive. However, given that Sinsaenum’s greatest strength and appeal lies in their ability to streamline extreme genre tropes into something a bit more direct and accessible than their influences, one can’t help but feel they’re harmful to the overall experience, or at least could have been worked into the main tracks somehow. Having listened to the album with the interludes removed, I can vouch that it makes for a much improved listening experience, with each track building upon the momentum of the former to create something altogether more powerful, rather than stopping and resetting at the start of each song.
Echoes Of The Tortured might not be a perfect release, but—besides having the worst band name since “Scar The Martyr” or “VIMIC”4—there isn’t a whole lot to fault about it. The entire band is simply on fire with this release, delivering outstanding performances across the board. However, particular praise must be saved for Jordison, who proves not only is he back in the game—after suffering from severe spinal inflamation—but also that he’s damn near at the peak of his powers. With a bit of trimming and refinement, the extreme metal world could have something pretty special on its hands with Sinsaenum—from perhaps the least likely of all places.5
1 Can black metal “shine”?
2 Zatorsky is the possible exception to this rule; seeing as Dååth’s last, self-titled album (2010) is certifiably kickass.
3 Or, rather, twelve; as the case may be.
4 Not to mention “Loudblast” before that…
5 Y’know, apart from like Katey Perry or Miley Cyrus or something like that. Although, then again… #TaylorSwiftForBlackMetalEmpress