Lately I’ve been digging through my CD collection, at the very bottom of it. Not the bottom of quality, mind you, rather CD’s that I’ve listened to a lot in the past but not so much in the present. The first of them were BOLT THROWER’s “The IVth Crusade”, the second one is SINISTER’s “Cross The Styx”, both of them released in 1992. From the very start SINISTER knew how to create potent Death Metal, “Cross The Styx” is the evidence. The drums might sound a bit sloppy but the music is pretty killer anyway. Aad Kloosterward never was the most accomplished drummer, but what he lacked in skill he compensated with passion. Not to forget that he was fully capable of doing it better on stage. I witnessed that. SINISTER live at Wacken somewhere in the past is a concert I’ll never forget. Those who have forgot that concert was either dead drunk or is dead today.
One of the reasons for me picking out “Cross The Styx” for a re-listen is partly because I saw that SINISTER is about to release a new album. I hope they can improve on what they have been releasing lately. I wish them the best of luck.
“Cross The Styx” starts with an intro that won’t leave anyone breathless. For me it’s quite distinct, though, as it is one of the first Death Metal intros I ever heard. When the music kicks in it’s obvious that this isn’t polished Death Metal. It’s almost as far from polished as the early Norwegian Black Metal albums. Much like some of those albums this one has a certain soul. I’m not getting religious on you; I’m just trying to say that it possesses a distinct character. The drums aren’t always hitting at all the right places during a blast beat, but it’s so powerful it makes me smile. In the end the drums are far from bad but let’s not forget that Gene Hoglan also plays drums. Not that he is the best of the blasters but he is a damned fine drummer nonetheless.
The guitar playing on “Cross The Styx” is very intense and equally good. There is always something happening. These guitarists works for their pay, much like me. Not only are the riffs played well, they also throw some vicious solos into the mix. Those who know what SLAYER solos are about should know what I’m talking about.
There is no reason to talk about the bass guitarist because I can’t fucking hear him. So instead I’ll write some lines about Mark van Mastrigt, the vocalist. He has an excellent growl that makes the words comparatively easy to catch. He might be a bit high in the mix, but then again that would be nitpicking an album I really like. I don’t think it should ruin the experience for those new to the album either. I recommend every Death Metal fan to take a listen. This is one of the solid foundations that Death Metal is built upon. I might be a bit biased with all those teenage memories connected to it. Nevertheless I think it has the potential to bring a smile upon the face of those Death Metal fans that didn’t knew about the album in the first place.
(Aad does the vocals on SINISTER’s latest album, “Afterburner”. I just had to add it.) (Online September 10, 2006)