Mat Sinner is a busy man. Not only is he an integral part of Power Metal heavyweights, PRIMAL FEAR, he also has his new band (actually a regrouping of an old band), EYES OF SHIVA, and his long-running SINNER project. If you’ve never heard SINNER, imagine taking all of the mid-paced, Hard Rock-like moments from PRIMAL FEAR, adding a dash of Blues-swagger, and turning those moments into a band of its own. That’s about what SINNER sounds like, rocking, mid-paced Melodic Metal, with that unable-to-be-faked German attitude/charm. But does that mean it’s any good?
“Mask Of Sanity”, SINNER’s tenth (I believe) studio album, has its moments. Every song has at least one standout guitar solo, which is pretty much standard fair for being a passable band in this genre. The songs are all memorable enough, with nice chorus hooks. But when it comes right down it, “Mask Of Sanity” is just too safe. The album never really gets up and goes, but instead borders on the uninspired, and is overall a disappointment. Come to think of it, and even better description of SINNER on “Mask Of Sanity” than the one above would be: Uninspired recent RAGE. Mat Sinner’s vocals even sound similar to Peavy Wagner’s at times.
But all is not lost. “Thunder Roar” is an up-tempo, double bass cracker that will get our noggin bobbin’. The frantic pacing of “Under The Gun”, along with underlying darker current and sawing riffs, also makes it one of the albums best, and the THIN LIZZY-isms of “Can’t Stand The Heat” are appreciated. But these few tracks aren’t enough to keep “Mask Of Sanity” afloat.
The worst thing about “Mask Of Sanity” is that it isn’t terrible; it’s just kind of there. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the album, but there also isn’t a whole lot that makes it right either. And as I’m sure many other reviewers have stated before, these are the hardest albums to review. With so many other similar albums to be found though, I’d recommend staying away from “Mask Of Sanity” and spending your hard earned money elsewhere.
(Online April 16, 2007)