Sinister – Dark Memorials (Massacre Records)

Sunday, 16th August 2015
Rating: 6/10

Hitting the 25 year mark for any death metal band is something deserving of a milestone. While Sinister always stood as a band that was a bit underappreciated (particularly their early works – Cross the Styx, Diabolical Summoning, and Hate), they still managed to buck the odds despite a plethora of different members coming in and out of the band. To celebrate the 25th anniversary, the band decided to put together a covers album of their early heroes.

Covers albums can always be tricky, and while there’s not really much wrong with Dark Memorials, there’s nothing truly compelling about it either. Admittedly, it’s a strong collection of killer cuts, with a selection of bands like Slayer, Sepultura, Merauder, Death, and Kreator. But none of them really overpower the original, and while they do have some ‘Sinister-flair,’ they aren’t too far removed from the source material either. That being said, the added thrash power to Repulsion’s “Radiation Sickness” does promote it towards being one of the album’s stronger tracks. Outside of the cover tracks (10 in total), there’s a new intro track and two re-recordings of classic Cross the Styx songs. With a spiffy new production behind them, they are the best two reasons to pick up the album. Both “Spiritual Immolation” and “Compulsory Resignation” feel fresh and are a reminder of why Sinister has lasted 25 years to begin with.

With the strength of the two re-recorded classics, one has to wonder why this wasn’t the overall approach the band would take to celebrate 25 years. A choice selection of some of their earlier material done with a nice, modern (but not too modern) production would have been a grand celebration. Dark Memorials is a novelty if you want to hear Sinister’s take on some older and influential material, but once it wears off, you’ll find yourself going back to the original recordings instead.

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