Sinister – Syncretism (Massacre Records)

Tuesday, 21st February 2017
Rating: 8/10

A staple in the death metal genre for over 25 years at this point, Sinister is a band that has had their ups and downs. Nothing too extreme in either direction, but after three rock solid albums (from Cross the Styx up to Hate) they seemed to fade further into obscurity. A number of albums since then have been “good” death metal albums, but one might tend to think the band’s best days were behind them. Syncretism may make you think otherwise.

While the Sinister formula is of the tried and true, and relatively guessable at this point in the game by anyone who has followed their material, Syncretism bucks the odds by feeling much more reinvigorated and deadly than you may expect. Something about the combination of the solid, but not too perfect production, intense yet catchy death metal riffs, interesting solos, and fiery growls just hits the death metal sweet spot. There’s the same level of energy that made their first few albums such underappreciated gems back in the day. Some good grooves (“Dominance By Acquisition” has a Cannibal Corpse “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” vibe at its beginning) mixed in with the tendency to speed ahead (“The Canonical Rights”) to keep the vision of death metal one that sticks to the conventions but is impressively done. It’s tightly focused on writing songs at its core, and for that it’s rather successful, and never succumbs to the feeling of homogeny.

There’s nothing overly complicated about it – straight ahead death metal with the brutality button pressed down. Enough melody to tide you over without compromising the attack as well. Sinister have come up with another likely underrated gem that should satisfy those seeking some pure, unadulterated death metal.

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