Winter of Sin – Violence Reigns Supreme (Cyclone Empire)

Sunday, 23rd March 2014
Rating: 8/10

Instantly a player in the extreme metal game thanks to the addition of ex-God Dethroned mainman Henri “The Serpent King” Sattler, Netherlands-based Winter of Sin make good on their lineup expansion with Violence Reigns Supreme, their fourth album, and first in six years. Sattler’s involvement should be tempered – he’s not the primary songwriter here, but, his venomous rasp lends some serious pizazz to compositions of the melodic black/death variety, putting the band in the same category as Dissection and a more streamlined Naglfar circa 1998. Not bad company to be in.

The band’s tunes- often brazen, but controlled – exist primarily on the aforementioned melodic platforms. Tremolo-picked riffs log the most air-time here, starting with opener “Astral Death Reign Algorithm,” and the excellent “Eternal Winter,” both of which don’t feel the need to over-exert themselves by pushing the tempo envelope. Such an ability to corral riffs that normally spiral out of control (see any number of liner black metal bands who play at unbelievable speeds) is one of the defining factors of the album’s ten selections – this is mostly a song-first display.

Sattler has his moments on the title track and “Unleash Mayhem,” but one has to get the feeling he’s fine with being a role player in Winter of Sin. And while his vocals are immediate enjoyment (not to mention nostalgic for the GD brood), it’s the harmonious handle on black/death that helps put Violence Reigns Supreme over the top. An instant winner in the blackened death metal field all the way.

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