Sinner – Brotherhood (Atomic Fire Records)

Monday, 25th July 2022
Rating: 8.5 / 10

Not many bands can say they have a forty-year recording history – well, that’s the case now for German heavy metal act Sinner through this latest record Brotherhood. The 18th studio album, bassist/vocalist Mat Sinner has established credibility and friendships that endure for a lifetime. Guitarist Tom Naumann has been with the band for 35 years, rounding out the main lineup with second guitarist Alex Scholpp and drummer Markus Kullmann. Add in a host of special guests across bands like Benediction, Eclipse, Evergrey, Kamelot, and even Ralf Scheepers from Mat’s other main act Primal Fear, and you have the makings for a star-studded affair, delivering eleven blistering originals plus a closing bonus cover track for the physical edition that may be a surprise to some.

Stretching out their versatility this go around, you will hear a mixture of influences from the 70’s and 80’s coalescing into a strong, vibrant production model that keeps things in a more current context rather than using purely throwback tones. Mat’s affinity for Thin Lizzy in terms of specific Phil Lynott-like vocal charms and those indelible twin guitar harmony aspects allow listeners to champion “Gravity” and the title track, while the Ozzy-like guitar squeals and pocket drumming make “Reach Out” an early favorite. At 7:25 “The Last Generation” is the longest track for the record, the stirring mid-tempo riffs and lower register verses unfold into this epic cascade of culturally-driven instrumental propulsion, the orchestration and vocal harmonies adding to the moving hooks. You get the feeling that Sinner has a lot to say in an aggressive, straightforward heavy metal fashion – “Bulletproof” a call to arms opener, while “The Man They Couldn’t Hang” contains the right explosive rhythms and persistent double kick mechanics that Painkiller-oriented Judas Priest mavens live for. Celebrating the underdogs and unity at a time when the world needs hope and belief, the bonus track “When You Were Young” puts The Killers on the Sinner radar screen, probably turning many metalheads onto a band that only thought this act was good for “Mr. Brightside”.

When looking at the catalog of Sinner, Brotherhood has a sharper bite than most of their recent catalog – taking on a bit of The Nature of Evil or There Will Be Execution qualities but bringing them up to 2022 standards. For those who’ve missed the heavier side while still being melodic and catchy as hell, this could be a welcome addition to your collection.

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