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Wednesday 8 March 2017

Reviews: Sinister, Striker, Unearthly Trance (Reviews By Rich)

Sinister: Syncretism (Massacre Records)

Dutch death metal veterans Sinister strike hard with their twelfth album Syncretism showing that old school death metal is still very much alive and well in 2017. Sinister are true veterans of the death metal scene with the band forming in 1988 and their early albums are seen as some of the most defining albums of the genre. With Syncretism the band maintain their legacy and release what is sure to be one of the finest death metal releases of 2017. Syncretism combines all the classic traits of death metal - razor sharp riffs, deep murky bass, chaotic drumming with plenty of blast beats and double kick plus the ultra guttural vocals of frontman Aad Kloosterwaard. Also in place are some very nice symphonic passages which add a nice atmosphere of dread to the music whilst at the same time doesn't detract from the brutality of the music. This is especially effective in opening song Neurophobic where the symphonics slowly and gradually build up before the guitars kick in with a riff so savage that you may be decapitated if standing too close to your speakers. Syncretism isn't a groundbreaking album but it is testament to a band like Sinister that even with their twelfth album they still have the ability to release death metal of this quality and intensity. 8/10

Striker: S/T (Record Breaking Records)

Canadian metallers Striker return with their self-titled fifth album and if you are a fan of old school heavy metal from the 1980's then you seriously need to hear this album. Striker is chock full of fist pumping heavy metal anthems with uplifting choruses, earworm hooks and flashy lead guitar solos aplenty. There is also a bit of a Sunset Strip glam metal influence running throughout which helps the album sound almost authentically 80's. Tim Brown impresses with his flashy guitar playing as does vocalist Dan Clearly with his impressive melodic yet restrained vocals. There are no OTT banshee wails to be heard here. This is the first time I have heard Striker and I am breathtakingly impressed. This album manages to both sound like a wonderful throwback to the 1980's yet sound inventive and modern at the same time. This is definitely an album to be played on a Friday or Saturday night with the volume cranked up and a beer in hand. Absolutely stunning anthemic party metal which demands you pump your fist and bang your head. 9/10

Unearthly Trance: Stalking The Ghost (Relapse)

Stalking The Ghost is album number six for Unearthly Trance and the first since their reformation in 2015. With a seven year gap between albums Stalking The Ghost was a highly anticipated release by doom/sludge/stoner fans and on the whole it delivers. Unearthly Trance pretty much pick up from where they left off and have released an album of dense and bludgeoning doom/sludge metal. The riffs on this album are straight up nasty complimented by a heavyweight rhythm section and the truly vicious vocals of Ryan Lipynsky. There are also influences from old school black metal and post-metal especially in the dark atmosphere throughout some of the songs. This dark oppressive atmosphere combined with the savagery of the riffs makes these songs sound like they are about to burst with violence. The downside to this album is that all the finest tracks are on the first half of the album with the second half of the album gradually losing steam (and my interest) as it went on. That being said this is still a damn good album and recommended to those who like the nasty side of doom and sludge metal. 7/10

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