Sinister is one of those bands that (unfortunately) doesn't get quite enough attention. They’ve been plugging away since the late 80’s, with only a short hiatus. And yet, even I have to admit that I had only heard one of their albums prior to this (“Diabolical Summoning”, which is a killer record). The Sinister of today, however, is quite different from that of the past; only founding member Aad Kloosterwaard is left, while everybody else joined the band in 2011. That doesn’t seem to stop these Dutch death metallers, as they’ve created a record that is everything you could want in this genre: brutal, intense, and overflowing with riffs.
Stylistically, the band plays it pretty safe. You aren’t going to hear anything particularly progressive or technical, but that’s exactly what made death metal so great in the first place. The production is definitely more modern than in the past, but that really benefits the band. The riffs on “The Carnage Ending” are highlighted by the fact that they’re fairly loud in the mix and are very crunchy. In addition, the production really brings forth the dynamics of the drums. During blast beats, there is an even sound between the snare and ride (or hi-hat, something rarely achieved in extreme metal), and the constant stream of double-bass is always reinforcing the heaviness of the band. Beyond the stellar production, what surprised me most was the sheer quality of the riffs. The opening track, “Unheavenly Domain”, for example, opens with a relentless intensity that simply does not let up. I also found that the band seems to be taking Cannibal Corpse as a clear influence at points. Some of Sinister’s riffs mimic those slower/mid-paced, dissonant riffs that Cannibal Corpse uses often. Surprisingly, some of the riffs on this record reminded me of another great New York death metal band: Malevolent Creation. Both bands’ music seems like they just want to grab the nearest weapon and bash your head in until you admit they are the pinnacles of death metal.
“The Carnage Ending” by no means reinvents the wheel, but it uses a tried and true formula to produce a very solid death metal record. If you prefer the ultra-modern squeaky-clean tech-death of the day, this probably isn’t the album for you, but anybody who obsesses over the releases from about 1989-1994 will love this record. Pick this one up and prepare for nearly 50 minutes of mayhem!
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"Transylvania (City of the Damned)"
"The Carnage Ending"
4.2/5 or 84%.
Written by Scott Dorfman