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Classic metal glory, well-rounded doom. - 90%

Empyreal, November 22nd, 2009

Like a punch to the nose, shattering bone and tearing flesh, Sinister Realm introduce their brand of rocking, heavy-as-fuck guitar mongering, shout-along choruses, stomping leads and powerhouse drumming. This is a classic heavy metal band in the vein of early Manowar, with its rattling bass and thunking guitars and melodious leads, if they decided to team up with Doomsword to write music. That alone should be enough for you to shut the fuck up, close this website and go buy this fucker.

However, it has come to my attention that some of you may need further persuasion. Thus, let me turn off my objective, critical demeanor, strip myself of any kind of higher literary needs, and just review this album from the perspective of a big fan of this genre.

Just listen to the opening verse of “Machine God,” in which vocalist Alex Kristof belts some of the most triumphant, powerful lines I have heard out of any modern bands. Effective, worldly, concise. And then later on, that “Dying SUN, fading LIGHT…” bit that comes in, with the choir backing and the lead behind it…this, folks, is how you play Heavy Metal. It helps that the leads on this song are reminiscent of the great Slough Feg.

“Demon Seed” is simply better than anything you will ever do. That isn’t to say you cannot move on to write something good, too, but “Demon Seed” is just too damned cool. Listen to that earthshaking riff, and the way the chorus repeats itself over and over, becoming more glorious each time, sung in a slightly bigger, better voice than the last. Or perhaps it is just so good that it simply sounds better to the human ear every time one hears it. “Message from Beyond” is darker and more solemn, carrying a militaristic march to it that evokes early Candlemass as well as any band ever did – and maybe better.

“Mongol Horde” blares through the speakers with a stupidly simple gallop and driving tempo, but it just works, making you bang your head and especially making you feel the Mongol Horde, as Kristof sings, his voice confident and muscular in its clarity. “Enter the Sinister Realm” is an instrumental with delights abound, with wild solos and galloping bass lines and deft guitarwork on all sides, assaulting with the fire of a thousand burning stars. Every song rules – it is just a question of how much?

This is just awesome. It reinforces everything good about classic metal – the riffs are crunchy and heavy and stomp like no tomorrow, the vocals are clean, powerful and masculine (I had to cut the review down to avoid repeating myself in quoting him), the production is great, allowing for the bass to be heard and for every other instrument to have its due clarity, and the whole air, everything about this, is made with metal in heart, soul and mind. Check it out.