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Long time German heavy metallers, Sinner, are back after a 4-year absence to bring us their new CD entitled ‘Mask Of Sanity’. Sinner was formed way back in 1980, founded by the band’s namesake, Matt Sinner, who plays bass and is the lead vocalist. Since their debut was released in 1982, 2007’s ‘Mask Of Sanity’ is the band’s 15th studio album. And if you want to be really technical, you could say it is their 16th CD if you include Matt Sinner’s solo CD, which was released in 1990 and basically included the members of Sinner.
Sinner’s sound has pretty much had the same formula from 1982 to now; straightforward European heavy metal. Nothing spectacular or new, no gimmicks, but still solid nevertheless. The band has become more popular within the last 10 years, due largely to Matt Sinner’s other metal band, Primal Fear. Sinner and Primal Fear will always be connected due to similarities in sound, and that some of the members of both bands have played for both bands, including Tom Naumann (who plays guitar for both bands), Klaus Sperling (drums) and Henny Wolter (guitar).
Sinner’s last 2 CDs, 2000’s ‘The End Of Sanctuary’ and 2003’s ‘There Will Be An Execution’, were very good and it seemed that the band had improved greatly (with maybe a hint of competitiveness with Primal Fear), thus putting a somewhat high expectation on their new release. I can tell you that ‘Mask Of Sanity’ is indeed another solid offering of European heavy metal. The sound on the CD now sounds even more like Primal Fear, which I guess was expected considering Matt Sinner and Tom Naumann play for both bands. That being said, I feel that Sinner’s overall quality is down maybe a notch or 2 compared to Primal Fear.
But enough of the comparisons, let’s talk about the CD. As I mentioned before, ‘Mask Of Sanity’ is a top release, with an excellent array of songs, which range from upbeat rockers to mid-paced melodic monsters. The quality of the tracks are quite consistent over the whole CD, which I found to be impressive. The style and delivery is nothing new, but seriously who really cares, as I don’t find it important when a band’s sound is in such a huge metal genre.
The tracks on ‘Mask of sanity’ which got my head banging the most, would include the great opening song “The Other Side”, the mid-paced rocker “No Return” and the speedy “Last Man Standing”. Other tracks which I thought were very good, would be “Badlands”, “Black”, “The Sign” and “Under The Gun”. I must say that I couldn’t really find any weak tracks on the CD, which is a bonus for sure.
There is a lot of things to like and enjoy on this release and I urge you to check it out. If you liked what you heard from Sinner’s last 2 CDs, then ‘Mask Of Sanity’ will definitely please you. If you are new to Sinner, then there is no time like the present to finally hear what they are about. And of course, those fans of Primal Fear and other band’s like them, will certainly revel in this strong effort by Sinner.
What do you think of Sinner? Heavy? Power? Old? New? Good? Bad? Well, whatever you may have thought so far won’t change with this album either. Sinner has come up with an album which can be expected from them. No surprises, no cheers, no disappointment. Mask of Sanity is a typical Sinner album played mid-tempo with a crystal clear production.
Matt Sinner’s vocals are still as harsh as they used to be. However, this harshness is something natural to him. He doesn’t sing aggressively but instead he sings as if he’s somewhat sleepy. The guitars are OK. Aside from well-composed guitar leads, we can hear many guitar licks, typical of Sinner. The drums are controlled and away from confusing attractions. The bass drum sound is very soft. The hi-hat is kind of strange. I don’t know why but it might be due to the production. It sounds as if the cymbals are open wider that they should be. This is a small spot on a clean drum sound.
I resemble this album to Pink Cream 69 – In10sity album. The tempo is even similar. The major difference is the vocals. The mid-tempo air falls down to a ballad in the 10th track but the finale is a rather up-tempo song called “The Last Man Standing”.
All in all, this is a nice album. Maybe it’ll improve on the second or further listening, but I’m not sure that you’ll feel the need to listen to it over and over. Normally, I’d give a higher point to a band for keeping his style and original sound. Nevertheless, since we do not expect a change from Sinner from now on, all we can hope is always a step forward, not a deadlock.