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The Production Almost Ruined It - 90%

mjollnir, April 12th, 2014

Sinbreed is a band that formed in 2008 but has roots going back to 2000 when the band was called Neoshine. This is the band that current Blind Guardian drummer Frederik Ehmke has played for since before joining them. Marcus Siepen was also recruited in 2012 appearing on this, their sophomore release called Shadows. I must say that this is my first exposure to this German quintet and I must say that I'm quite impressed with the musicianship on this album. They play a euro-power metal that you would expect from a band that includes the aforementioned members. What we have here is actually a most enjoyable album loaded with riffs and melodies that are extremely catchy.

"Bleed" gets things going in your typical heavy metal opener way. This is a speedy number with catchy melodies and plenty of good riffing. The chorus is catchy and melodic and the vocalist is quite good. Imagine a wee bit of Jonny Lindqvist(Nocturnal Rites) mixed with a good bit of Danny Cecati (ex-Pegazus) with a Mark Tornillo rasp. This song is full of hooks and the guitar work is massive. We all know what Marcus Siepen is capable of but his partner in crime, Flo Laurin, is really good as well. This is a great album opener and sets the mood for the whole album. "Shadows" is a pummeling number with a massive main riff and soaring vocals. Once again the hooks pull you in and the chorus will have you singing along. This really isn't your typical euro-power metal. These guys write songs that have their own identity and makes for a really enjoyable listen.

I must take a minute to talk about the production. That really is the only drawback here because it's extremely overdone. The drums are triggered as fuck, the guitars are loud and the bass is non existent. I'm not one to be real anal about the modern production but this is a prime example of modern production doing more harm than good. I almost did not give this album a chance because of it. I'm glad I did give it a chance because the songs make up for it, big time. "Call To Arms" is a prime example because the melodies, the hooks and the riffs will make you not dwell so much on the production. Once again, these guys can write catchy songs that are all anthems in their own right. They rely on speedy riffs and melodies to pull you in. Another crusher is "Leaving The Road" with it's massive riffs and melodic chorus goes right into a beautiful solo. This is a song that kinda reminds me of Afterlife era Nocturnal Rites.

"Songs like Far Too Long," "Standing Tall," and "London Moon" are speedy rockers that do not deviate from the formula at all. I can't talk enough about the melodies in the choruses here. They are really good and really are the magic in these songs. The riffs are plentiful and even more epic soloing by these awesome guitarists. Then we have a song like "Black Death" is a mix of everything happening on this album. Speed, riffs, hooks, and melodies as well as some parts more galloping that speedy. This is a monster of a song and maybe my favorite on here. "Broken Wings" rounds out this opus with it's beautiful, acoustic intro leading into some epic, massive riffs. What I thought may have been a ballad turned out to be an epic anthem. What a way to round out a great album.

For an album I almost wrote off as not listenable, I'm glad I gave it another shot because this is a great album that grows on me with each listen. Yeah, the production still gets to me here and there but the songs win me over in the end. These guys got a great formula and I hope they can keep the momentum going.


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