Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

the limitation of imitation - 60%

LeastWorstOption, October 11th, 2014
Written based on this version: 1998, CD, Nuclear Blast

And so the time had come for Sinister to adapt itself to a rapidly changing scene that had no real need for it anymore. This record came to us in 1998 by which time Krisiun had appeared on the scene, Behemoth had released “Pandemonic Incantations” and Suffocation released its swansong EP “Depise the Sun” – blast-death was where it was at. Given the choice to adapt or perish, Sinister transformed its typical death metal sound to fit the changing musical trends. It still is undeniably Sinister in the ways that matter most, but a good deal of the time it sounds like a band trying too hard to be Suffocation…

At the helm of this revised version of Sinister was vocalist Eric de Windt, and his vocals are quite similar to those of original frontman Mike van Mastrigt. The only real notable difference is that de Windt’s grunts are far less deep. Aad Kloosterwaard does his best Dave Culross impression, and the nervous, choppy and crawly riffing takes equal inspiration from Suffocation this time around. Alex Paul provides bass guitar, but he is felt more often than he is actually heard. On all fronts “Aggressive Measures” sounds like a band desperately wanting to stay relevant, but only partly succeeding. By abandoning the style that made them the force they were, the band excises their only identifiable trait and replaces it with a sound countless of other acts around the world were doing.

The biggest stylistic departure is just how mechanical this record tends to sound. Whereas earlier Sinister records found an equilibrium between blasting fury and creepy mid-tempo dirges “Aggressive Measures” aggressively removes the band’s past template in favor for the taste-of-the-day, and the results are mixed at best. This is still Sinister at heart, nobody is able to replicate the band’s signature melodies or Aad’s weirdly unconventional drum patterns, but all else screams Suffocation worship. The bass guitar, once a focal point in the band’s writing, here is relegated to a mere supporting role. For a band once so proud to carve out its own sound, this certainly sounds timid and docile. It begs the question why the band decided to overhaul its sound quite so drastically. Kloosterwaard surrounds himself with capable musicians, but his influence can only have been minimal, as this sounds nothing like the Sinister of the previous three albums.

That isn’t to say that “Aggressive Measures” doesn’t have it share of signature tracks. ‘Beyond the Superstition’ and ‘Chained In Reality’ are probably the best this record has to offer, and the most clear in the Suffocation worship. There isn’t anything really wrong with the record, other than it being an imitation of something better, something more poignant. It is understandable why Sinister decided to go for this route. Suffocation released the “Despite the Sun” EP, their swansong. Krisiun (from Brazil) was making a name for itself in the underground, Diabolic released the utterly pummeling but derivative “Supreme Evil” and Morbid Angel released “Formulas Fatal to the Flesh”. The old death metal ideal was being left behind by its key players, and even second-tiers as Sinister felt the claws of irrelevance if they not kept up with the times.

The problem isn’t so much the Suffocation influence, but that it pushes out what made Sinister unique in the first place. All traditional Sinister components are still accounted for, yet their presence is minimized in favor of letting the Suffocation worship flourish. That isn’t bad in itself, but when people want to listen Suffocation they’ll grab one of their own records, and not this half-hearted, watered down stab at that particular sound. Other than that the Suffocation and Sinister elements feel out of place next to each other. The strength of Sinister was that it didn’t sound like the stereotypical Florida or New York band of the time. “Aggressive Measures” was a bid to get a footing in North America, and in the process Sinister betrayed its European fans. This is a confused record from a band that is suffering an incredibly obvious and painful identity crisis.

After recording three albums in Germany for the first time the band holed up at a studio in Holland. Excess Studio in Rotterdam was chosen for the session with the duo of Hans Pieters and Vincent Dijkers producing. The band envisioned to work with American artist Wes Benscoter. Alas they ended up working with Thomas Ewerhard as Benscoter was tied to other commitments at the time. In all “Aggressive Measures” took aggressive measures to modernize the Sinister sound for a newer and younger audience. It is a solid, but unremarkable record for a band that never really outshone any of its regional competitors in the same genre.

If you ever wonder what New York death metal sounds like when produced by a few guys from Holland, this record is a good place to start.

Review originally written for Least Worst Option -

SinisteR's last GREAT album, almost flawless - 98%

the16th6toothson, September 10th, 2005

This is one of those “Reign in Blood” albums - it’s abrupt, remarkably brutal, catchy, and…fun! And while I feel that the band's TRUE magnum opus is the gloriously brutal, maniacally bombastic, unashamedly RAW and just fucking PERFECT "Cross the Styx", I still urge any death metal fan to pick this one up!

When most people would lead you to believe "Hate" is the band's greatest era, but I find that one to be WAY too lopsided. For every Embodiment of Chaos there is an 18th Century Hellfire, and this album doesn’t have that disorder AT ALL. And of course you have the few waving the flag proudly for the "Diabolical Summoning" album which, before I begin to confuse you, I DO find rather stellar on its own, but even so, something about this one….

For me, the two Sinister albums that truly embody the band are the aforementioned perfect debut "Cross the Styx" and one of the first albums in the late '90s resurrection wave of death metal, “Aggressive Measures“.

An album I feel is unfortunately underrated, “Aggressive Measures” is a throw back to the early days when the band was more unhinged, rawer, vicious, volatile and savage. The songs on this slab simply fucking RAGE with total fury, a relentless onslaught of razor sharp hooks blasting straight from hell.

I admit I was among the skeptics when this was new. “Bastard Saints” was a cool little EP, but the major flaws were both a lack of a gritty, crunchy sound (it was a bit overproduced) and a nasty vibe (too groovy? Too much Pantera, not enough Possessed?), and then when I heard Mike had left, well then what little was their to expect? After all, at the time Mike was one of THE best voices in the entire genre, and obviously besides this release, Sinister never even came close to recovering after such a crippling loss.

I remember clearly even to this day the joy I felt when I first heard the title track. It’s one of THOSE songs that just hits you with immediate aggression!!!! I had made up my mind then that finally Sinister were back on the tracks they stepped away from as soon as the last riff on “Cross the Styx” ended, not that “Diabolical Summoning” or “Hate” were bad, just a step in a different direction. The songs on “Aggressive Measures” are practically all equal with each other (even the intro is well done). They are collectively some of the catchiest and most downright brutalizing death metal songs after the early '90s wave and to me the cream of the late '90s crop (along with Intestine Baalism‘s “An Anatomy of the Beast“ album). Approximately 7 years after their composition, these tracks to me still pack the same amount of fury and rage that they did when I first heard them. I dare say this is a modern classic.

The roar that Eric boasts is so damned heavy - throaty and mean, powerful and proud. When he growls out “Violence Controlled by FEAR!” on “Beyond the Superstition” you can feel his vocals collapse your lungs! His vocal lines will get stuck in your head immediately and they’re GREAT to sing, er, grunt and growl along with. One of my all time favorite vocal performances. I never even missed Mike’s voice on this; mow THAT is a true testament to the vocals on this record.

The drums are fairly stripped down and while they are obviously triggered, the mix and reverb added onto them make them the last great drum sound Sinister had. In fact, I like it considerably more than the drum sound on Hate and Bastard Saints. The crashes cut through the mix beautifully. Nothing too fancy here, just brutality.

The bass is VERY muddy and all it really does is provide a rumbling alongside the downright savage guitar tone. When the bass is left alone, it sounds so damned cool. Check out a minute and a half into “Into the Forgotten“, right after the solo and right before the repeat of the first verse - SO cool! And the brief intro to “Chained in Reality” is very brief, but SO cool and absolutely smothered in mud.

The guitar sound is obscenely abrasive, a totally in-your-face bestial tone that is merciless and reminds me of a heavily serrated blade carving your flesh back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Nasty! Fierce!

Everything comes together in one of those “perfect mixes” that demo level bands dream endlessly about, and after all of my years of being a die-hard death metal fan and hearing many different mixes over the years, I can’t think of any album that sounds much like this one. It’s a VERY intense and thunderously gargantuan production job. Most impressive.

Overall, this album is nearly void of flaws and really it’s only flaw to me is that it’s missing only a little bit of that “feeling” “Cross the Styx” had that is impossible to duplicate, but I’m fairly certain that such an opinion is based almost entirely on sentiment because I’ll be damned if this album isn’t completely and utterly AWESOME on its own.

Strongly recommended to any fan of death metal except the wussies out there who don’t really have a grasp on what the genre is truly about.

SINISTER: a band's name that'd be synonymous with - 50%

gabalgabow, April 15th, 2003

SINISTER: a band's name that'd be synonymous with deception? I can say so! I personally enjoyed their two first Lps "Cross the styx" and "Diabolical summoning" that were in a well-done technical and blasting Death/ Thrash at the time! They had some specific elements such as the blasts or their technical riffs' melodies that made up their personality!
But well, since their "Hate" CD I'm ways less impressed by their music!
I didn't especially appreciate this "Aggressive measures" CD when it was released and I didn't pay any particular attention to it... But I listened to it recently, in a careful way, to pay attention to every riff.
And well, there are some well-done and well-felt parts on the first two tracks "Aggressive measures" and "Beyond the superstition". It remains under the quality of their two first CDs, but it's two Ok tracks with some good moments! There's also a track that doesn't sound bad around the end of the CD, as well as an heavier/ slower one.
But the problem with the last SINISTER releases is in my opinion they favour too much the technicality and complexity while they loose some real efficiency they once had! Could we say they haven't got as much inspiration and energy? Have everything been said for them? Well, in my opinion it remains a very possible thing, but there are still some good riffs here. The lack of inspiration is maybe due to several reasons (including too many side projects: Houwitser...)
I haven't heard their new stuffs, but the presence of their female vocalist didn't especially turn me on to brutalize my local CD seller!
So, this isn't a bad album, a few riffs are good. If you don't know SINISTER check out "Diabolical summoning". And in any case the first two tracks of the CD would be enough. Downloads are still hellcome this time...