Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

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

Privacy Policy

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.