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On the threshold of two universes - 70%

kluseba, August 1st, 2011

Sinisthra claim to play gothic metal on their debut record but the music here has nothing to do with bands such as Crematory, Lacrimosa, Moonspell, Paradise Lost or Type O Negative which I would consider as important pioneer bands of the genre. Sinisthra can also not be compared to modern gothic influenced stuff like Atargatis, Elis, Mortemia, The Old Dead Tree or The Vision Bleak. In fact, they play slow rock music with a rather calm and depressive touch and only head for metal riffs in the energizing opener double pack "Coming up roses" as well as "Ice cube sun" and in the experimental and interesting album closer "Completely incomplete". Most of the other songs try to build up an introspective, calm and floating atmosphere and are less impressive from a musical point of view. The band rather sounds like an alternative rock band in the key of "Drowning Pool" or a popular so called dark metal band like "HIM" than like a gothic act but with a very melancholic and introspective touch. The lyrics are emotional but still not very gothic. The band though sounds surprisingly unique in its style but definitely not a little bit like any of the bands mentioned above. The overall melancholic touch is definitely very Finnish and makes me think of modern "Sentenced" or "The man-eating tree" minus the heavier side of them.

The only thing that really stands out and carries the whole record is the variable and hypnotizing voice of Tomi Joutsen who is today delivering an incredible job with Amorphis. Especially in the calmer and more atmospheric tracks like the emotional ballad "Fearless under the falling sky", the epic but numb and melancholic track "My sweet nothing" and the slow and almost lounge influenced "Innocence... in a sense" Tomi Joutsen delivers a brilliant job and those weird tracks remind me of some experiments heard on the calmer tracks on Amorphis' "Tuonela" or "Am Universum".

The band surely has a lot of potential but the little kick of genius, the little plus of emotion, and the little addition of consequent courage is missing in their sound. The band varies too much between modern dark rock music and hypnotizing and introspective pieces. This combination could please to someone that is not much into the metal and gothic scene and listens to dark alternative rock or metal. This record may be his portal to the world of gothic and metal as the album itself is just on the threshold of two universes. I happen to like both styles a little bit but after a couple of songs I get quickly bored and the album has not much to offer a part of a brilliant vocal performance. I also feel that the calm and more open minded tracks don't fit well together. Sometimes I feel like listening to the melancholic half but on other days I would chose the more commercial tracks but I almost never happens that I feel like listening to both sides. There are two different fan bases, two different styles, two different states of mind and the album sounds a little bit torn in between those two worlds and is not always easy to digest for someone who doesn’t exactly feel the Finnish way of life.

I seriously hope that the band carries on and works out a few more coherent and focused songs with a little bit more magic and energy and they could be the next big thing coming from Finland.