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Shave me arse - 68%

Acrobat, January 10th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2008, CD, Noise Records (Reissue)

Take a look at those song titles, will ya? You can probably imagine what those songs sound like already and, if you're even more versed in 80's metal, you'll have a very good idea which ones are worth keeping. What's perhaps surprising, then, is that even some of the weaker tracks here aren't exactly lacking in good parts - it's just that they might have something that renders them less-than-appealing (goofy choruses, some flat riffing, risible choices when it comes to execution). I suppose it's noteworthy that despite having a much more radio-friendly sound than any other band on Noise Records at this time, Sinner ended up being a lesser known name. I guess, the accusation that would ring truest of them is that they're a fun, if somewhat uninspiring act.

Still, that's not to say that you're not going to have some fun here - it's like going to a party, drinking some beers, but going home at midnight because you've got work in the morning: enjoyable but missing something extra. Touch of Sin is definitely worth hearing if you're into this whole 80's metal thing proper - there's a nice mix of Saxon and Thin Lizzy that probably filled something of a gap in the market at this point (Saxon had already entered their shite period and Thin Lizzy were a few years dead). Mat Sinner's vocals are basically a collection of cliches with some garbled English ("take it cool"? Time to study those phrasal verbs again, Mat), and yet, they're really enjoyable and have a good deal of charisma. Certainly, he seems like the most technically competent vocalist of the non-Scorps-level Germans.

Honestly, this album is probably a better representation of what just-above-bog-standard metal sounded like in '85. Probably nowadays people tend to overlook just how long the hard rocking variety of metal lived on into the 80s and focus on the fact that '85 gave us albums from ground-breaking and distinctive acts like Destruction, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Fates Warning, Exodus and what have you. Pick out a random album from '85, however, and it'll probably sound closer to these Germans and Dumpy's Rusty Nuts than it will Energetic Dissembly.

That said, I'm a pretty big proponent of some generic bands and this certainly gets my head nodding at times. Let's take 'Shout!' for example - it's got a bit of Van Halen, some Priest, a nice galloping riff and an anthemic chorus that could have been written by anyone from Accept to Loudness to the Scorpions to Pokolgep (alright, so they'd have to write it in Hungarian, but the point still stands). Elsewhere, 'Emerald' - again, no prizes for originality - could have come from Thin Lizzy's Thunder & Lightning had they decided to go a little more Celtic on that album. It's certainly not original, but it definitely gets a nod of approval from me. 'Masquerade', too, seems like some weird foreshadowing of how Running Wild would marry some Lizzy melodies with Priest aggression and strike gold. 'Out of Control' has that mid-paced stomp complete with "we've heard Defenders of the Faith and we think this more goofy synthetic sound is the future of metal" synths, that I'm a sucker for.

'He don't want our music - he wants our souls'? so, while Motley Crue were shouting at the devil, you were getting rejected by him? I guess Sinner always had a weird relationship with the devil. On the previous album he was depicted as rockin' out and wearing leather. Satan's a super sweet bro from way back.

That said, there's definitely a reason or several that Touch of Sin didn't send Sinner into the upper echelons of B-league German metal. Firstly, the opener - while not terrible - lacks the momentum and might to be a real anthem. It's like they went for 'Balls to the Wall' and ended up with something closer to 'Rock the Nations'. It needs a bit more grit and lot more force. Similarly, 'Bad Girl' - whilst nowhere near as awful as its title might suggest - does ride a goofy, sub-DLR chorus. It's clear that between this album and Danger Zone, Mat Sinner decided to rip off David Lee Roth and the results are about as appealing as his weedy Halford impression that occasionally rears its head.

Overall, I can't say this is really essential for anyone, but it's always quite fun when it's on. The highs are definite 80's fun and the lows are harmless, so, if you really needed another B-league German HM band (who doesn't?), you could do a lot worse (like Tyran' Pace, fuck them).