|Review: Sinner - Judgement Day|
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 1997
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: July 15, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
Sinner are a prolific Heavy Metal band from the 80s who I guess never really got the message that the decade had ended. Now, being that each decade and even each new year brings with it new styles and new ways of doing things, it's natural to assume that Sinner would adapt to more modern production techniques and sounds to make things easier for them, and what resulted was albums like Judgement Day. What exactly is the deal with this strange little cobble of retroactive rocking? Let's dig in and find out:
The basic sound on here is one you've probably heard before if you are reading this website, a down-and-dirty, sleazy riff-fest with a bluesy hard rock rhythm base. Sound good? Okay, well the vocals are going to ruin it. I'm sorry, but I just don't like Mat Sinner's voice at all. The man can play a mean riff or lead, but singing...well, he sounds like he's trying too hard to be Rob Halford, Udo Dirkschneider and Biff Byford all at the same time. Strangely enough, this is not particularly offensive, and it actually becomes pretty listenable as the album goes on, but the band would benefit from a vocalist with more vigor and pride to his voice, rather than this embarrassing mix of attempts. Oh, wait, it's called Primal Fear. Duh?
Most of these songs are fairly passable, if a little nondescript and inoffensive, with the guitar playing being the main draw. This is really just an album to listen to for fun. Even the more aggressive songs here are pretty laid back in the grand scheme of things, maybe due to the rather passive vocal performance - he doesn't sound like he wants to kick your ass; these vocals sound like they're coming from a guy who just wants to kick back and drink a beer. "Used to the Truth" is a good opener, with a nice set of riffs and some catchy vocal lines, and the eight minute title track is very cool, with some bluesier guitar playing with that metal twist to it, and some epic build ups. "Pray for Mercy" is another good one, and "School of Hard Knocks" has a killer chorus. Like I said, there are no real bad songs on here, with the only real outlier being "Blue Tattoo," which has a strange, grungey sort of groove to it that is oddly catchy.
The thing about albums like this is just that they came too late to make any impact on a style that had long since disappeared from the radar - this bluesy, dirty rock n' roll tinged Heavy Metal - and it's too retroactive to really do anything interesting for the modern music scene either. The best word for this is stagnant. There are just newer bands like Godiva doing the same thing except with a lot more energy and freshness to them. Judgement Day is a pretty decent album, and none of the songs on here are bad, but it doesn't really evoke a healthy 'fuck yeah' so much as a lazy nod of the head, a tap of the foot, perhaps. As solid as a rock, Sinner won't really amaze you or anything. However, if you really want to listen to something that is basically the musical equivalent of a middle aged has-been trying desperately to fit back into his leopard-print tights from the 80s, go ahead. I'm sure you could do far worse than this.
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