This review was originally written for Get Your Rock Out.
Sinnergod are one of the more accomplished bands to come out of Manchester’s vibrant music scene, having worked with the likes of Blaze Bayley, toured with the Misfits and been hailed as the ‘New Goth Kings of Manchester’ by Metal Hammer, and their eponymous second full-length release demonstrates the professionalism that gains you those sorts of accolades. There’s a highly polished synth metal sound here, combining heavy riffs and electronica vibes to create a very atmospheric sound, but it ultimately feels very much like an album of two halves.
Opener ‘Dead of the Night’ sets the tone immediately, with howling wolves and an epic synth opening giving way to an almost pop-goth riff and huge chorus. It’s the sort of thing that gets crowds roaring along at concerts and is a solid opener.
From then on though the album rarely deviates from that formula. There are some great riffs on tracks like ‘1000 Sins’ and ‘The Watched’ – which couples an almost AC/DC-esque lead motif with a cool synth line – but they’re ultimately undone by the plodding tempo, and the initial excitement of hearing those opening guitars is quickly undone by the turgid rhythm. Slow, epic songs are great, but by the time I reached ‘Joshua’s Day’ I was starting to lose interest after seven tracks of them back to back.
Things picked up a little with ‘Supernatural’ which had a slightly different vibe, opting for more stripped back verses before the guitars really kicked in with the pre-chorus, and whilst I would have preferred the vocals to really go for it in that chorus to take it to another level, it’s one of the better songs on the album.
The following track ‘We’ve Been Expecting You’ though is by far the stand-out moment. There’s a much more exciting opening, the piano line evoking Grieg’s ‘In The Hall of the Mountain King’, and whilst singer Mark Hampson’s voice is gruff throughout the album (think James Hetfield but with a better range) this is the first time it felt like it had any real balls, and the Iron Maiden style harmony at the end of the guitar solo had me genuinely excited.
Final full-track (there’s a minute long track of wind noises and organ chords to actually close the album) ‘We Don’t Have Anything’ is the first and only up-tempo song to be found, coupling a thrash riff with relentless drumming. The chorus ultimately follows the same vibe but it was much more interesting with the pace of the music underneath it. There were times earlier in the album where it almost felt by the numbers but this had a real feeling of passion behind it, exemplified the guitar solo. All the lead work here is clean and crisp, but this one felt like he meant it.
Ultimately the album is a slow burner, and I felt like it ended just as it was starting to get really interesting. It might even be as small as a track listing issue; breaking up some of those epic numbers in the first half of the album with something a little more punchy like ‘We Don’t Have Anything’ may well have made it a more enjoyable listen. There’s quite clearly a very deep well of talent in the band, part of me wishes they’d explored that a little more and taken some more risks with the songwriting. So whilst Sinnergod may play it a little safe here, fans of the genre will find a lot to like, and there is a couple of real stand-out moments.
Dead of Night
I Never Had a Gun
We’ve Been Expecting You
Johnny Sits Perfectly Still
We Don’t Have Anything