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The Post-Apocalyptic Servant

Massacre (2014)
Rating: 6.5/10

Riding on the back of the black waves of the early 90s death metal scene, Dutch metallers Sinister have emerged from the trends as one of the genre’s most formidable and respected bands. The Post-Apocalyptic Servant – the 11th full-length release from the outfit – is another punishing slab of brutal death metal in this prolific career.

Admittedly, not every release from these guys has been a jaw-breaker, but a majority have delivered a hurtful blow to the mid-section. I guess the saddest aspect of such a veteran band is that only one of the original members feature (former drummer and current vocalist Adrie Kloosterwaard), but this is something us fans need to get over quickly as Sinister comes rampaging over the hills with another wicked set of belligerence.

Even so, those of you not in the know will appreciate the detail that Sinister circa 2014 consists of Kloosterwaard, who has taken over vocal duties since 2005. He’s joined by drummer Toep Duin, bassist Mathijs Brussaard and guitarists Dennis Hartog and Bas Brussaard.

The noise these guys still make is one to be reckoned with. Fans of fast, uncompromising death metal will feast upon the vile juggernaut that is ‘The Sculpture Of Insanity’, or the hammering attack of ‘The Dome Of Pleasure’. It’s death metal by numbers that mixes slower tempos with ultra-fast segments; this is most notable with ‘The Masquerade Of An Angel’, which features hyper trigger drums and annihilating axe-work which buzzes furiously in the foreground.

Vocally, Kloosterwaard does exactly what one would expect from a death metal voice; his tone is one of grunts and demonic coughs which accompany the percussive destruction and rapid bass-lines, which cause the ears to fester. Even so, through all of its frantic nature and some staggering leads, this is pretty unremarkable death metal that manages to hint at the earlier years. But does this suggest that the band hasn’t evolved?

Well, with death metal it’s tricky as many acts like to give fans what they want. This pleasure usually comes in delivering high-energy, pummelling death metal with no frills, but for me Sinister have never equalled the devastating heights of their American competitors, and certainly don’t have the energy or sheer infectious quality of other European acts such as Pestilence or Entombed. But, having said that, there is still something endearing about a good old-fashioned chunk of ruthless death metal, and that’s what Sinister have crafted time and time again throughout the years.

The drumming is clinical, the bass does its job at removing entrails, and the guitars lay on the carnage thick and fast, the result of course that Sinister are a touch bland but still as bruising as hell. This direct approach may not please everyone, but you cannot argue with the musicianship on tracks such as ‘The Art Of Skin Decoration’ or the aforementioned ‘The Dome Of Pleasure’.

The Post-Apocalyptic Servant – for all of its aggression and ability – nonetheless falls short of being an excellent death metal album, however, and could be accused of being a touch predictable. Sinister will continue to march on through the well-trodden valleys of flesh regardless, and there’s no crime in that.

Neil Arnold

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