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Track by track review: Sinsaenum – Echoes Of The Tortured

Reviewing Sinsaenum's debut album Echoes Of The Tortured one track at a time

Founded by Dragonforce bassist Frederic Leclercq and ex-Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison after they discovered a mutual passion for death metal, Sinsaenum are that rare beast: a supergroup that doesn't suck. Their debut album, Echoes Of The Tortured, will almost certainly rip your face off and nail it to Satan's front door. Play it loud and bleed for the devil!

Materialization

A sinister and portentous keyboard intro with an underlying surge of gnarly guitars. You know something nasty is coming, but not exactly what…

Splendor And Agony

Neatly summing up Sinsaenum’s grandiose attack within its first 30 seconds, this is a marauding blizzard of triumphant riffing, pitiless blasts and grim, hellish menace. In spirit and delivery, it shares a lot with Morbid Angel’s classic 1996 album Domination: the production is huge and bright, but the music itself is evil as all unholy fuck, right down to the devilish dissonance of the numerous ripping guitar solos.

Excommunicate

An eerie spiral of guitar and piano, this is pure horror soundtrack fare with a hint of King Diamond.

Inverted Cross

More merciless blastbeats from Joey Jordison usher in this snarling slab of blackened death metal. The sheer technical proficiency of everyone involved is more than apparent, but it’s the levels of vehemence and spite that take the breath away. The two-pronged attack of Sean Zatorsky and Attila Csihar gives the vocals a particularly warped and hostile feel, too. Hail Satan, please.

March

Oh hello, those rattling snare drums seem to indicate we’re in the army. But not the good, smartly-dressed army. The other one.

Army Of Chaos

The opening riff alone will ensure that pits will go absolutely raging batshit when Sinsaenum eventually hit the road. It’s a pummelling groove vaguely redolent of Satyricon circa Now, Diabolical and imbued with an undercurrent of infernal wrongness. This feels like Sinsaenum’s manifesto: “We are legion, we are one!” roars Sean Zatorsky, before that brutish, sing-along chorus kicks in like some wild, demonic ambush.

Redemption

Disintegrating electronics and creepy strings…if this is redemption, it’s much scarier than we’d expected.

Dead Souls

A slow, doomy collage of slithering, subterranean riffs and growled threats, this taps into the grim melancholy of early Paradise Lost, but with several metric hell-tons of 21st century oomph propelling it ever deeper into Satan’s drooling maw. Attila Csihar really comes into his own on this track, belching up an unsettling succession of ungodly avowals with his notoriously versatile throat. Warning: when this song explodes into a higher gear, you may want to smash everything.

Lullaby

The nerve-jangling spirit of cult ‘70s horror mavens Goblin is brought to life anew on this ultra-spooky keyboard doodle.

Final Curse

Another bombastic intro with shades of Morbid Angel and Vader gives way to a full-throttle death metal throw-down, replete with barked Satanic declarations and solos that sound like robot wasps trying to eat your brain from the inside. Joey’s drumming on this track is spectacular, as Sinsaenum tear along at a demented tempo before dropping into a grinding, half-speed mid section that oozes malevolence. The end sees a wholesale return to high-speed insanity. Job done.

Condemned To Suffer

A good shout for the best track on Echoes Of The Tortured, Condemned To Suffer begins with a restrained but dramatic instrumental intro but swiftly mutates into something truly, irresistibly hideous. Shades of Behemoth at their vicious best are discernible, but Sinsaenum’s greatest achievement thus far is that their sound is both familiar and fresh, with subtle bursts of black metal weirdness balancing out an otherwise primarily straightforward approach. Put more simply, this fucking slays.

Ritual

Whispers, drones, a parping church organ, an infernal choir… what else could a death metal fan ask for?

Sacrifice

One of the most fervently metallic tracks on the album, this barrels along like a runaway Panzer (not to be confused with a runaway panda, which wouldn’t be as scary), Sinsaenum’s razor-sharp rhythm section propelling the intricate riffs and gruesome atmosphere along with huge muscular power. There are also some horrible things going on in the background, but if we ignore them, they might go away. Let’s concentrate on guitarist Stéphane Buriez’s stunning solo instead.

Damnation

A brief orchestral interlude that again nods towards the very finest underground horror flicks of the ‘70s.

The Forgotten One

One of the most avowedly epic tracks here, The Forgotten One welds the scabrous density of the most brutal death metal to a chassis of gleaming, state-of-the-art grandiloquence worthy of Dimmu Borgir at their strident best. Again, that Zatorsky/Csihar team-up conjures genuine menace and some of the lead breaks are magnificent. This is sonic savagery with maximum confidence and big ambitions.

Torment

A hazy miasma of strings, keys and ghostly murmurings that may well be what you hear when you get bum-rushed by a succubus.

Anfang des Albtraumes

A dash of grotesque theatricality informs this blazing, hyper-gothic charge through corpse-ridden, nightmare realms. The title means ‘Beginning of the nightmare’, so that’s a creative fait accompli right there. A mid-song descent into mellower environs is short-lived, as the gates of Hell swing open once again as Attila Csihar launches his best preacher-gone-wrong chants from the depths of his wicked oesophagus.

Mist

A churning, claustrophobic squall of bleak industrial noise. You’re welcome.

Echoes Of The Tortured

With old school death metal vibes that more than confirm founder, guitarist and Dragonforce alumnus Frédéric Leclercq’s intuitive understanding of what makes this genre tick, the title track is full of seething fury and an exhilarating sense that everything is teetering on the edge of chaos and oblivion. The laudably memorable riffs come thick and fast, with a dash more doom and yet more exquisite soloing from veteran extremist Stéphane Buriez.

Emptiness

A final, subtly horrifying instrumental interlude that would have graced any Lucio Fulci film, especially if it was about shadowy warriors from Hell’s depths that just happened to own a piano.

Gods Of Hell

Ending their remarkable debut with some more thunderous, mid-paced Morbid Angel worship, Sinsaenum get just about everything right on Echoes Of The Tortured. The commanding forward march of Gods Of Hell provides a mesmerising full stop at the end of an album that plunders the past while bringing huge amounts of vitality and ingenuity to the table too. Like everything else here, it’s big, bold, brash and brutal.


Sinsaenum's debut album Echoes Of The Tortured is out Jul 29, via earMUSIC.

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