Sinister Realm – World Of Evil (2013)

The beauty of so much traditional heavy metal lies in the simplicity of its chord progressions, a vast chunk of which are shared by bands across the genre. Utterly predictable to seasoned ears yet capable of being emphatic punctuation in knowing hands, they are the true emblems of the brotherhood shared by all who admire this form of music. Not leather nor denim or boots, it is this primitive cry hailing a heroism latent in our natures that resounds across countries and cultures. Sinister Realm are masters of this precious art, well versed with just the right turn of phrase at the right time; the kind that makes one strut on their way to taking a piss in a smoke-infested pub, standing in the toilet booth with a cigarette dangling by the lips, head bobbing furiously as the haze of alcohol washes over.

Sinister Realm are in no brooding mood on World Of Evil. These eight songs unite the bombast of a lot of 80s arena metal with the epic tendencies that first rose out of North America, retaining an undeniable effervescence throughout. In so many ways, this is a band that could only have come into existence in the modern time; not that they have updated their sound for the new age but because Sinister Realm‘s music is a near-perfect synthesis of elements drawn from the very best this music has had to offer since the advent of the 80s. There are nods to Judas Priest and Accept in some of the ballsier choruses, Iron Maiden‘s patented sense of harmony, and Warning-era Queensryche along with latter day Manilla Road in the attempted scope. The faster songs join the turn-on-a-dime riffing reflexes of Kai Hansen’s finer moments with Virgin Steele‘s infallibility during their surreal run in the 90s. In fact, see if the chorus to opener ‘Dark Angel  Of Fate’ doesn’t remind you a little of a certain ‘I Wake Up Screaming’ from the first Marriage Of Heaven And Hell album.

Mentioning all these references may make the band appear little more than a copycat. Though not an altogether false assumption, to their credit, Sinister Realm borrow from a hallowed template with endearing humility while obviously having a lot of fun with their work; not averse to the occasional, tastefully done big-haired singalong, the band yet never lets it all degenerate into cheese. There is a decent smattering of tempos throughout the record, delicate, sparing use of synths, and unfortunately underused folk vibes on at least one song. Alex Kristof’s voice is staunchly blue-collar, rarely reaching the heights of the genre’s storied names but, more importantly, always keeping an easily decipherable line open to the listener. The same applies to the entire ensemble; Sinister Realm know their audience and know how to communicate with them on an intimate level. Honesty always shows through.

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