Re-reading my gushing review of Sinbreed’s previous release “Shadows”, it seems I did get rather enthusiastic about the whole thing, and to be honest time has not dulled the enjoyment that I found when discovering this full-on Power/Speed Metal band carrying on my preferred traditions of the formidable German brand. 2016 is upon us and Blind Guardian’s Marcus Siepen may have departed but Sinbreed are none the worse for it. In fact, if anything the band seem to be spreading their wings a little wider…
Losing none of their previous energy, there is no intro, just straight in with opener ‘Creation Of Reality’, another double-kick driven speed-fest that feels like I’ve just pressed pause at the end of the last album and this is the next track! Good continuity, but also the first sign of a slight change – there is a definite attempt at a Freedom Call type catchy chorus (a trait particularly echoed later in ‘The Voice’ and ‘On The Run’). This should hopefully enable the band to appeal to the wider Power Metal market, as I’m sure a whole album’s worth of second track ‘Across The Great Divides’ (as well as the equally frenzied and equally brilliant title track) can maybe be a bit hard for those raised on Hammerfall etc. to take. Not me – go like last time and fill the entire album with these buggers I say, but I don’t have to play them live or think up new ways (not already taken by Metalium…) of being original within those bounds. Or how the hell I’d still be able to write them 10 years down the line.
So there’s a definite shift towards shaking things up a little more by Sinbreed this time around. There’s some more mid-paced tracks like ‘Behind The Mask’ and ‘Last Survivor’. ‘The Riddle’ too, which fair grooves at times within Sinbreed’s intense energy – it has a great chorus as well! This time there is even a ballad…well, it’s a bit slower and has some excellent piano – that’s a ballad for Sinbreed – and it’s really well done. Vocalist Herbie Loughlan does a kind of 90’s James Hetfield thing on the verse which I’m not particularly sold on (especially having heard Loughlan‘s fabulous even lower register on the last Avantasia, which I‘d love to hear more of!), but maybe it’ll grow on me. It does give the shift back into his normal style more impetus…and besides, he’s immense on the rest of the album as well as the majority of this track so I’m certainly not going to dwell on this.
So in the end, as usual, it all comes down to personal taste. I particularly love the speed stuff like the title track and ’Across The Great Divides’, but I also still enjoy the mid-tempo stuff, which balances the album nicely. I do just prefer their previous album, but the relentless speed, energy and intensity they captured from start to finish on that one is probably a one-in-a-career album, and “Master Creator” is also not lacking in that department at times. I approve of the fact that Sinbreed are exploring more areas and they should be encouraged to do this. I really hope this opens the band up to an even greater following as a band of this class really deserves it. This is still a damn fine album and will probably be the best Power Metal album I hear in its year, just like its predecessor.
(8/10 Andy Barker)