Sins Of The Damned from Santiago, Chile, are a speed metal band, teetering on thrash formed just five years ago. After three demos and a split, this is their debut and on Shadow Kingdom Records no less, a label who know their shit.
Well the title track kicks things off with a mid-paced but neat instrumental. Little more than an intro really it nevertheless showcases a good grasp of melody and real NWOBHM roots along with classic US metal hooks. ‘They Fall And Never Rise’ is where they hit the gas, though. It scampers away to the hills with a real melodic grasp and a kind of Hammerfall on speed feel. The vocals are gruff and growled and whilst serviceable I find them a little odd. I assume it’s because with all this melody floating around I was expecting an air raid siren of a voice. Anyway, it’s a catchy little number and the more I listen the more the vocals settle in.
‘Take The Weapons’ broods for a moment before the thrashing and speed breaks loose and collides. Musically this is great; energetic, catchy and tight with a freewheeling turn of spiky riffing. The vocals though… It’s odd. I mean there’s nothing wrong with them and I begin to concentrate on how they have been produced. Are they a little low in the mix? Are they a little samey? Well there’s a great scream at that moment…which knocks out my thoughts. I’m probably over thinking it, but there seems to be some energy sapped from the vocals. They don’t quite bite enough and, yeah, they could do with a little more variation being a little monochrome next to the riot of riffing colour on display.
That’s the thing. Sins Of The Damned know how to write some fantastic high energy riffs and cram them full of licks and hooks and tempo twists. Speed metal should leave you dizzy and they do that damned well. I also have to say that from what I can make out of the lyrics they have the odd thing to say too. Songs are towards the five, six minute mark but honestly they don’t outstay their welcome as the guitar flurries come thick and fast never giving you time to nod off.
Somewhere around superb ‘The Outcast (Sign Of Cain)’ which has a great set of screams, more echo on the vocals and a wildness to the riffing that brings it close to Destroyer 666 territory that the previous niggle clicks. Control. Unlike the recently reviewed Chevalier who think control a swear word, Sins Of The Damned play a little too controlled at times, too safe. It shows first in the vocals but is in the riffs and production too. However when they do break down those barricades, let the drummer just drive over the top and the guitars rip out another gear to catch up, and let the vocals off the leash then it’s great. They certainly have the skills to keep it on track even as they let it all flail about, and I’m guessing live they really don’t mess about. They just need a little more of that in the studio.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a fine, strong debut with something for all fans of the speediest of metal. When they really rip it up like in the exemplary closer ‘Death’s All Around You’ you see why they got signed by Shadow Kingdom. Riffs ‘n’ hooks ‘n’ screams ‘n’ speeeeeed!
Yeah I am suitably impressed, so don’t take my criticism as anything other than they impress me so much I want even more! I see lots more potential here. Ah, in the meantime this will do very nicely indeed. Speed freaks apply here; they got what you need. Sins be damned, I’m in.