Review Summary: Let Sinew be one of the first good things in your life this year.
What I initially mistook for flying brownies ended up being the cover to a solid, beautifully crafted and bursting with potential album, lacking only in accessibility.
Everything here from the musicianship to the lyrics rivals the best of the genre. The vocalist, Sascha J., has a beautiful singing voice and holds his own during the scattered louder segments. These often reminded me of the heavier moments from Thrice, especially the second half of “Allegory of the Cave” which kept bringing to mind the epic finale from “Like Moths to a Flame”. In addition to fantastic vocal abilities, Sinew members should also be proud of their written work. While not overly cryptic, the lyrics do instil a hint of mystery and personality to the world the band tries to paint with its first release. I particularly found the songs “Eidolon” and “Charging Loki” to be enchanting in that respect. On the whole though, Sinews presentation is impeccable and should be applauded.
The flow and style of the album itself alternates much like the vocals do, mixing ballad like tracks with fits of energy in between to avoid uniformity. For instance, the tracks “One Drop” and again, “Allegory of the cave” are great examples of the intensity Sinew can exert. On the other hand “Pre-Existence” and “Dystopia” demonstrate the perfect balance of control and power. The instrumentals also make sure to standout at opportune moments and keep a generally spirited rhythm to coincide with the overall theme of the album. Suffice to say that if you’re familiar and appreciative of the sound from bands like Karnivool, Sinch or perhaps the recently reviewed by yours truly Deligma, you should feel right at home here.
Despite a sea of positive and ear warming qualities often heard from this genre of music, the one and, more importantly, only crucial element I found The Beauty of Contrast to be short of unfortunately is instant appeal. It may be a non issue for you but I must admit it took me a few full playthroughs to truly get into many of the melodies. While countless other bands frequently resort to addictive hooks to reel you in, Sinew keeps things relatively tame, feeding you engrossing riffs and clever change-ups only so often. I think the song “Sin nada de nada”, being an emotion filled story read to a music track, was probably the most difficult one to appreciate, mostly due to an obvious language barrier. Still, after a few sittings, I truly began to enjoy what this group has to offer, but it would have been nice to dive right into a few more highlights such as “Eidolon” and “Charging Loki”.
On that note, not only do I recommend you give their debut a shot (starting preferably with “Eidolon” for a better first impression), I urge you to take a look at the new material from their upcoming album. If these four short samples they call “Sinew appetizers”, easily found on YouTube, are any indication of the whole product, it will without a doubt be an instant classic. It seems they have kicked every aspect of their collective effort into overdrive, starting with the much needed “grandiose and memorable” boost to their sound. I’m still stunned in admiration.
Let Sinew be one of the first good things in your life this year.