Review Summary: Riffalicious.
Due to the death metal scene being overcrowded with insanely average bands which somehow earn more prestige than they should do, Dutch OSDM band Sinister never have quite earned the recognition they deserve. This might also be down to the fact that their superb debut album, ‘Cross the Styx’ unfortunately does not give an accurate representation for their whole discography, as their latter albums faded into mediocrity.
Starting with the tried and tested ‘eerie-opener, followed by furious fast-paced track’ formula, Sinister make no hesitations in stating their intentions with ‘Cross the Styx’; from the word ‘go’, we can see that this is going to be an aggressive, rabid, and ferocious album. Drummer Aad Kloosterwaard plays blast-beats like it’s going out of fashion, thunderously bursting into life at the beginning of ‘Carnificina Scelasta’ while allowing no room for let-up throughout the entire album, (although it should be noted that he is certainly not limited to these blast beats, ensuring that the drums succeed in avoiding monotony; something that a lot of death metal bands struggle with) contributing majorly towards the ‘Cross the Styx’s’ overall chaotic vibe.
While the bass is decent and gets the job done, being high enough in the mix to be notable (but not producing any ‘ground-breaking’ bass lines), and the vocals are standard yet solid gutturals, the record’s real strength comes from the guitar duo that is Ron van der Polder and Andre Tolhuizen. The riffs themselves are of a superb quality; head and shoulders above the majority of OSDM bands, for that matter. But it’s the way that Sinister utilize two guitar players by writing impressive riffs in harmony with one another, while simultaneously managing to keep them as heavy and devastating as possible.
While many death metal bands try and sound ‘brutal’, both in their lyrics and their music, but ultimately fail, ‘Cross the Styx’ is an album which sees Sinister succeed at doing this, and although looking at Sinister’s lyrics before listening to the music can naturally lead one to make the assumption that they are just another boring, clichéd death metal band, a listen to the album reveals this to be massively untrue; with Sinister, the music speaks for itself, ultimately distancing them away from their mediocre and pretentious counterparts within the OSDM scene.