Review Summary: Saudade doom metal.
Sinistro is becoming a name to look out for in the doom scene due to their ambient, cinematic manipulation on the genre. All too often, bands reveal a sense of sameness in each subsequent record and, consequently, exhibit a lack of identity when it comes to doom metal, however, Sinistro managed to avoid such pitfalls on their impressive sophomore album, “Semente”
, by keeping their audience engaged through varying song arrangements and the immersive atmospheres they exude. More impressive is the fact that the band sings in their mother tongue, Portuguese, and are still able to create enrapturing crescendos captivating vocal hooks, which says something about the universality Sinistro’s music can have on everyone.
Their new album, “Sangue Cássia”
, illustrates the same innovation that they displayed on “Semente”
only the band extends their tantalising atmospheres even further by drawing influences from trip-hop and pushing their emotional range as far as it can go. Thus, opening the album with an 11-minute track is a bold move for any band. While “Cosmos Controle” never really reaches a crest, the song does grasp your attention- considering its lengthy duration- due to soporific waves of synth pulsating alongside the immovably heavy main riff. “Abismo” also builds on the successful traits of their sophomore album where lumbering bass treads alongside the gliding guitars rather than trample of on top of them before returning regaining its hefty weight at the climax of the song. Meanwhile, Fado, a popular type of Portuguese song built around melancholic themes and essentially Portugal’s national chant, is revealed once again in “Sangue Cássia”
during songs such as the aforementioned “Abismo” and “Cravo Carne” with its repetitive, yet, oddly alluring temperament.
Over the course of their previous album, “Semente”
, trip-hop was presented more of an additional feature. Now, however, Sinistro have fully embraced the laid back, hypnotic aesthetic the subgenre is respected for and utilize it to great effect. Synthesizers are utilised effectively across the remains of “Sangue Cássia”
, most prominently during “Nevum” which showcases a captivating rhythm where a backdrop of ambient electronics flows underneath an immersive riff. Similarly, synthesisers and electronics are flaunted effectively during “Vento Sul” where the sudden surges of lively synth, minimalistic guitar melodies and lazy drumming all blur into one abstract sound as Patricia Andrade’s lustrous voice pierces this translucent atmosphere.
Patricia’s vocals are dramatically less erratic but in no way less captivating on this album compared to its predecessor, which oversaw her violently shifting from heated dialogue to lustrous wails. Instead, she focuses on adapting her voice to compliment the ambient music mixed behind her voice. “Lótus” features tender, tearful guitar melodies slowly dropping around her echoed whispers and as the guitars move up a scale, the tone of her voice follows, creating an uplifting soundscape. “Pétalas” fluctuates between gothic whispers and yearning wails. Bursts of bright synth contrasted with the prowling guitar melodies enable her to sound all the more enticing, curious and fragile. Imagine a Portuguese Bjork not singing in broken sentences.
In recent times, the term ‘female-fronted’ thankfully seems to be used less often when describing a band’s sound. However, with the provocative charisma that Patricia’s voice conveys coupled with the delicate intricacy of the music supporting her, it’s hard not to define Sinstro as the brilliant band that they are without mentioning their greatest asset. Overall, “Sangue Cássia”
is an accentuation of the past two albums that the band have produced, sewn together with extra melancholy, immersive electronics and emotive singing.