REVIEW: SINSAENUM – “Echoes of the Tortured”
US drummer Joey Jordison, very popular for his exploits with modern metal giants Slipknot before he was fired, has re-emerged with a new band, Sinsaenum. This new group is ready to release their debut album, ‘Echoes of the Tortured’, carving a blackened death metal sound for themselves. Besides Jordison, the band is made of some prominent metal musicians, namely Mayhem’s Attila Csihar, DragonForce bassist Frederic Leclercq (who also contributes guitars), Daath’s Sean Zatorsky, and Seth’s bassist Heimoth. Stephane Buriez, of Loudblast, is also part of the line-up, on guitars.
The coming together of these big names would result in an epic album, one might imagine, but ‘Echoes of the Tortured’ doesn’t seem to be doing anything revolutionary. Rather, it’s a straightforward record that showcases the members’ death metal side. At first glance, the 21-track album seems like a whopper, but almost half of these are fillers and we’re left with an average number of songs.
The first non-filler track, “Splendour and Agony”, sets the ball rolling for what’s to follow, and you can expect heavy riffs, blast beats, and growled vocals –standard death metal tropes. The presence of several tremolo-picked riffs and black metal-type vocals lends Sinsaenum the ‘blackened death metal’ tag. The technical “Inverted Cross” and the upbeat “Army of Chaos” follow, and so far, the album looks solid. However, fillers keep showing up, and this might disturb the momentum built by the band.
The album contains too many of these fillers at regular intervals for one’s liking, with one found between each song. However, the death metal tracks on the record make up for this, to some extent, due to their intensity and anguish-soaked atmosphere. You can hear Morbid Angel’s monster grooves in parts, sections taken out of Behemoth’s textbook, Decapitated-like riffs, and so on. Two tracks found in the middle, “Sacrifice” and “The Forgotten One”, are decent examples of these, but Sinsaenum makes them sound fresh and new.
Joey Jordison’s death metal drumming is fantastic, with the right amount of pounding double bass, powerful blasts, and fills. He doesn’t sound like the same drummer from Slipknot, and fits perfectly into the musical context here. One song where he sounds like he’s been playing death metal all his life is “Anfang des Albtrayumes”. Still, knowing the sheer amount of talent Jordison possesses, you’d feel that the uniqueness and innovation his drumming had in his Slipknot days isn’t present anymore.
The other musicians also perform straightforward roles, and as the album draws to a close with the title track and “Gods of Hell”, the guitar-playing stands firmly as one of the heroes of Sinsaenum’s sound. Leclercq and Buriez’s twin guitar attack is effective in generating riffs that sound inspired by the previously mentioned death metal greats. The vocals delivery is standard, but some of the interplay makes the tracks interesting, adding a layer of depth that’s complemented by Heimoth’s bass-playing.
Overall, Sinsaenum’s debut album ‘Echoes of the Tortured’ isn’t really contributing to the growth of death metal musicality, but it does well to rekindle the past with a modern representation of the glory of death metal.