Sinister – The Carnage Ending (Massacre Records)

Devastating Dutch Death Metal.

Despite naming their latest album The Carnage Ending, when it comes to Sinister you get the feeling this will never be the case. The Dutch death metal demons did away with (almost) the entire band and only last year named a brand new line-up. Sadly this was not due to some Satan-induced devilry or a good old fashioned ‘creative differences’ rumpus. No; simply the band couldn’t get off work.

2009 album Legacy Of Ashes brought about a mostly laboured effort which felt like the end of the road for the tired line-up. He was the drummer for 15 years before changing to lead vocals some seven years ago and since replacing the entire band, apart from himself obviously, in 2011, Adrie Kloosterwaard’s new musical contingent present the band’s first release together, The Carnage Ending.

Joining vocalist Kloosterwaard now are guitarists Dennis Hartog and Bastiaan Brussaard who have brought a black sparkle to the band. The guitars are crunchier and tighter, the riffs trickier and faster bringing them toe-to-toe with their death metal counterparts. Toe Duin on drums and bassist Mathijs Brussaard form a brutal basis for some sharp songwriting; lots of fast blasts and crucial depth.

Producer and Nightfall drummer Jörg Uken reignites the Sinister flame making everything clearer, heavier and crisper. Thanks I’m sure to Uken’s work, Kloosterwaard’s voice steps up another gear making him possibly the best vocalist in the band’s history, surpassing the four others.

A whole new line-up but still Sinister feels like a band on the edge of destruction. The music benefits, at times summoning a nervous creativity, and with good production the result is a surprisingly good listen. The carnage ending? I hope not.