Sinister Realm - World of Evil (Shadow Kingdom Records)

Almost, but not quite...
Release Date: 
6 Aug 2013 (All day)

More solid trad metal with doom tinges from the US – where will it end? The last couple of years have seen bands like Sinister Realm multiplying in number in the States, releasing good, honest product on a seemingly daily basis. That being the case, you’ve really got to have something special to stand out from the ever growing crowd. Earthen Grave has that certain something, Argus have it – do Sinister Realm?

Well, yes and no really. Of course they are competent – extremely so. But overall you get the feling that there’s a little too much perspiration here and not enough inspiration. For instance, despite the opening triumvirate of tracks (Dark Angel of Fate, Bell Strikes Fear and the title track) all having something to recommend them, you have to wait until track four, the stately, epic-sounding The Ghosts of Nevermore before really being given something to get your ears into. An ambitious power ballad in the vein of mid-period Savatage, it’s a corking track and one where the band start pulling out a few stops rather than being content to make all the right noises without pushing the envelope overmuch.

Prophets of War is spritely enough too; bassist John Gaffney  roams all over the bottom end in best Harris style, and the chorus almost sets the pulse racing into red areas. But, just as you’re about to leave your seat and get into some serious air guitar/headbanging action, the band pulls back from the edge and opts for a bit of Iced Earth style plod when you really want them to go for broke. They eventually do pick up the pace a little, but the moment’s gone by the time they return to the rollicking main riff.

I guess that the problem here is that Sinister Realm are clearly a very good band. As a listener you want to hear a bit more evidence of this in the actual songs. Vocalist Alex Kristof sounds like he might be a bit of a powerhouse, but we never get our speakers really tested by the man’s vocal chords once – and that leads unfortunately to a World of Evil being a slightly frustrating listen. Next time guys – hell bent for leather!