Metal Review – Sinister: The Post-Apocalyptic Servant

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Metal Review – Sinister: The Post-Apocalyptic Servant
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Sinister: The Post-Apocalyptic Servant (Digipack Edition)
Death Metal
Massacre Records
May 23rd, 2014
Release length: 58:30
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2011 through 2012 was definitely another milestone era for the Netherland’s main Death Metal export Sinister. Not only did all but founding member Aad Kloosterwaard end up replaced, but a year later the newly formed line-up unleashed its tenth monstrous full-length through Massacre Records titled The Carnage Ending. With plenty of praise abound, it was obvious that Sinister hadn’t lost their edge despite being three-fourths a brand new being that lead some to consider it one hell of a fluke. However you look at it, Sinister reminded us why this beast wouldn’t die, and everybody gathered ’round to see if they could continue on their next recording. About two years have passed and we are at that point with the band’s eleventh album The Post-Apocalyptic Servant. But is it just as brutal an experience, or could it be drastically better?

Much like their previous outing, The Post-Apocalyptic Servant caters towards the brutal, and it pulls this off quite well. After the brief introduction on “The Science of Prophecy,” the performance itself kicks in with rich distortion and crisp drums that nicely stick out, both complimenting each other nicely. The deep twang of the bass guitar plays a much more vital role during the slower tracks, helping to keep the rhythm alive and stronger than the generally intense and faster technicality that highlights the blistering bass kicks more before fading away to let “The Macabre God” slowly ring in. As the speed picks up, so does the ominous atmosphere brought on the technical chords and bass groove. While the vocals are a bit thin sounding and low in volume, an issue that does appear in the more violent passages of other tracks like “The Burden of Mayhem,” there’s some additional enthusiasm towards the end that beefs them up and helps fill the already sleek thickness to the audio quality.

“The Masquerade of an Angel” makes for a superb mixture of traditional groove driven Death Metal with some slower paced chugging and brutality that today’s modern Deathcore fan would cream themselves over, though in this case it feels less like a breakdown and more a steady paced slam. While the energy here is as palpable as the tight melodic notes that give way to a haunting atmosphere, it seems to try to cram too much in at once. The shifts between them are decent enoughm, but there’s just some standard passages that take away from the less basic segments that can genuinely rip your face clean off. “The End of All That Conquers” really focuses on lower notes at a controlled Cannibal Corpse style flow, something that does crop up from time to time throughout the release. Thankfully the speed does fluctuate from time to time, especially during the solo that finds a subtle increase, but overall it’s just your standard Sinister performance done right. And then there’s “The Art of Skin Decoration,” which isn’t anything too inspiring as a whole. It’s the simpler brutality that makes you really pay attention to the leads played that the distortion and louder click of the bass kicks might otherwise mask in order to really get into the performance. This makes the inevitable short guitar solo later on all the more succulent.

And then there’s the obvious complexities of certain tracks, which is really where The Post-Apocalyptic Servant asserts itself. “The Sculpture of Insanity” has a great deal of depth to it. If you listen to the chords being played and their execution it’s obvious that Sinister was going for more of a technical performance when not just hammering away with steady blasting bass kicks and steady riffs. In fact if you tone the it down a bit and remove the furious guitar work, you can hear what would easily pass as a new Atheist composition with gutturals instead of rhaspy shouts. “The Burden of Mayhem” carries itself a little more like your traditional Brutal Death Metal performance, though it does find some things off-time that seem deliberate and ugly. The drum pattern at the start is a bit hesitant at times, even the guitar solo just sounds disgusting, and not in a good way.


The digipack version of The Post-Apocalyptic Servant comes with a bonus cover EP containing three tracks not included on the standard pressing. First up is the Morbid Angel classic “Fall From Grace.” This one makes great use of the bass guitar’s twang and finds a little more enthusiasm behind the vocals to capture the spirit of the original without really taking any liberties. The general speed and authority found in Agent Steel‘s “Unstoppable Force” can often be felt in this rendition, though some of the sharper riffs sound incredibly flat and the growling that works in a Death Metal sense simply sounds lacklustre and greatly holds it back. Finally there’s Paradise Lost‘s “Deadly Inner Sense” that just doesn’t work out due to Sinister simply not being able to capture the magic of the original recording, especially in the more melodic passages and slower Doom-heavy bludgeons that erupt from time to time.


The Post-Apocalyptic Servant by Sinister ends up one of their most matured releases to date, even if some of the more brutal sounding offerings do come through a bit on the traditional side of bands in that particular genre. The audio is what really does the most damage to the listener, carrying a rich and somewhat sleek audio quality with everything but the vocals at just the right level to leave a sizeable impact with the listener. Sadly that doesn’t do much to save the material on the digipack edition’s bonus disc. While a nice additional touch, it really ends up something a collector or die-hard fan who has to hear everything the band has recorded will actually appreciate. But, as a whole, Sinister continues to assert their dominance with The Post-Apocalyptic Servant, crushing any fears and early dismissals from those who were not too keen on the exodus that happened shortly after 2010’s Legacy of Ashes and demanding both the bass and general volume level for whichever edition you acquire to be cranked to the maximum on your sound system for optimal violent influence.

Standard Pressing:
01. The Science of Prophecy – 5:07
02. The Macabre God – 4:06
03. The Sculpture of Insanity – 3:32
04. The End of All That Conquers – 4:31
05. The Masquerade of an Angel – 4:49
06. The Dome of Pleasure – 4:07
07. The Post-Apocalyptic Servant – 4:05
08. The Art of Skin Decoration – 4:16
09. The Saviour – 5:36
10. The Burden of Mayhem – 4:48

Digipack Bonus Disc:
01. Fall From Grace (Morbid Angel cover) – 5:20
02. Deadly Inner Sense (Paradise Lost cover) – 4:38
03. Unstoppable Force (Agent Steel cover) – 3:35

Standard Pressing Score: 8/10

Digipack Edition Score: 8.5/10

Sinister
Sinister

Digital review copy of this release provided by Massacre Records.