Sister Sin: Now and Forever

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Sister Sin: Now and Forever
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Sister Sin: Now and Forever
Heavy Metal
Victory Records
October 23rd, 2012
Release length: n/a
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Sweden’s Sister Sin has become a well known group over the past few years. Formed back in 2002, the female fronted old-school Heavy Metal group roared onto the scene with their independently released debut album, Dance of the Wicked. However, it wasn’t until 2008’s Switch Blade Symphony that Metal fans started to take notice. Since then the group has been signed to Victory Records, and are now on their fourth full-length effort, Now and Forever. But, does this ambitious Metal group have what it takes this time around to really stun the community?

It should come as no surprise that Now and Forever has a very crisp and modern audio quality to it that suits the gritty Heavy Metal sound the band is going for surprisingly well. The drums are vibrant throughout the recording, mixing tight snaps from the snares and a booming low tone from the others. There’s a subtle click to the bass kick, and cymbals that are lower in volume, and a bit bulky. The vocals stand out just as strong, performed with a great deal of harmoizations that sometimes doesn’t always require a harsher tone to add a very impressive edge to the mix. Surprisingly, the guitars and bass sometimes feel like the least important piece of the puzzle. The distortion on the guitars aren’t anything too major or deep, but it does carry a mid-range tone that is a little louder than the cymbals, and the bass is pretty deep too to the point where you can even mistake it as lower notes from a piano, such as with “Fight Song.”

With the exception of the energy poured into nearly every song, much of this album is fun and upbeat, though still carrying a strong authority with it. After the somewhat sympohonic build of “MMXII,” the faster, upbeat Heavy Metal sound tears into “End of the Line” with catchy hooks throughout. The main verses are the quickest of the song, belting a memorable performance out from every member of the band, but the chorus slows things down, ushering in a little more emotion to the mix that sounds right at home. But, this song is nothing compared to the high octane “In it for Life.” The song praises the decisions made, which seems a nod to Heavy Metal and the contributions the members have made towards it, as well as generally just being a part of it whether in band or fan personas. There’s a good deal of rebellious attitude in the mix against the obvious pride, but the chorus has some really strong melodic hooks that can sound like something out of an eight-bit Nintendo Entertainment System game score, which is very intriguing. Either way, it adds even more energy than what’s present, and you can’t help but become excited by the music, banging your head every second you can to the rhythm and throwing your fist in the air as if you’re front row at the venue’s headliner.

There are some slower tracks available that are just as catchy, though clearly a little more serious in nature. There’s the slower paced “The Chosen Few,” which is only really faulted by the loud bass. It takes on more of an in-your-face twanging that really dominates the song in an obnoxious manner everywhere but the chorus. But, the more open music does allow the vocals to be a little less aggressive at times, and gives a very innocent cleaner performance that will catch you off guard, but make you want to hear it more often. “Shades of Black,” however, brings in a bit of an insecure atmosphere with the music. The all around emotional toll makes this one that will easily speak to every fan. The mid-tempo pace has the same energy as always, but a stronger, more commanding chorus, and the main verses hit the listener hard with some simpler chords that are a bit emptier than usual. The depressing tone is carried over well with the passionate anthem “Morning After.” The aforementioned innocent singing returns against a beautiful piano performance that creates a bit of a noir atmosphere. Eventually the drums usher in a booming Metal conclusion. The vocals become far more powerful, but lose that sensitive edge they had. It’s a necessary loss due to the heavier music that is quite suiting to the flow of the track, making it very powerful, as well as skirt the border of epic for this sort of Heavy Metal style.

It’s obvious that, over the years, Sister Sin has continued to grow as a group, and Now and Forever shows them reaching the pinnacle of their development. Fun and memorable, this brand new entry to the vintage Heavy Metal days is like loading all your friends into the Wayback machine and starting a mosh at the local Metal dive. The only issues to be had is the placement of “Morning After,” a song that would have been better somewhere in the middle to break up the not too varied music and vocals. But, even with that sad, each track is spot on with pure quality and you’ll never really get bored with them. Now and Forever by Sister Sin is definitely one of the biggest Metal surprises of the year, and one that deserves to be at the top of your Metal priorities list with no questions asked.

01. MMXII
02. End of the Line
03. Fight Song
04. In it for Life
05. Hearts of Cold
06. The Chosen Few
07. Hang ’em High
08. I’m Not You
09. Running Low
10. Shades of Black
11. Morning After
Overall Score: 9.5/10
Sister Sin (band)
Sister Sin
Digital review copy of this release provided by Victory Records.