SINISTER — Deformation Of The Holy Realm (review)

SINISTER — Deformation Of The Holy Realm album cover Album · 2020 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Deformation of the Holy Realm" is the 14th full-length studio album by Dutch death metal act Sinister. The album was released through Massacre Records in May 2020. It´s the successor to "Syncretism" from 2017 and features some lineup changes since the predecessor as guitarists Bas Brussaard, Ricordo Falcon, and Dennis Hartog (also bass) have left and have been replaced by Michał "Grall" Gralak, who handles all guitars on "Deformation of the Holy Realm".

After a long streak of high quality death metal releases since Sinister reformed in 2005 ("Afterburner" from 2006 being the first of many), "Syncretism (2017)" offered a slightly different approach and sound. It was death metal done the Sinister way, but a slight black metal influence had crept in, and overall it´s just a different sounding release to what came before. After the short intro track "The Funeral March" is done, the first death metal track of the album "Suffering From Immortal Death" kicks in, and if you only listen to that track, it would appear that Sinister have returned to a more "straight" death metal sound again, but already on the next track "Unique Death Experience", there is a grand choir motif and a more melodic sensitivity to the music (notice the acoustic guitar in the back of the mix during the chorus), which is definitely a different musical approach and deviates a lot from the most regular Sinister death metal style.

The material are however predominantly Sinister as they´ve sounded for now many years. Technically well played old school death metal, mostly influenced by the US death metal style of artists like Deicide, Morbid Angel, and Suffocation. It´s sharp, aggressive, and brutal death metal, but the songwriting is clever and varied within the boundaries of the genre, which means "Deformation of the Holy Realm" never becomes a one-dimensional listen. Sinister are seasoned death metal composers and fully understand that even the most brutal music needs hooks and memorable moments to be effectful. Tempo changes, atmospheric moments, and as mentioned above even a rare touch of melody, are all features present on this album which help ensure variation.

Band leader and frontman Aad Kloosterwaard leads his troops with an iron fist and a commanding growling delivery. The musicianship is on a high level on all posts, but it´s no surprise that Kloosterwaard has yet again managed to assemble a skilled and powerful band lineup. Sinister have always delivered high quality death metal (except for a momentary dive in quality on a couple of albums in the early 00s) and "Deformation of the Holy Realm" is no exception to that rule. Featuring a powerful, brutal, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly, "Deformation of the Holy Realm" is a high quality death metal release through and through, and a 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
16 days ago
I´ve learned to love Sinister over the years. I purchased their debut upon release but lost track of them through the 90s, but I´ve picked up all their albums since, and I think there are many great albums in their discography. They are the epitome of death metal to my ears. One of the artists I often put on for listening pleasure and not just to review...
Nightfly wrote:
16 days ago
I enjoy Sinister but they've never been a favourite with me. Their albums are always good but lacking that x-factor that makes greatness.
Vim Fuego wrote:
20 days ago
I hadn't realised this was out. I was highly impressed with the previous album, so will definitely have to check this out!

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