Sinister Realm - s/t 3/5

Reviewed: 11-20-09


1. (The oracle) Into the depths of hell
2. Machine god
3. The demon seed
4. Message from beyond
5. March of the damned
6. The nihilist
7. Mongol horde
8. Enter the Sinister Realm
9. The circle is broken

Sinister Realm are an epic, power, doom metal act from Allentown, Pennsylvania. They are signed with Shadow Kingdom Records. They are neither brutal like the death metal band Sinister from Holland, nor technical thrash like the endless war waged on suiciety by Milwaukee Wisconsin's Realm; however, they are quite good at what they set out to achieve.

Fans of all eras of Candlemass, Heaven & Hell, Solitude Aeturnus, Penance, Trouble, Witchfinder General, and Memento Mori will find their dark, feral, atmospheric music quite appealing. This album was recorded, engineered, and mixed by Brian J. Anthony, and produced by bassist John Gaffney. The CD comes with a colourful booklet, which includes the haunting lyrics, band photos, and an informative, and even entertaining 4-page detailed thank list.

The vocal list of influence for singer Alex Kristof include Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio. The shorn skulled nihilist has a basic bass tonal range, with some degree of perspicuous undertones, showcasing his mortal plan. I am reminded of Tattoo Frank of the once great Florida band Premonition, as well as Joe Comeau, and Sean Peck of Cage, when he does not emulate King Diamond with his shrill cry.

The CD opens with "(The oracle) Into the depths of hell", which channels Diamond head's "Am I evil" pulsating and agitating beat. This sets the pace for the prognostication of doom in the dark realm of sin, which stirs the emotions with a message from beyond. Spawned seething tracks like "Demon seed" or "The nihilist" implant the listener with that feverous chill which permeates all throughout the CD.

"Machine god" has the similar marching depredating pace of "The rage" by Judas Priest. Many of the songs are in the realm of the 'Sin after sin' stirring sound. "Mongol horde" is an example of this with its "Before the dawn" breaking interludes. The guitar solos are balanced by a heavy, slow, dreary, plodding, rhythm, that never devolve into an abysmal sludge crawl cadence.

The classic instrumental "Enter the sinister realm" lays the foundation for "March of the damned", a spot on mirrored interpretation of early Jag Panzer, Steel Assassin, and Liege Lord. Unfortunately, John's bass is a bit too pounding, creating an annoying tone for this epic tune. "The circle is broken" reigns with a November's Doom tinged vibe. Fans of Sacred Steel who celebrate Gerrit P. Mutz' other project Dawn of Winter will appreciate what Sinister Realm have to offer us.

Already, since the release of this pale and divine CD in August, drummer Darin McCloskey and guitarist Keith Patrick have faithfully departed the Sinister Realm. Fate will determine what awaits the new line-up, in the chamber of sorrows and despair. I am grateful the band sent me this CD to review. It is a refreshing and illuminating journey into the dark, sinister realm, amongst such a staid doom genre of Pentagram poseurs, and Candlemass pretenders.




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