|Posted on December 11, 2014 at 11:10 PM|
Sister Sin - Black Lotus
Written by Antony Scholefield
Most metal bands would kill to have a hometown called Gothenburg. The Swedish city boasts a population of half a million and a crazy-awesome dramatic name. It's also home to the female-fronted metal band Sister Sin.
Led by the gaunt, gothic Liv Jagrell, the band spent six years flirting with indie labels before joining Victory Records in 2008. Now on their fifth album, Black Lotus, they've decided to include a pinch of pop in their thrash metal formula.
The album's first two tracks are perhaps the most hardcore - and perhaps a cut below the rest. 'Food For Worms' has a well-defined riff but is otherwise awkward in its arrangement. Lead single 'Chaos Royale' is better, but lines like "I'll put an end to music that sucks" drag it down. They're the lyrics of pimply adolescents trying to be hardcore but falling short.
The album truly begins with 'Au Revoir', which gets the rhythm right. It's still pure metal, but it's got a drop of pop too. Sister Sin realise that you don't have to sell your soul to be catchy. They simply recognise pop hooks as useful tools in the shed, and they apply them with industrial vigour.
'Stones Throw' is borderline speed metal but still maintain a quota of catchiness. It's like Halestorm cranked up another notch. Closer 'Sail North' falls into a similar category. It's still fast and heavy, but more spacious in its production style. It's what the album's opening should've been.
At some points, Sister Sin delve into territory that's just as dramatic as their hometown's name. Several songs have gothic string sections that rise up without breaking the tone at all. They're particularly surprising in 'Count Me Out', which has a brutal stomping rhythm and the refrain of "Stay the fuck away from me!" It all works, though. Check out 'Desert Queen' for Exhibit A.
It's worth mentioning 'The Jinx' as well. Yeah, it's acoustic-led. But it's possibly the best track on the album. It's certainly got the best lyrics, and there's a sly gunslinger-style lean to it that's pretty rad. It breaks out the heavier machinery after two minutes (of three), but it definitely works as pure ballad.
I've probably fixated too much on the name Gothenburg. (It is damn cool, though.) It sounds like a city of doom metal and black metal bands. Sister Sin have dabbled in these fields, but their new album brings in something far scarier: That pinch of pop. And when it's both hardcore and highly catchy, Black Lotus works.
Categories: Album Reviews