Sinsid – Mission From Hell

Rating: 2/5
Label: Pitch Black Records
Released: 2018
Buy Album: Bandcamp / Amazon / Pitch Black Records Store
Band Website: WebsiteFacebook

Band Line Up:

Terje Singh Sidhu – Vocals
Sten Roger Knutsen – Lead Guitar
Even Håvold – Rhythm Guitar
Grezgorz Urbanski – Bass
Robin Wick – Drums

Tracklist:

1. The Sinsid Prelude
2. Steel Riders
3. Hellhammer
4. Sons of the North
5. Infernal Pit
6. Revenge by Death
7. Mission from Hell
8. Union Sign
9. Lost & Lonely
10. Land of Doom

Review:

Norwegian heavy metal band Sinsid represents something of a career change for former pro-wrestler, Terje S. Sidhu. Originally formed in 2012, they play the sort of fantasy-influenced power metal that might peak your interest if you listen to bands like Manowar or Savage Machine.

Despite already being six years into their career, Mission from Hell is Sinsid’s debut release. It features ten songs that were tracked earlier this year at Studio Borealis in Norway, then mixed in the UK by Jaime Gomez at Orgone Studios. The record has been released by Cypriot independent label, Pitch Black Records.

First impressions are formed by the striking cover art, which features a muscle-bound warrior, wielding his axe on a barren landscape. Typically for the genre, there is a heavy nod to some powerful, masculine imagery, which is perhaps unsurprising given the Terje’s history as a professional fighter. Indeed, the frontman still cuts quite an imposing figure with his pumped up, heavyset frame.

It’s an image that has quite a specific appeal. My feeling is if you are going to put a formidable crusader with a torso like a tree on the cover of your first album, you sure as Hell need to have some formidable music to back up your bravado.

By way of a call to arms, the album begins with Sinsid Prelude. It’s an instrumental piece, no doubt intended to create a sense of approaching bedlam. Unfortunately, it’s a shaky start. The intro doesn’t quite contain the grandeur or sense of purpose the band might have hoped. To my ears, it feels a bit underdeveloped and across its four-minute runtime, it doesn’t really go anywhere or convey anything before it ends.

Thankfully, Steel Riders eventually thumps in and picks up the pace. Here, Sinsid hit a groove that, musically, is not dissimilar to vintage Judas Priest. It’s also the first time we hear Terje’s singing voice, which is a gruff tone, delivered with authority but with limited range.

Sinsed describes themselves as being influenced by several styles of music. From blues, through rock and metal and on to Viking and thrash sounds. It is fair to say that there are some stylistic shifts across this album. A song like Hellhammer takes a clear step from the nostalgic 80s sound before it and actually has an alternative, 90’s undercurrent. It actually reminds this reviewer of early GWAR!

During this third song, drummer Robin Wick pulls off some impressive drums fills. However, despite his obvious ability to pull out the chops when he needs to, something isn’t quite right. As the album plays on, I find myself noticing that the drumming seems awkward and it lacks a bit of muscle (ironic, given that front cover, right?). Frustratingly, the mix seems to slightly favour the drums too, which only highlights the occasionally lacklustre groove. It does feel a bit churlish to criticise the performance because it’s actually all in time and not without some impressive flourishes, but it just feels…Off.

As a positive contrast to this, the guitar playing fares much better. Deceptively simple, songs like Sons Of The North and Infernal Pit actually demonstrate some creative playing and interesting arrangements. Revenge By Death is an exercise in less-is-more riffing that works its way to a rock & roll battle hymn. To their credit, Sinsid really are drawing on several heavy metal influences.

That being said, by the time we reach the title track of the album my mind is starting to wander. The frustration I am feeling is that all of the positives are hampered by a few issues.

Firstly, the entire album has quite a dull and flat production, with a different mix or a more creative producer at the helm I am wondering if all the dexterous soloing, Sabbath riffing and Iron Maiden guitar melodies could shine a little brighter. My other gripe is that despite his obvious passion and completely sincere efforts, Terje doesn’t quite reach the sonic majesty required to turn an average fantasy/power metal band into a soaring, fist pumping, fellowship of the riff. While a narrow vocal range isn’t necessarily a problem (As I’m sure anyone who listens to Ozzy or Lemmy would tell you) Terje’s voice doesn’t quite have the variety or charisma required to keep things compelling across an album’s worth of songs.
Unfortunately, where a song like Union Sign should be a rallying call to action, it actually sounds like half of the band are struggling to keep the pace.

Not to be written off so easily, Sinsid do still have some aces up their sleeves. The Lost And Lonely deserves a positive mention. It starts off as an earnest ballad but works its way up to some great NWOBHM soloing that would make Dave Murray and Adrian Smith feel quite proud. It also brings us to the final track on the album: Land Of Doom. 

True to the title, this is a slow, doomy tread towards the end of the record. It is based on a low, repeating riff that is accompanied by some cracks of thunder and Terje’s command that, once again, we march into war. This being the Land of Doom, I don’t fancy our chances of survival much.

In summary, Mission From Hell is a mixed but not unpleasant experience. There are some good ideas on here, and it’s a shame that a few things hold this back from being a more successful album. With a bit of development Sinsid have the potential to make a really solid and interesting metal record.

For now, file them under Ones To Watch.

Review By Beandog

 

 

 

 

 

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