With an air of doom to its open classic heavy metal heart, World of Evil the new album from US metallers Sinister Realm is one of those releases which just grabs you by the emotions and thrusts you into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise. It is an exciting and pulse racing encounter which leaves senses and appetite alert and hungry for more, something you can argue few bands in the heavy metal genre has achieved in recent times. The Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet has no problem in recruiting the passions and hunger though, certainly on this their third full length release, and without necessarily breaking down existing walls they offer something refreshingly different.
The eight track album has an imagination and depth which also takes in the essences of rich flavours outside of its core sound, this fusion rising to songs that use open influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate in a shadows clad intensive union that sparks off of essences from bands such as Candlemass and Memento Mori. Formed in 2008 by ex-Pale Divine member John Gaffney (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon), Sinister Realm followed up a four-song demo with the well-received self-titled album in 2009, followed two years later to good acclaim its successor The Crystal Eye. Released through Shadow Kingdom Records, World of Evil takes the band to another plateau of accomplishment and one suspects acclaim, the quartet of Gaffney, vocalist Alex Kristof, guitarists John Kantner and John Risko, and drummer Chris Metzger, raising not only their own bar but that on modern classically sculpted heavy metal.
The first thing to say as we delve into the release is how impressive and deliciously imposing and creative the bass work of Gaffney is, throughout the release its throaty steely tone revolving through seductive to carnivorous but perpetually darkening the shadows, breath, and creative presence of songs wonderfully. It is a bestial predator which gives an intimidation and menace to every second of the release taking the listener into hidden dangers tempering the melodic flames which equally enhance and fire up the release.
Opener Dark Angel of Fate escapes from a stark threatening ambience, exploding into an eagerly paced romp of crisp rhythms and that instantly calling bass sound. Riffs too grip attention with their unspectacular but directly invitational attack whilst the excellent vocals of Kristof parade the song’s tale with expression and strength. As becomes apparent across the whole album, the anthemic lure of the song is dramatic and potent, a power metal like charge fuelling the imaginative engine for the melodic invention to flare off from. It is an excellent start soon backed up by the following pair of Bell Strikes Fear and the title track, even if they fail to quite live up to the impressive welcome of the album. The first of the two holds more of the expectations you would assume from a classic metal song but with good backing vocal shouts and the excellent guitar play not forgetting the bass threat expanding its presence, the track is a rewarding encounter equalled by its slower intensive successor, the song a more than decent companion to thoughts and imagination.
The grooved enticement of The Ghosts of Nevermore with its familiar yet undefined touch marks the epically breathing song as another major highlight. As guitars coax the appetite with those acidic grooves the bass unveils its own predatory but simultaneously beckoning lure, the union bringing greed into play towards the rich weave of the song. Hunger for it is accelerated by the fine craft of the guitars and the rising symphonic atmosphere infusing the air. The captivating track is just the start of a scintillating passage within the album, Prophets of War stepping up with its confrontational rhythmic sinews and antagonistic riffs next to lead the listener and thoughts into a battlefield of climactic emotion and riveting endeavour. The bass again steals the biggest share of the passions, but every aspect of the track recruits full eagerness and instinctive subservience to its towering inventive declaration, the melodic and adventurous exploration of the initial dark premise as it moves towards its climax especially enthralling.
The pulsating and deviously addictive Cyber Villain has blood surging around veins with irresistible ease, the song a thumping example of choice heavy metal whilst the instrumental The Forest of Souls calms down emotions and energies with enchantingly creative poise before evolving into the vibrant key for final track Four Black Witches to unlock its brooding malevolence and doom like gothic presence. Approaching nine minutes of classic genre fare it is a captivating if slightly overlong conclusion to an excellent release.
World of Evil is a thrilling fascination brought by a band in Sinister Realm which is giving an arguably well-worn genre a new kick of creative adrenaline.
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