It is easy to declare that on Disguised Vultures, the new album from Swedish metallers Sister, there is very little new going on but you can just as comfortably announce that the album is a refreshing and imagination teasing slab of sleaze punk inspired metal which for the main thrills and ignites satisfying urges within feet and emotions. Raw and contagious, seducing like Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13 meets Crashdiet in a glam cast pit of degenerate rioting, band and album create a provocative brawl where wantonness and salacious attitudes are encouraged and sonic bruising recommended.
The ten track release follows debut album Hated which like its successor was unleashed on Metal Blade Records. Since forming in 2006, Sister’s sound has certainly evolved, if not dramatically, since first EP Deadboys Making Noise in 2009. Even more so their craft and adventure has spread from just horror punk type scenarios to maturer enterprises taking on greater conciseness and potency on the way as evidenced enjoyably by Disguised Vultures. Tours and shows with the likes of Hardcore Superstar, Wednesday 13, Crashdiet, Fozzy, and U.D.O. as well as festival appearances between albums has only strengthened the stature and awareness for the Stockholm based quartet’s sound whilst earning them a reputation as one impressive irrepressible live encounter but you feel that Disguised Vultures just might be the key to turn the lock of greater recognition even if it leaves expectations fed rather than starved predominantly.
The band go straight for the jugular with opener My Enemy, its first breath a roaring blaze of punk infested scuzz which though immediately hitting full on between the eyes suddenly steps into what could have been its intro. A sudden chilled ambience littered with samples intercepts the imagination at this point whilst a ravenous heavy bass tone prowls inviting in rampant predatory rhythms which soon add their menace to the emprise. It is an intriguing and inspired start which arguably song and album never replicates again preferring to reinvent and twist existing flames of invention. As bass and rhythms enslave the ears and a sonic wind from the guitar shapes the landscape as the song hits full gear again, vocals and sounds slip into a more regular and predictable encounter. Nevertheless it is a rousing and compelling confrontation which uncages the same antagonistic belligerence and contagion found in Murderdolls and even more so the early and solo work of Wednesday 13.
The impressive start makes way for the first single from the album Sick. With heavy metal melodic taunting and sinew driven rhythmic barracking leading to one of those anthemic choruses which you fight but always succumb, the song is an easily accessible and pleasing stomp offering nothing to be slack jawed over but providing a full and tasty meal for the appetite to eagerly embrace. Combined with its predecessor the album has already taken a tight grip which is sustained by both the title track and the next up Arise. The first of the two lacks the spark of the first two but romps with a juicy groove coring fiery riffs and melodic enticement whilst more restrained rhythms frame good group vocals and the rasping lead of Jamie. It is a decent enough track to settle down with but soon surpassed by its successor. Loaded with addictive barbed hooks which dig deeply and an infection soaked chorus driven home by again vocalised anthemic temptation, the song is three minutes of insatiable horror punk wrapped in sleaze rock, not ground breaking but quite irresistible.
Another pinnacle of the album arrives with We Salute ‘Em, a heavy duty rapacious brute of a song which from its intensive weighty entrance steers the senses through a volcanic and quarrelsome tempest of scarring riffs and spiteful rhythms under a melodically cast sonic sky. Adding little twists and sparks of imagination to its absorbing body of sound, the track is another to seize and hold the imagination long past the departure of the album, something not all songs such as Naked and DMN can boast. Before them though Sister sets free Slay Yourself, a punk infused treat with a causticity which is as inciting and magnetic as the sonic storm around it. The next up Naked is a power ballad which though well-crafted just does not spark any hunger for itself unlike other songs. It is strong and skilfully presented though making a break from the rioting but soon has thoughts looking at what is next.
From the again okay DMN, a predictable yet enthused growling fury, (Stop the) Revolution pulls the album back to its earlier heights. A rhythmic enticement opens up the persuasion and instantly has focus glued to its bait, a trap which never relents right through the whole of the song. A gnarly carnivorous bass predation is equally as seductive, combining with the drums for a dramatic canvas upon which sonic endeavour and melodic flames provide more potent adventure. The best track on the album it is punk metal at its best and the perfect lure into the band.
The album closes with Please Kill Me, a song which feels like a filler more than anything. Certainly it does not live up to the strengths and exciting toxicity which marks the rest of the release but it cannot deter Disguised Vultures from being a fun album to play with. It is not going to provide you with anything startlingly new but for strong, pleasing, and enduring anthems of horror punk sleaze you could do a lot worse than Sister’s new tease.
Disguised Vultures is available now in North America and on the 24th of January in Europe.
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