Sistered – New Sky …   Leave a comment

‘New Sky’ is the full length début album from Pittsburgh’s Sistered. This band has created a buzz for their live performances, a recent show they did with Lo-Pan really raised a few eyebrows from people impressed with the mixture of doom, thrash, and hard rock. Before even hearing this band for the first time, a good buddy told me they sounded like Entombed crashing head-long into Thin Lizzy but I am not so sure I agree on the lizzy part. To me this is more like Mastodon jamming with Iron Maiden playing songs written by Matt Pike.

Also what I hear is a sludgy Entombed with a good dose of old school metal and early thrash, mainly Slayer but before you start scratching your collective heads and wondering why am I reviewing such a generic metal band, Sistered are far from it. Guitarists Jesse Meredith and John Dzziuban blend melodic hard rock touches to a barrage of energetic riffs while still finding time to squeeze in doom and post-rock variations. There is some good variety going on within these grooves but it is not without its flaws.

Opener ‘Shut Your Eyes’ is a short but powerful early styled thrash metal attack but with distorted sludge injected in huge doses. The riffing is fairly intricate and the drumming is intense. It is a bit irritating though when the track really hits top gear when the vocals are introduced some two minutes in, and then track ends in a hurry. The vocals here really are the main flaw as I hear it, I hate to say it but the vocalist seems too loose and out-of-place at times, maybe even lacking confidence but that is up to the band to answer that one, whatever it is – they don’t gel with the music too often on this album. ‘God Save The Child Brides’ begins with a lot of noise – guitar noise and cymbal bashing that is. There is some energy to this track and it is certainly very different from the albums opening track but the rather awkward chorus kind of hurts what good have been a great tune. It is certainly not bad at all but it just sounds a bit sloppy after the intricate guitar work of the opening track. The eight minute title track shows a lot more depth and concise songwriting, there is some fine chugging guitar work and punk-metal crossover kind of intensity but perhaps goes on a couple of minutes too long. However the blending of Sabbathian doomy riffs with a High On Fire kind of menace does work well and this is overall, one of the albums best tracks.

‘Layer Of The Empire’ is one of the real killers here, a sonic dose of good old-fashioned heaviness with great melody and one of the few moments where the vocals sound right on the money. This is one of the few moments on the album where it is purely based around riffs and not much else and it is an awesome tune. The band might show a lot of diversity in their songwriting but a few more tracks like Layer Of The Empire would have suited me fine, each to their own but the best tunes on this album are the ones where the riffs take control of the situation. The instrumental ‘Talking Shit From Outer Space’ has a great title but as a collection of musical ideas, doesn’t sit too well with me either. It goes from N.W.O.B.H.M galloping metal to boogie rock to sludge without really sounding too great at any one genre, again I must point out, nothing is really bad, it just sounds mediocre to me. ‘Story Of The Witch’ puts the album back on track with Sabbathian bluesy riffing, great solos, wailing vocals and even some wild fret-shredding guitar work all in the one tune. If there is a downside to the song, it sounds awfully close to the album’s title track ‘New Sky’ in structure and so is very predictable but it again, it works.

The minute-and-a-half ‘Midnight Revenge’ is painfully underdone and with that I mean, I wish it was much longer. Just as the peak is reached they slam the brakes on the tune and go into the album closer, ‘Blood Red Fog.’ Sadly this is another song where the vocals seem to be fighting against the rest of the band, the very flat and clean vocal approach doesn’t seem to fit the song at all which is a pity as the song has got some good guitar dynamics happening. So far this year, no other album has left me with such a conundrum, how do I rate this album. Musically the album is diverse and has its fair share of great riffage but its own diversity might be its downfall. The rather awkward vocals also leaves a lot to be desired but the band has got one great thing going for them and that is personality. Every song on this album has its own charisma even though they repeat their ideas more than once but to be fair, many bands do that. One thing also has to be said, crank this album up loud. Now you can say that about every album but this album sounds way better at extreme volumes than down low, I discover that after the second I listened to it – the songs really come to life when you turn this baby up. While this album sounds very patchy and disjointed to me with the dodgy vocals, I like the underlying meat to most of the songs so I look forward to hearing more from this band….6/10

Sistered @ Bandcamp

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Posted May 15, 2011 by doommantia in Sistered

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