The roots of supergroup Sinsaenum date back to 1998 when DragonForce bassist Frédéric Leclercq decided he wanted to try something a little different, and a little nastier. The project lay dormant for years, but in 2010 Leclercq eventually made things happen by joining forces with fellow Frenchmen, Seth, bassist Heimoth, and guitarist Stéphane Buriez of Loudblast. Now playing guitar, he also recruited the dual vocal partnership of Attila Csihar of black metal titans Mayhem, and Sean Zatorsky of Dååth. The bands’ line-up is completed by former Slipknot drummer and general legend Joey Jordison.
After a lengthy wait, the blackened death metal act finally released a couple of EPs and their feature-length debut Echoes of the Tortured in 2016 and followed those up with the Ashes EP in 2017. Clearly keen to keep the momentum going, Sinsaenum now returns in 2018 with their second full-length album, Repulsion for Humanity (all earMUSIC).
Opening with an onslaught of Cannibal Corpse-meets-Pantera style riffs, a whirlwind of double kick drums, and fearsome twin vocals, the title track is a pure statement of intent which would be awesome if only you didn’t find yourself singing the chorus to ‘Terrible Certainty’ by Kreator directly over the top of it. ‘Final Resolve’ is next. Its slow grind tends to get a little repetitive but is saved by Buriez and his fancy fretwork.
‘Sworn to Hell’ features a tasty mid-paced groove riff, some nicely unsettling whispered vocals by Attila, and guttural roars from Zatorsky, and if you can imagine a sort of atmospheric black metal version of ‘Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills’ by Pantera then you wouldn’t be a million miles away from ‘I Stand Alone’. ‘Rise of the Light Bearer’, ‘Manifestation of Ignorance’ and ‘Sacred Martyr’ all do their thing competently enough without ever wanting to stay in your brain for long afterwards, while ‘My Swan Song’ is more of the same, but an attention-sapping eight minutes in length. ‘Nuit Noire’ is purposeful and fierce, and is undoubtedly one of the album’s better tracks, but things drop off again with the furious but otherwise forgettable ‘Insects’.
Clearly leaving the best for last, however, closer ‘Forsaken’ is an absolute monster. Atmospheric, dark, powerful, and genuinely memorable, it might be over nine minutes long, but really doesn’t feel like it. If only the rest of the record could have been as good as this.
Although Repulsion for Humanity definitely has its moments, the album unfortunately gets bogged down with too many generic, characterless riffs and structures. Jordison’s drumming is as superb as ever, the bass and lead guitar work are excellent, and the production is punchy and crisp, but while everyone appears to be on form individually, the material largely fails to do justice to the performances which results in a record that doesn’t quite manage to live up to the sum of its parts.