Liv Sin, the rock band featuring former Sister Sin singer Liv Jagrell has entered the studio this week to begin working on the follow-up to her well-received debut album, Follow Me. Liv Jagrell Producer Emil Nödtveidt (Deathstars) will helm the album at Black Syndicate studios. The album will release via Despotz Records in 2019.Continue reading
Ever since Hammerfall brought Glory To The Brave (via Nuclear Blast) by damn near single-handedly re-establishing traditional metal as a valid concern some 18 years ago, the traditional types of metal have existed in a vacuum. While even the most conservative of genres, thrash, updated itself in several directions via the urbanization and gangsterization of a Machine Head, or branched out into progressive and technical fields of your Voivod’s and Heathen’s, traditional metal (a sub-genre incorporating “HM”, Speed and Power Metal) seems happy to regurgitate the same tropes and styles ad infinitum.
I guess the clue is in the tag “traditional”…
Finland’s Battle Beast on their third album Unholy Saviour (Nuclear Blast) tick many boxes of the Speed Power Metal sub-genre confidently, continuing exactly where their second, self-titled album, finished; post-Stratovarius hard-rocking refrains punctuated with pacy Accept-influenced riffing, and peppered with rapid bursts of Pyry Vikki’s double-bass drum hurtle. Added to those ingredients are Noora Louhimo’s vocals, not a million miles away from Sister Sin’s Liv Jagrell (a band that Battle Beast share several aural similarities with) pitching from punchy mid-range to a powerful throaty higher register that give the band their quasi-distinctiveness and a USP.
As the album unfolds, it’s clear Battle Beast have three song types, the Symphonic Hard Rocker, such as opener ‘Lion Heart’, the ‘Freewheel Burning’ Speed Metal anthem of a ‘Speed And Danger’ and the softer, more delicate power ballad, of which ‘Sea of Dreams’ displays subtlety and grace and a softer tone to Noora’s voice, in a track that, while obvious in its dynamic climb, works despite its’ genericises.
With sprinkles of keyboards and dual guitars driving duelling descants, make no mistake the term derivate isn’t always a negative thing as Battle Beast do exactly what they set out to do, and this is a collection of well-crafted Hard Rocking Power Metal songs. The fact that there is nothing novel or innovative doesn’t have to put you off, it’s just a matter of whether you have room in your collection for an album that does exactly what you expect it to, that will share characteristics with several of its bed-fellows and is, ultimately, the very definition of “if you liked this band before, you’ll like this, if you didn’t there’s nothing on here that’ll change your mind”.
7.0 / 10
With one black leather thigh-high boot in the hard rock camp, and the other stomping down on the metal side of the fence, comes the confident swagger of Swedish quartet Sister Sin. Following hard on the heels of a successful second stage Bloodstock headline performance this year, it’s easy to see why the band are self-assured, as the headbanging ‘Food For Worms’ launches their fifth album Black Lotus (Victory).
Vocalist Liv Jagrell has bark, bite and edge in her voice, a metal snarl that stays around the mid-range, as the Scandinavians impart an album of no-surprises rock/metal that doesn’t just throwback, but whole-heartedly engages in the worship of the days of Accept and Dio. While comparisons with Doro may seem too obvious (and I tried my damnedest to avoid them), nonetheless ‘Desert Queen’ and ‘Ruled By None’ are smack bang in Pesch territory. Pleasingly, though, Sister Sin aren’t adverse to chucking the odd curveball in, as the more epic ‘Count Me Out’ inspires thoughts of Tony Martin era Sabbath jamming with Metal Church and the countrified ballad ‘The Jinx’ is a good tune which shows Sister Sin have chops, as it would have been easy to have car-crashed going down that particular alley.
At this stage in the game, while it’s too late to expect anything special from Sister Sin, it would be churlish to discount them completely as they are a whole-hearted and exceptionally competent act who deliver gratifying, committed hard rocking heavy metal like it’s going out fashion. I guess the problem is, we know it went out of fashion twenty years ago and came back stronger and more diverse than ever shortly after. We also know The Gods Made Heavy Metal, and that it’s never gonna die, so considering the tumults of great out there, it’s difficult to champion a release that is Top C grade in the grand scheme of things when there are so many A Grade acts out there doing something more interesting.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Black Lotus. It scratches an itch, but does so in the same non-permanent way that countless others do.