First of all, SINNER is a band that I am not familiar with. I always enjoy listening to and discovering bands for the first time and their latest offering Santa Muerte does not disappoint on the first play through.
SINNER are clearly no rookies to the scene; they formed in 1982 by vocalist and bassist Mat Sinner, who also known for German Power Metal band PRIMAL FEAR. They were included as part of the German Power/Heavy/Speed metal scene.
Santa Muerte the lady of Holy Death is a folk saint in Mexican Folk Catholicism. She is associated with healing, protection, financial well being and assurance of a path to the afterlife. SINNER will take you on such a journey.
Album Opener Shine On initially reminds me of the sleaze of CRASHDIET only to slide into an IRON MAIDEN styled bridge. Which is then followed by female vocals covering the opposites of right and wrong, and of angels and demons. A sign of the religious imagery shared across the album. A great album intro that gives you a taste of what is yet to come and shows you how varied the band’s style is.
The following track Fiesta Y Copas features guest vocalist Ronnie Romero (LORDS OF BLACK/RAINBOW). It’s about drinking and partying. This is a feel good, fun song and a reminder to live for the moment rather than dwell in the past.
The title track Santa Muerte starts with a bass intro, then slides into guitar prowess and then shifts once again into the first verse. This track has an incredibly catchy chorus, which you can envision the crowd participation in live shows and would certainly get you out of your seats: “Lady of the shadows, lady of the dead, could you protect us until then… Santa Muerte! Here comes the idol, I will be back at Santa Muerte, I don’t regret it…” and for the record, neither do I!
For Last Exit Hell, the opening verse embraces the fuel behind the aforementioned scene SINNER were part of. The song then drives you into a clear headbanging air guitar opportunity.
What Went Wrong: Listeners of the “modern” metal scene would argue that this is just “Dad rock”. However, it is catchy, utilises great guitar solo work and quite clearly there is nothing wrong with this track at all.
Lucky 13 turns it up a level, faster and harder than the previous track. It references letting go of the past and following a different path.
Death Letter takes you on a dirty Southern Blues Rock semi-acoustic story centred on the premise of Judgement Day. This vibe is reinforced by the slow paced to begin. It builds to a quality piece of guitar work on the solo, dirty groove laden basslines utilised with strong female vocals to reference the end of days.
Craving time travels back to the atypical classic German styled Heavy-Metal of yesteryear not dissimilar to a SCORPIONS track or potentially Steve Lee era GOTTHARD.
The Wolf is simply a no-nonsense classic rock song about a Werewolf, or is it?
Misty Mountain is in essence a ballad that would encourage anyone to singalong to with strong powerful vocals. It has a touch of melancholy and a reflection on past experiences.
The Ballad of Jackhas very strong imagery utilised from the power lyrics in use here: “over mountains and over the seas where the truth lies behind…” Quite clearly the Power-Metal track of the album going off the chorus alone.
Stormy Night is the albums closing track. It starts with panpipe melodies and then utilises both vocalists bouncing stanzas off each other, for the verse then harmonise the chorus together. The guitar work is similar to THIN LIZZY in places. It then utilises a bridging build up following the second chorus which crumbles into a sweeping and weeping guitar solo. It returns to the singalong chorus to once again the panpipe melody to close.
Santa Muerte has certainly wet my appetite and I am looking forward to listening to more by SINNER in the not so distant future. “I will be back at Santa Muerte” very soon!
Words: Martin White
Santa Muerte will be unleashed tomorrow via AFM Records.