Sister Sin – Black Lotus
Release Dates: October 27, 2014
Scandinavian metal warriors, Sister Sin, return this fall with their fifth studio effort, Black Lotus. The album, finds the band churning up the same old-school metal blood that pumped through its first four efforts, but continues its progression toward a heavier yet more melodic style.
The Swedish quartet, featuring vocalist Liv Jagrell, guitarist Jimmy Hiltula, bassist Strandh, and drummer Dave Sundberg, has recorded what is arguably its best and most cohesive effort to date. The follow-up to 2012’s highly successful, Now and Forever album, finds Sister Sin sharpening its collective songwriting chops.
There is nothing boldly new on Black Lotus; Sister Sin has just turned it all up a notch. If you have a problem with F-bombs and confident attitudes, don’t look here, for Jagrell and company are not known for holding tongues or pulling punches. Black Lotus is in your face from the opening riffs of “Food for Worms”, a song that revs the engine and propels the album off to a quick and heavy start. The band’s disdain for government powers add bite to Jagrell’s usual snarling attack. Sundberg sneaks in some nice military drum fills to give the track added dimension. Hiltula and Strandh keep the song compelling with their assailing rhythms. A tasty bit of ear candy to kickstart the record.
The album’s first single, “Chaos Royale” keeps the momentum moving as the band takes aim at the judgmental control freaks of the world. The song has a fantastic swing to it that blitzes the listener, and Hiltula’s riffs power the catchy melody line. One cannot help but love Jagrell’s vocal conviction.
“Desert Queen” offers up a bit of a mid-tempo Accept vibe, while “Count Me Out” lays raw aggression on top of a cinematic foundation. “Au Revior” and “Stones Throw” are finely crafted headbangers that continue the tradition of the Sister Sin signature sound.
“The Jinx” finds Jagrell showing off the beauty side of her beastly vocals, but her ferocity is never diminished. She owns every line she sings and makes no apologies. The song offers a nice sonic reprieve amidst the fury of the album’s other tracks.
The albums stand out track is the final track, “Sail North”. The band pulls out all the stops on this ballsy homage to the group’s heritage. Sundberg and Strandh rhythmically pummel on this riotous rocker while Jagrell and Hiltula trade vocals on the verses. “Gp Jimmy!” The chorus adds a sense of the epic to the track, and it all makes for a brilliant closer to the record.
There are only nine tracks on this record, which for those of us used to 11-14 tracks on most albums these days, might feel like a bit of a cheat. That said, Sister Sin offer up nine solid tunes with no filler, which most others bands do not have the balls to do: Cut the filler and give us the meat.
Black Lotus is a non-stop sonic eargasm of traditional metal and rock and roll revelry. The album showcases more variation than previous efforts, and while there are one or two moments in the latter half which lull a bit, the album’s overall momentum quickly dusts them away. Sister Sin has delivered one of the year’s best hard rock efforts in my book–a sure precursor to what they will deliver in years to come.