Liv Sin – Follow Me
Label: Despotz Records
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Many a metal fan’s heart broke at the end of 2015 when Sweden’s Sister Sin called it quits. The band’s music seemed to grow stronger with each successive album. Yet shortly after the final Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival Tour, which also tragically ended that year, the quartet dissolved. Fortunately, vocalist Liv “Sin” Jagrell still raged with a passion to create metal, and the seeds of Liv Sin were planted. Over the next year, Liv put together a new band featuring drummer Per Bjelovuk, bassist Tommie Winther, and guitarists Patrick Ankermark and Chris Bertzell. She inked a deal with Despotz Records, and tapped former U.D.O. alums Fitty Weinhold and Stefan Kaufmann to produce her debut album, fittingly titled, Follow Me.
Sister Sin fans will find much to love about Follow Me, from Liv’s distinctive growl to many of the more traditional metal elements on the record. However, Liv also takes the listener in new directions far removed from her Sister Sin roots. Liv Sin is heavier than its predecessor, and there is an infusion of modern, black, even industrial metal in the mix.
The album’s debut single, “Let Me Out” harkens to Liv’s old school roots, but it also hints at what is to come. The anthemic chanted chorus is built for Sin, while the ominous verse vocals showcase a darker more malevolent side to Liv’s character.
“The Fall” opens the record with a pulse-pounding, neck-snapper that recalls Painkiller era Judas Priest. The first glimpse of Liv Sin’s heavier direction. This segues seamlessly into the weighty groove of “Hypocrite.”
The haunting “Black Souls” finds its foundations cemented in Black metal influences, yet there is plenty of melody at play here as well. This is followed by the gritty swagger of “Godless Utopia.”
One of the album’s stand out tracks comes in the form of “Endless Roads,” a slower tempo, moodier song. It allows Liv to stretch out a bit vocally from the snarls and screaming vocals. She is able to tap into her more emotive side here, to great effect.
Destruction’s Schmier joins Liv for the aggressive yet melodic single, “Killing Ourselves to Live.” Their two voices entwine with beautiful fury. In contrast, Jagrell tapped her friend Jyrki 69 of The 69 Eyes for her remake of “Immortal Sin;” A song pulled from Rob Halford’s post-Priest project, Fight. Jyrki’s gloomy low-end vocals juxtapose nicely against Liv’s raspy attack.
A personal favorite on Follow Me is the trashy chugger, “I’m Your Sin.” It sinks its hook like an infectious earworm that won’t let go. This flows back to back with the lumbering grinder, “Emperor of Chaos,” with its roiling guitars and crushing rhythms.
The album closes out with perhaps Liv’s most personal track, the poignant, “The Beast Inside.” It is arguably a testament to her perseverance and unrelenting will to rise up in the wake of adversity. Her former band ended, but the beast inside fed on her desire to triumph, and Follow Me is her victory call.
Liv Sin is the next step for Liv Jagrell, and her debut album, Follow Me, is a finely crafted debut that makes a declarative statement: She is back and she’s not going away. Follow Me is cohesive, dynamic, and diverse, without straying too far from the Liv Sin fans have come to love; guitar-driven melodies with powerful and genuine vocals. Follow Me has a bit of all you could hope for from Liv, and provides every reason to follow her on this journey.