Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sister Sin Rock Harder and Darker on New Album

Sister Sin, Sweden’s heavy metal export, is back with a new album full of old school, piss and vinegar, 80s metal entitled Now and Forever. In an industry that seems to invent a new genre of metal quicker than it can turn out a proven long term talent, Sister Sin is a throwback to old school 80s metal. Come on, you remember. The hooks were infectious, the sing-along choruses and the attitudes were as big as the teased hair was.

Ok, first off, let’s address the “elephant in the room” and get it out of the way. Lead singer Liz Jagrell is hot and she is a regular part of Revolver Magazine’s Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock. She is far from being a one dimensional piece of eye candy fronting a band. If you ever get a chance to catch this band live, she will quickly change your mind if you think she’s just that. There are also three talented musicians backing this woman who are just as serious to prove they are not a novelty band or a band with a gimmick. By the way, before anyone tries to start something, “elephant in the room” is an old saying and it implies nothing about Liv. Seriously people, come on now!

Now and Forever is the band’s latest release on Victory Records and the follow-up to 2010’s True Sound of the Underground. It’s an eleven track arsenal of metal that hits you right between the eyes and never lets up. Now, I have to admit that the instrumental opener “MMXII” may be seen as a throw-away track. It may be something incorporated into their live show, but a short instrumental opener on a metal album can sometimes be confusing. It’s an eerie, kind of movie like piece that seems post apocalyptic in its build up. 

The real fun begins with the second track and the first video from the album “End of the Line”. Jimmy Hiltula’s opening riff took me back to classic Ratt from the 80s. The rhythm section of Strandh on bass and Dave Sundberg on drums lay down the foundation that helps rock this band’s core. “Fight Song” is up next and a standout on the album. Liv’s pissed off attitude is broadcast clear throughout the entire song. There’s a bad ass behind that pretty exterior and it’s just looking for a reason to be unleashed. I’m pretty sure that a song that starts off with a loud “F-you” is not going to be a heartfelt ballad.
“The Chosen Few” is catchy as hell as the guitar hooks you in immediately and that back beat from Strandh and Sundberg is infectious. The chorus is textbook metal as it is big and loud and commands audience participation. This will be a great song to add to their live show. “Running Low” is along the same design as the machine gun like drum intro immediately leads in one of Jimmy’s big riffs. In case I have failed to mention it before now, Liv’s vocals as stronger than ever on this album.

I was really caught off guard by the last track entitled “Morning After”. It’s a heartfelt ballad by Liz and the boys and very uncharacteristic of the band. I may be wrong and if I am, then someone please correct me, but this may be the first ballad that the band has attempted. It starts off with a lone piano playing and then Liv’s vocals, with a string section coming in soon after. It takes a power ballad turn midway through as the rest of the band joins her before the song fades out. It’s a very nice surprise as it expands the band’s repertoire and shows some depth.

Overall, the album is just what you would expect from Sister Sin. The ballad was a nice touch as I have never heard the band attempt one before and they pull it off convincingly. They pull no punches and they don’t try to reinvent the wheel or solve the national debt crisis on this release. It’s just straight ahead, classic metal with attitude and the balls to back it up. Yes, even with a front woman they manage to do that.

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