The End of Sanctuary
Released: 2000, Nuclear Blast
A little over a year ago, I bought The Nature of Evil (*See March ‘99 reviews) simply out of the curiosity that arose after discovering that Matt Sinner and Tom Naumann of Primal Fear were also the "main men" of Sinner. I liked the Primal Fear debut, but I had no idea whatsoever as to what Sinner sounded like. Luckily for me, Sinner kicked ass! (However, I will admit that it did take a couple of listens to appreciate fully.) And while I never bothered to get any more Sinner CD’s until recently (too much other stuff took priority...), my interest in the band was immediately renewed once I found out they were set to release a new album in March. But alas... March came and went with no new Sinner disc. So did the month of April. Finally, in early May, The End of Sanctuary was released in North America and I had a copy shipped to me only a couple of days later.
Unlike The Nature of Evil, I immediately took a strong liking to this CD and listened to it several times over next couple of days, not once bothering with any other discs in between plays. I’m not sure why I liked it so much, as the material is not as heavy as some of the band’s previous efforts (Maybe it was because I had gotten their Judgement Day album the previous week and was in "Sinner mode"...), but there’s a certain (I hate using this term in regards to Metal...) "catchiness" to it. Songs like "Blood Relations", "Edge of the Blade", "The Prophecy", and the title track grab your attention and have you humming along rather quickly. And unlike some bands whose albums tend to be somewhat monotonous, Sinner keep things interesting by keeping all the songs distinct from each other. From the hard-rocking opener "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered", to the Accept-ish "Pain In Your Neck", to the straight-up rock ‘n’ roll of "Heavy Duty", Matt Sinner and co. deliver their brand of gritty Power Metal with great conviction, while at the same time not taking themselves too seriously.
This time out, guitarist Henny Wolter (ex-Thunderhead) has replaced Tom Naumann (in both Sinner AND Primal Fear) and drummer Fritz Randow (who left to join Saxon) has been replaced (at least temporarily) by Helloween stick man Uli Kusch (the man who single-handedly saved Helloween, in my opinion...). All the band members turn in impeccable performances and the production is exceptional. Every instrument can be easily heard without any one overpowering another. But if I had to make one complaint about The End of Sanctuary, it would have to be the fact that the solos are less complex than those found on their older material. But then, changes are to be expected whenever new members are brought into any band. Fortunately, in Sinner’s case the changes to their sound are very few and minor.
Well... I don’t know what else to say other than I liked it. A lot. And if you liked the band’s last few albums, then you should like it too. Nuff said.