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To Hell and Back
Released: 2000, Nuclear Blast Records
"LISTEN UP EVERYBODY!!! BECAUSE THE BITCH... IS... BACK!!!" And thus the new Sinergy CD opens with (you guessed it...) "The Bitch is Back." And back she is, this time with a whole new line-up (Alexi Laiho being the only hold-over). Obviously Kim Goss (vocals/keys) and musical cohort/boyfriend Laiho (guitarist, Children of Bodom) haven’t wasted any time in writing new material since their debut album Beware the Heavens was released only about a year ago.
I’d been looking forward to finally hearing To Hell and Back ever since I found out a few months ago that it was being released this year. I was, however, a little worried about how it was going to sound with the new band members. Beware the Heavens boasted a rather impressive line-up which included Goss and Laiho, In Flames guitarist Jesper Stromblad, bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Mercyful Fate, Witchery, Arch Enemy), and drummer Ronny Milianowicz. Joining Sinergy this time out is drummer Tommi Lillman, bassist Marco Hietala, and guitarist Roope Latvala (Latvala is apparently a Finnish guitar wiz and one of Laiho’s personal idols.).
More guitar oriented than Beware the Heavens, To Hell and Back is not exactly a giant leap forward in terms of overall progression, but with two lead guitarists the soloing has become much more interesting with more trade offs and harmonies. The performances of the new band members is more than adequate and the production quality is equal to Beware the Heavens, so there are no changes in those departments. All of the songs on this CD are quite good with "Return to the Fourth World" and the almost-a-ballad "Laid to Rest" being the weaker tracks. I have the European version which also includes a cover song "Hanging on the Telephone." I don’t know who did it originally since the credits don’t say, but it almost sounds an old Blondie tune. The band did a good job of covering it, but it does sound a little out of place next to the other songs. I don’t know if it’s going to be on the North American version or not.
Anyway, about all I can say about To Hell and Back is, if you liked Beware the Heavens then you’ll like this too. But if you didn’t like Beware the Heavens then nothing on this CD will change your mind about Sinergy.
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