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Released: 2015, Massacre Records
I was going to preface this review by saying, ‘This album makes me feel old’. But I quickly realized nothing or no one can ‘make’ you feel old. You are as old as you feel. I do feel young but I am old enough to remember buying a cassette copy of their debut album, CROSS THE STYX, a quarter of a century ago! Now 25 years later to commemorate this admittedly amazing feat, Sinister have released a special album. I say it is an amazing feat, but in reality lots of mainstream rock bands have lasted 25 years, but how many Dutch Death Metal bands have lasted 25 years?
DARK MEMORIALS is just that a memorial and a 25th anniversary celebration. Instead of a live album or another box-set, the band opted to issue an album of cover tunes. At times bands will collect all the old cover tunes they have recorded over their career and issue them on a compilation. The band is not really known for it cover tunes so I believe all of these are newly recorded especially for this album. There is a brief, instrumental intro and then they rip through 10 cover tunes of classic Death and thrash from the 80’s. All of the choices are superb and in another potential ‘make me feel old’ moment, I bought all those original versions of the songs when they came out too! This is a (death)blast from the past but thankfully they didn’t stoop to naming the album that! The Sepultura cover reminds me of how good that band once was and it was nice to see a fewer rarer cuts (Carnage, Repulsion) among the more well known tunes (Slayer, Kreator). All of the songs are great choices and bring back great memories while listening to these faithful interpretations.
The only cover that seems out of place amongst all the 80’s Death and Thrash is ‘Master Killer’ by Merauder, the 90’s modern Metal band. Sinister also has covered about seven other bands (Celtic Frost, Possessed, Grotesque, November’s Doom, Whiplash, Massacre, Bloodfeast) and would have been nice to collect all those in this set as well. The cover art is awesome as always, staying in the demonic/satanic themed red cover art motif that has adorned the last several albums. The production is excellent and the line-up has stabilized and they seem to be having fun with this…as much as you can have ‘fun’ doing Death Metal cover tunes. It’s a serious business! To top it all off the re-recorded a cut from their debut album.
I personally would grade DARK MEMORIALS higher but realistically it is 'just' a covers album for fans of a certain age and a specific genre. Following our guide of ranking something a 4 or higher defined as; 'Something every Metal fan should own' I went on the side of caution. For old-school Death Metal fans this is a treasure and grade it higher accordingly. Overall cover tune albums are incredibly rare and usually lots of fun and DARK MEMORIALS is one of the better ones I have had the pleasure of hearing.
1. The Malicious (Intro)
2. Beneath the Remains (Sepultura cover)
3. Exhume to Consume (Carcass cover)
4. Unleashed upon Mankind (Bolt Thrower cover)
5. Master Killer (Merauder cover)
6. Beyond the Unholy Grave (Death cover)
7. Under the Guillotine (Kreator cover)
8. Ridden with Disease (Autopsy cover)
9. Necrophiliac (Slayer cover)
10. Radiation Sickness (Repulsion cover)
11. Blasphemies of the Flesh (Carnage cover)
12. Spiritual Immolation (Re-recorded)
Aad Kloosterwaard Drums, Vocals
Bas Brussaard Guitar
Dennis Hartog Bass, Guitar
Mathijs Brussaard Bass
Ron van de Polder Guitar, Bass
Toep Duin Drums