Released: 2012, Massacre Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Dutch masters Sinister have been churning out competent, if somewhat workmanlike, death metal in one way, shape or form for nearly a quarter-century – a brief hiatus from 2003-2005 excepting. Boasting yet another overhauled lineup, they are back again with their 11th studio full-length, a surprisingly solid effort given the carnage that went on behind the scenes after 2010's Legacy of Ashes.
Only Adrie “Aad” Kloosterwaard, Sinister's original drummer and now – since 2005, anyway - vocalist remains from the Ashes assemblage. His long-suffering partner in crime, guitarist Alex Paul, apparently finally had enough and left last year, as did the rest of the band. But Kloosterwaard's an old hand at rounding up new members, and this time he didn't look too far – he simply recruited everyone from his Absurd Universe side project and Sinister were back up in running in no time.
Despite the band's churn, burn and hasty reconstruction, The Carnage Ending sounds anything but slapdash. It's classic, no-bullshit, meat-and-potatoes death metal, no doubt, but it's played with vigor, purpose and an intensity that borders on relentless.
Toep Duin's blast-beat battery rarely ebbs, setting a breathless pace that his mates are largely able to match without really seeming like they are struggling to keep up. Guitarists Dennis Hartog and Bas Brussaard weave grooves, hooks and cutting riffs around and through the nitro-fueled tempos with aplomb and give “Unheavenly Domain,” “Regarding The Imagery” and “The Casual Enemy,” among others, an unexpected catchiness that at time echoes vintage Death. And by favoring old-school ferocity over new-school technical indulgence, Sinister grab you by the throat and hold on.
In this case, reinvention – or, more accurately, reconstruction – has brought rejuvenation to a band that easily could have just faded away. At least for now, Kloosterwaard seems to have the right move by continuing on. Let's just see how long it lasts.