Sinsaenum – Echoes Of The Tortured album review

Ex-Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison makes a brutal return with new band Sinsaenum

Joey Jordison and Frederic Leclercq

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As a chief architect of the 21st century’s biggest metal band, Joey Jordison has already assured his place in the annals of the genre. But although his musical accomplishments away from Slipknot started magnificently with the debut Murderdolls album, its follow-up disappeared without a trace, while the recent Scar The Martyr project stayed within familiar metal boundaries. Given the health issues that led to his Slipknot departure, it’s a miracle and joy to see Joey able to carry on performing music, and while new band Vimic are essentially Scar The Martyr v2.0, Sinsaenum are far more interesting and exciting.

With songs written by Dragonforce’s Frédéric Leclercq, who has long professed a far more extreme musical palette, the pair pay tribute to the Florida death metal scene of the late early 80s and 90s. Recruiting Sean Zatorsky of Dååth and Chimaira, French extreme metal veterans Stéphane Buriez and Heimoth, and none other than Mayhem and Sunn O))) vocalist Attila Csihar, what could have been a vanity project has the look and feel of a supergroup in every sense of the word, with each member playing their part with aplomb. Wearing its influence of Morbid Angel circa Blessed Are The Sick through to Domination – particularly with its numerous, haunting interludes and even an evil David Vincent chuckle here and there – this is grandiose, esoteric, old-school death metal that also displays all the hallmarks of the modern crop’s penchant for technical prowess and precision production.

First single Army Of Chaos is a defiant band statement: a flurry of notes and sinister tones, hulking riffs that front a giant chorus, and the dual vocals of Sean’s standard DM growl and Attila’s unique, otherworldly manifestations at the fore. Inverted Cross is a venomous anti-religious scorcher with blastbeats and Trey Azagthoth-style lead work, Sacrifice and The Forgotten One are viscous blasts of metallic might soaked in putrid atmosphere, with the grotesque lyrics of the title track and triumphant closer Gods Of Hell bringing a well-trodden musical style bang up to date with fervour and accomplished ingenuity.

But far from being a mere update on a classic sound, Echoes Of The Tortured is an album that covers several areas of extreme metal’s vast tapestry and blends them into a turbulent assault that’s unmistakably fresh. The ominous doomy pace of Dead Souls bears down with a crushing weight before exploding in a storm of scything riffs and Joey hammering his kit with renewed zeal. Behemoth’s warped majesty is evoked on the monstrous Condemned To Suffer, while the black metal commotion of Final Curse and nightmarish spoken word of Anfang des Albtraumes are the perfect vehicles for Csihar, who uses his array of gurgling, creepy, threatening effects to help elevate Sinsaenum to a completely different plane.

Ugly, murderously heavy and challenging, but instilled with enough instantaneous riffs and intrinsic elements to potentially introduce a new wave of fans to the dark side, just as Joey’s previous band did so astonishingly when they emerged from Des Moines, Sinsaenum have unleashed a killer debut and an exultant return for the man behind the kit.

Joey Jordison (drums)

What made you want to work with Frederic?

“When I met Fred, Slipknot and Dragonforce were touring together, and we discovered that we both love death metal. Our conversations started like, ‘Fuck, you like this record?’ and, ‘Oh, I love that song!’ and it began as us just being fans and becoming friends. Other people talk about doing a side-project but they’re bullshitting.
We were never bullshitting. When the idea came up, we were like, ‘Fuck yeah!’”

Is this the beginning of a long-term thing or just a one-off?

“Oh, this thing will run! We’ve barely fucking touched the evilness and darkness of some of the shit we’re gonna do. Me and Attila [Csihar] come up with so many fucked-up things and it’s all cool. Everything will be different every time, so you never know what you’re gonna get. Dude, it’s gonna get livid and fucking real. Otherwise, what’s the point of doing it? You’ve got to be fully in. That’s what I’m here for.”

How much have you enjoyed drumming in a death metal band?

“Sinsaenum is probably one of the most extreme and proficient bands I’ve ever been in. These guys are fucking on-
point at all times. You crank it up and it’s all about the energy there. It’s fucking permeating, man. I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s going. These guys are so determined and so focused. They’re like my new blood, they’re brothers. There’s no weird chemistry. Everyone has the absolute utmost respect for everyone else. We’re a fucking army!”

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Adam Brennan

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.