REVIEW: Sinsaenum – ‘Ashes EP’

Review by Jeff Maki
Sinsaenum is the extreme metal project of former Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and Dragonforce guitarist Frédéric Leclercq. Rounding out this “supergroup” are vocalist Sean Z. (Dååth, ex-Chimaira), vocalist Attila Csihar (Mayhem), guitarist Stephane Buriez (Loud last) and bassist Seth Heimoth.

Boy, does Jordison do it all or what? His resume, of course, is highlighted as a founding member and drummer for Slipknot, the Murderdolls (alongside the spooktacular Wednesday 13),  Vimic (partially revived and rebranded from Scar the Martyr) and, now, Sinsaenum.

Sinsaenum released its debut, “Echoes of the Tortured,” in 2016 to critical acclaim in the metal world. Now it searches the charred remains to uncover the “Ashes EP,” featuring 30 minutes of music, three new songs, plus two Japanese bonus tracks. Sounds like your typical extended play, right? Yes, but with six songs, clocking in at 30 minutes, this is damn near worthy of a full album (We’re seeing more and more six to eight song, 30- to 40-minute albums, aren’t we?)

“Ashes is showing a more mature version of our music, and also an angrier side, a lot angrier. We wanted the production to be rawer. Nothing is polite here. We just want to grab the listeners by the throat and spit our hatred into their face. With this EP, we took things further. The black metal vibe is more present in the three new songs, as are the synths; they reinforce the eerie side of our music. Experimenting with keys and machine is not something we are afraid of. Musical darkness can come in many ways.”

In having two vocalists, I’m not entirely sure who’s performing what parts, but stylistically, the vocals are layered, chanted cadences, some comprehensive and some not (Nergal and Behemoth’s vocal assault come to mind). As far as the music, it’s a combination of black metal guitars and blasts, modern death metal, thrashy stoppages and killer soloing (anytime you have a Dragonforce guitarist in your band—need I explain?) This EP grabs you from the onset and doesn’t let go—you wonder what mastery and darkness awaits you with each track.

And Jordison, wow. This is far beyond Slipknot, and that’s not meant as disrespectful, as I’m a fan. It’s just Sinsaenum exists in another realm—this is uber-extreme drumming on display here.

Besides Behemoth, Morbid Angel, Testament and even hints of Chimaira are maybe obvious but accurate comparisons. Insert your own underground kvult band here_____.

Standout tracks: All of ‘em, but if I had to pick—the opener, “Ashes,” and the-Chimaira-ish closer, “Dead Souls.”

earMUSIC, November 10, 2017

Rating: 9/10

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