SISTER SIN – Black Lotus

Sister Sin - Black LotusOn Sister Sin’s last album, the brilliant Now And Forever, there’s a song called “In It For Life” and I can say without a single doubt that that title speaks volumes for how this band view things, they really are in it for life – and then some! As a force in the metal community Sister Sin should have been credited as one of metal’s premiere bands by now because I have a hard time finding any band that works harder and keeps on releasing albums in a fast pace on regular basis. Besides, they never back down when it comes to quality. I remember listening to their debut album Switchblade Serenades (2008) (well, it was actually their second album, their debut Dance Of The Wicked (2003) wasn’t re-released until 2013) – and even though I might not became a big fan instantly, I sure took interest in the band because of the huge potential that album showed. In the beginning, Sister Sin were billed as a sleaze / glam band with a twist of metal and bands such as W.A.S.P. and Mötley Crüe were often mentioned whenever someone would try to describe the band. I never agreed on that even though those influences could be heard, in my opinion I would go the opposite way. A metal band with a glam/sleaze twist. But already by the follow up, the fantastic True Sound Of The Underground (2010), the glam and sleaze influences were more or less gone and Sister Sin shone like the true metal band they had always aimed to be. Accept and Judas Priest are influences that are more apparent (and yes, Skid Row’s Slave To The Grind (1992) has probably been on the members’ playlist a great deal). With their last album, Now And Forever, I was sure that the bands’ big breakthrough would finally come, but despite some really hard touring – and mind you, Sister Sin is one hell of a power source live – I saw no signs of that breakthrough coming their way. Who said life was fair, huh? But damn the quitters, Sister Sin were nowhere near to throw in the towel and go 9 to 5 on us. Hell no, the only rational thing to do is to write a whole bunch of new ass kickers and release another killer metal jawbreaker album and show the world that there is on other way than to surrender! But, in the back of my mind I was wondering if it’s possible for any band to keep on releasing killer album after killer album without sooner or later coming to a halt and finally giving in to reality and release that oh so dreadful mediocre album that all bands will release sometime in their career. After all, Sister Sin’s two latest albums has been very close to 10/10 reviews here and with those, expectations on this lot are sky-high. After all their touring and only two years since they last released an album, my concern was that they might had rushed things this time to get a product out as quick as possible.

Opener “Food For Worms” was enough to put all those fears aside. It’s an angry metal track with a slight modern W.A.S.P. – influence that aims for the throat. First single “Chaos Royale” follows and shows us that they still can be angry as hell but still manage to write catchy hooks and a hit refrain to die for. “Au Revoir” makes no excuses for itself with a big chorus that hits like a nail to your forehead over some classic heavy metal – I love this! “Desert Queen” takes you for a ride down hit road, the song is extremely catchy but it’s not either cheese or pop, it’s just very solid. “Count Me Out” grasps some new, untried ways – say hello to strings. Using strings in metal is not a new thing at all, but this is the first time that Sister Sin has experimented with it and it totally works. The song itself is a big metal track with some really contagious melodies, but the strings ads as a thickener to the sound and not so much as being at the front. The strings has no intention of taking over at all – very good. However, there are some pop that has snuck its way into their sound although it’s more of a twist than a major part. “Stones Thrown” has a pop influence, but it’s only stylish for the song and no matter how you look at it, this is still heavy. And metal! “The Jinx” is based around acoustic guitars and has a groovy swagger that makes you wanna jump up and dance, but the song still reeks with attitude. “Ruled By None” is a melodic hard rocker, full of piss and vinegar and Liv Jagrell’s amazing set of pipes gives it all the attitude it needs. Fact is, Jagrell’s voice is really overwhelming and I’m not sure how this band would work out if they were fronted by a less attitude driven dude. The stand out track on this album, however, has to be “Sail North”, the band’s own little tribute to their native Sweden and Scandinavia where Jagrell and guitar player and main song writer Jimmy Hitula trade lead vocals in the verses. The song’s melody and chorus keeps ringing in my head for hours after I took this album out of the player.

So have Sister Sin given in on the quality? Hell f**king no! I can only stand with an open jaw, impressed once again by this band’s ability to write heavy metal of the highest quality, music that is nothing new or ground breaking at all, but still with their mark on everything and they never lose their identity even once even though you can hear where they pull their influences from. I can’t write this enough, so here I go again – Liv Jagrell is one hell of an impressing loud mouth. Her vocal range is really broad, her attitude is as real as it gets and when she reaches from her gut, very few singers – male or female – comes close to her clout. I stand hamstrung every time I hear her open her mouth – she is not even close to taciturn, this gal. All this love bombing Liv from my point might seem like adulation, but I can’t help it, I’m just so damn impressed by her. All this makes the rest of the band almost work in her shadow, but they should all be given the biggest respect for what they do for the band. With a woman like Jagrell at the front, it would be very easy to dismiss the rest as her back-up band, talking about Liv as she IS Sister Sin, but that would be so unfair, especially when you think of the fact that it is Jimmy Hitula and drummer Dave Sundberg who writes all the songs – all of them! That makes them all an equal part of the phenomenon called Sister Sin. That said, I think it’s time once and for all, all the metalheads out there to remove the blinds and give this lot a chance – a real chance. After over 10 years in the business, five long players and one E.P., Sister Sin are ready for world domination and Hell knows they deserve it. Let’s help them to get there, shall we?

Jon Wilmenius (9/10)


1. Food For Worms
2. Chaos Royale
3. Au Revoir
4. Desert Queen
5. Count Me Out
6. Stones Throw
7. The Jinx
8. Ruled By None
9. Sail North

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