I missed Sinner's 2019 album, Santa Muerte, so this is my first time hearing them in maybe twenty years, though I did review an album from Voodoo Circle last year and the latest from Primal Fear in 2020. Voodoo Circle are the side band of Alex Beyrodt of Primal Fear, which also features Sinner bassist and drummer Mat Sinner and Markus Kullman amongst its line-up. Sinner himself is also a long-standing member of Primal Fear so there's obviously a lot of cross-pollination going on in the metal community within the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Sinner hailing from Stuttgart and the others from Esslingen only ten miles down the road.
The three bands have different but allied sounds. Voodoo Circle play hard rock, while Sinner are a heavy metal band and Primal Fear more power metal. Beyond that, each band has its own certain sound that it sticks too consistently and they share a solid level of quality. If I tell you that the two best songs from the first half of this album are called We Came to Rock and Brotherhood, you may be able to conjure up something close to what Sinner do without even listening to them. That said, Sinner do what they do very well, and this is an enjoyable twentieth album for them, four decades on from the first.
Bulletproof sets the stage right from the beginning with a tasty slice of hook-laden metal, but We Came to Rock is a step up again, a hard and heavy song with an excellent riff and a catchier chorus. Reach Out and Brotherhood echo that opening pair, but with even more overt nods to Ozzy or Dio guitarists from the eighties on the former and a more AOR based hook on the latter. It all makes for a good first half with the suitably inexorable Refuse to Surrender wrapping it up, but, I'm going to suggest that the album ramps up again with The Last Generation at the heart of the album.
There's a grandeur to this one that elevates it above everything else here, not all the way to, say a Sabaton level, but it comes close. It's bombastic and anthemic. There's some excellent twin guitar work as well from Tom Naumann and Alex Scholpp, something I enjoyed throughout the album but especially on this track because it has a couple of minutes on everything except the closer and that gives it time for a more concerted instrumental section. I dug the emphatic intro too, something that the majority of these songs don't have, and the different vocal approach.
The Last Generation is my favourite song here, but it's followed by Gravity, which also follows it on the album. This one amps up the urgency, almost suggesting that the band hadn't been giving it a full eleven thus far. It's hardly speed metal but it's faster and I've felt the need to turn it up every time through. It also prominently features Giorgia Colleluori, who's here throughout, I believe, on backing vocals but rarely to the degree that I could distinguish her contributions. It's easy to hear what she can do on Gravity.
Talking of that closer, it's called 40 Days 40 Nights and it's the most atypical song here, turning the power back down after Gravity turned it up, to go for a Thin Lizzy power ballad approach. Sinner do it well, especially whoever is impersonating Phil Lynott's vocals. I believe there are no fewer than six guest vocalists joining the fray at some point on this album, as well as Sinner and Sascha Krebs, who may or may not actually be part of the band at this point, but I'm not finding any credits that say where. These guests include such luminaries as Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear, Tom Englund of Evergrey and Dave Ingram of Benediction, not to forget Ronnie Romero of almost everyone else.
I liked this on a first listen but it didn't blow me away. I liked it more on a second time through and I have to say that it's growing nicely on me. I don't think it's going to reach 8/10 growth but it's an impressive 7/10.