The Carnage Ending

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Sinister borrow a page (and a few bows) from Apocalyptica for the somber cellos introducing 2012's The Carnage Ending, but thereafter deviate not a smidge from the reliable death metal attack that's made them (almost) famous over the course of countless rotating bandmembers and innumerable albums and EPs released since their original 1988 inception. The Carnage Ending is in fact the tenth studio album overseen by lone remaining founding member Aad Kloosterwaard, and in many ways, his vision and therefore Sinister's musical aesthetic maintain an almost adolescent dedication to death metal's early blueprint, for good and ill. Far be it from the average metalhead to critique other grown men still preoccupying themselves with Tolkien-like fantasy worlds ("Blood Ecstasy"), vampire tales ("Transylvania [City of the Damned]"), battle strategy ("Unheavenly Domain"), and all things anti-Christianity ("Crown of Thorns," the standout "Oath of Rebirth," etc.) -- all of them scored to the familiar strains of timeless death metal violence and technicality. But, given the distinct lack of songwriting genius or innovation (this album really could have been released 20 years ago just as well as last week) that would make this a nonissue, how can one not feel a little sorry for Kloosterwaard's apparent lot in life: petrified for all eternity in his teenage hobbyist guise. Then again, who's to say this state of suspended animation isn't far superior to reality's cold disappointments, and if that's the case, Sinister's continuing, ever-solid if relatively unspectacular contributions to death metal's survival will carry on connecting with scores of listeners, far and wide.

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