Death Metal Supergroup Sinsaenum is comprised of Drummer Joey Jordison (ex-Slipknot, ex-Scar The Martyr & VIMIC), vocalist Sean Zatorsky (ex-Daath, ex-Chimaira) Guitarist Frédéric Leclercq (DragonForce), Guitarist Stéphane Buriez (LoudBlast), vocalist Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and bassist Heimoth (Seth). A Hydra or Medusa of a band if you will. Having already released a pair of EPs in 2016’s “A Taste of Sin” and “Sinsaenum”, 2017’s “Ashes” is actually the follow up to the bands debut full length “Echoes of the Tortured”. At 27:19 “Ashes” is longer than a number of full length albums by notable bands. It’s true that two of the songs here are previously unreleased bonus tracks from the bands “Echoes of the Tortured” in “Degeneration” and “King of the Desperate Lands”. Couple that with a remix by French producer Frederic Duqesne and on paper it doesn’t look as good as it actually is.
Opening with the EP’s title track “Ashes” whirlwinds through blast beat drum patterns and pounding fills before using a melancholic restrained rasp vocal over restrained guitars during the chorus. There’s a couple of guitar duel solos that Trivium’s Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu would be proud. It’s a dark and eerie tale that is the soundtrack to a horror film. “Monarch of Death” is far more of a classical Death Metal song. Again, heavily utilising blast beats, Attila Csihar’s guttural roar in classical Black Metal style. Tight, controlled, precise guitar work and a ferocious, technically skilled musicianship. “2099 (Heretics)” keeps the solos flowing with lead part after lead part build on the aggressive framework of powerhouse drum work and pounding bass lines. It’s magnificent in it’s depiction of hellishness and that’s quite clearly theatrically by design. There’s a thunderous almost canon like drum sound at one point as frontman Attila Csihar cackles. Sean Zatorsky then delivers a dark and eerie spoken word verse before the pair of vocalists use a layered vocal with one slightly behind the other using a different pitch and tone to create an almost blood curdling echo.
“Degeneration” pounds it’s way through the opening guitar riff attack before slowing ever so slightly for the verse and then upping the ante for the chorus. It’s an unrelenting whirlwind of sound that works its way into your skull with highly memorable lead guitar layers that are technically perfected and show musicianship beyond belief. This is first of the two previously unreleased anywhere but Japan songs and neither is out of place here. There is no break in flow or lessening of production quality for either song. “King of the Desperate Lands” flourishes with lead guitar work and tells a tale of darkness while the guitars work into overdrive with a total lead riff fest. The use of more of a story telling lyrical style pays off on this one. A remix by French producer Frederic Duqesne of “Dead Souls” from “Echoes of the Tortured” closes out the EP. Instead of some stark, barren industrial soundscape, we get a knob twiddling affair that is the original song, with levels adjusted – more of a re-master than a re-mix. It doesn’t bring that much to the table but it adds another song, another 4:19 onto the EP and it’s a decent song. If anything on “Ashes” screams buy “Echoes of the Tortured”, it’s this. The track itself opens with a riff that has nothing to do with Death Metal at all, for the most part it could actually be a Chimaira song until a couple of minutes in when the blast beats come back and a tornado of lead riffage raises the bar. The raspy spoken word vocal on the first and second verse is a nice touch and the crushing slow breakdown towards the end closes the EP out in style.
A stop-gap release hardly seems necessary just over a year after the bands debut full length. That being said, the quality of the work on show here is nothing short of astounding. The band’s use of theatrics to create something dark and monstrous under pinned with a quality of musicianship second to done is a marvel. As the EP flows from start to finish the sense of melody is gradually replaced by malice and the unrelenting nature of the beast is something else. You would have to question what Joey Jordison’s goals for VIMIC actually are, because while they have released a number of singles showcasing various styles, none of it is close to what Sinsaenum have produced. As supergroups go, Sinsaenum prove that they are not only more than the sum of their parts but a finely blended beast of a band. [8.5/10]