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Sister Sin - Black Lotus

Sister Sin - CD Review
Black Lotus

Sister Sin



CD Info
Victory Records
9 tracks
English lyrics

“We want to make you all bang your head, spit your beer and leave the gig with a big smile and a good wry neck!” declares vocalist Liv Jagrell of Sweden’s Sister Sin. She and the band do everything they can to make that come true with their latest release, Black Lotus.

The band aims to capture the rebellious spirit and lively riffs of classic 80’s metal, and they nail that target here. I agree with their proclamation that they have produced nine “attitude-heavy, hard rock anthems . . . that are guaranteed to get your fist pumping and head banging.” But don’t let the comparison to the 80’s turn you off . This is not the hit-chasing, power ballad-focused hair metal that studios pushed bands to make in the late 80’s and that ultimately caused metal to implode in the early 90’s. Sister Sin’s lyrics usually make a serious point, and their music is tight, like early Van Halen or Skid Row.

The first single and music video, “Chaos Royale,” does a good job representing the album. It starts with catchy but aggressive guitars and drums before launching into Liv’s tongue-in-check vocals, describing her plan to rule the universe. “I´ll put an end to all music that sucks / According to my flawless taste / No hipster shit, radio rock, bubblegum DJ pop / Heavy metal all of the way, make no fucking mistake.” Sounds great! But then there’s the dark side to all dictators: “Gonna build a giant killing machine / No one will dare to stand up or oppose / Enslave the earth with an iron fist / Now the whole world is my personal bitch.” It’s funny, but also an accurate commentary on how benign dictatorships usually end up.

Liv sings with an aggressive, classic-metal voice that fits the music perfectly. She also enunciates very well, bringing the lyrics to the fore. Apparently the band didn’t set out to be female-fronted; it just happened that she was the best. And truly, her vocals have more in common with Motley Crue or Skid Row than typical “female” metal.

Other standout tracks for me include “Au Revoir,” “Count Me Out,” and “The Jinx.” “Au Revoir” features a driving beat and powerful vocals about someone who has lost everything and is ready to die: “Welcome in to my world of darkness / Come on down and watch the angels cry / Here there´s room for all grief and sadness / Hell is where my heart resides / Au revoir.” The song also features a strong guitar solo.

“Count Me Out” starts with a brief symphonic intro before launching into a funky beat and some of the album’s most aggressive lyrics: “I don’t need politics / Promises don’t equal shit . . . Don’t speak to me about religion and faith / Your God ain’t mine, I never asked to be saved . . . So just count me out.”

“The Jinx” offers a moment of relative quiet on the album. It’s melodic, but don’t worry, it’s not a lame power ballad, and features some great music and vocals.

In fact, all the songs are good. Some might criticize the album’s short, 37 minute run time, but I like it. I think albums have gotten too long lately, and believe in the adage “Perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to remove” (a quote from Antoine de Saint Exupéry, author of Le Petit Prince, also voiced by Leonard Nimoy in Civilization IV).

My only real criticism of Black Lotus is that I don’t like it quite as much as the band’s last album, Now and Forever. That album’s epic “End of the Line” is a perfect metal anthem, and is the song and video that made me a fan of Sister Sin. I mean, girls, guns, and nukes – what’s not to like? I also love “Fight Song,” “Hearts of Cold,” and “The Chosen Few?”

Regardless, the new album is very much worth picking up. Recommended for fans of Battle Beast, Huntress, early Van Halen, Motley Crue, and Skid Row.

Rating 9 out of 10.