Friday, January 17, 2014



Distributed by Spread The Metal Records (home of, among others, Sanktuary, Edge of Attack, Whorecore and Answer With Metal) and sporting a recommendation for fans of As I Lay Dying, In Flames, Intandem, Nine Inch Nails, Periphery, Soilwork, Stone Sour, Tesseract, Tool and Threat Signal, this sophomore release from Hamilton, Ontario's Deathpoint (cool name!) almost slipped right on past me. Had it not been for a recent press-release imploring me to check out the band's new video for this album's opening cut ("For Your Eyes Only") I may have very well skimmed past this Canadian outfit. As the follow-up to 2010's full-length "Fixation", with a 2011 EP titled "Suffer" sandwiched in-between, "Sinister" finds Deathpoint with a new lead vocalist in tow (Tom Emmans of Odium fame) and a sound that, at least when it comes to the ears of this old man, closes in on a lot of what passes for "modern metal" in this day and age before smothering it under a huge wave of nu metal/heavy rock riffs! Officially dubbed a "melodic groove metal band" the band, whose humble roots can be traced back to 2005 (at which point bassist/founding member Brad Gold, still a teenager mind you, started rocking out in his basement alongside childhood friend/guitarist Cameron White) before having their first show in late 2007, the band relies of same kind of huge metallic riffs that could (theoretically) connect the likes of Drowning Pool and Killswitch Engage! That being said, "Sinister" is case of good times and bad times as I'll (hopefully) explain. First the good. Besides the rolling waves of heavy rock riffs, which (in addition to the album's above "recommendations") brings to mind anyone and everyone from Mudvayne to bands like Five Finger Death Punch, (early) Avenged Sevenfold, Shadows Fall and even Pantera(!), the (clean and harsh) vocals of new member Tom Emmans are unnerving! This skilled front-man helps Deathpoint keep the listener off-balance as his rough, tension-filled approach gives "Sinister" a cold, uncaring and unapologetic (in regards to it's antagonistic attitude) atmosphere! There's not much more to it then that. On that front, as you take a look at a release like "Sinister" from far away, this unflinching, ungodly nine-track album can do a crap load of damage. And that's all good right? Well, the problem is when you start to take a closer look at each number you start to notice a familiar trend. While the audio-intensity of "Sinister" is never in question the actual execution remains somewhat dubious. If you were to take any of these tracks on their own and isolate them the music would be impressive. Your force-feed these monster riffs after-all and Deathpoint has no qualms about steamrolling over the listener thanks to the interplay of the guitars and bass. Unfortunate as it may be (and it pains me to say this about such crunchy, groove-laden metal music) much of this album tends to blur together as riffs a recycled at an alarming rate! You could argue that the lead guitarist work (provided by Tim Ross and  Henry Joldersma) is simply distinctive and (therefore) Deathpoint has a trademarked sound already. I wouldn't fault anyone for taking that approach as bands like AC/DC and Motörhead, which I both love, have been recycling the same riffs over and over for years. The only difference would be that Deathpoint, in the grand scheme of things, is not all that old of a group and that here we are talking about just one album! Is it enough for me to write off a release like this one? No. There is still a lot to be taken away from an album like "Sinister" and it shows that Deathpoint has the potential for releasing something absolutely killer! At this point though we're talking about an album where it's not as if you can't enjoy it on it's own merits or anything. It's just that it's best not to over-think this one or dwell to much on each track as I did because you might just be disappointed.

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