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Sinister Sacrament – Sinister Sacrament

Sinister Sacrament
Sinister Sacrament
by Matt Bozenda at 10 May 2021, 10:16 AM

If music were rated on effort and enthusiasm, every album would chart at number one. It’s the same in literature, it’s the same in Hollywood, it’s the same in wrestling; on ardor alone we could all write a best-seller, or win an Oscar, or bring home the big gold belt. Wider access to available tools now gives anyone with enough passion to break into their dream medium.

But, as much as you may not care for the likes of Simon Cowell, anyone who ever watched even clips of American Idol or the affiliated shows knows that he was right most of the time. Someone has to tell those hopeful amateurs that hope isn’t enough for them to make it in the business.

Or you can ignore the channels and put yourself out there for the world to see, consequences be damned. Whatever the case may be for the debut album of SINISTER SACRAMENT, well, there’s no putting the milk back up the cow’s tits, is there? Young Girbraltarian Frater Balaam is the lone warm body at work here, and it’s clear he’s trying his hardest to spread his wings and get off the ground. Gotta give him that.

The eponymous debut triad (band name, album name, first track) is achieved with the very rough "Sinister Sacrament", a heavily distorted and wandering tune much in the vein of early ELECTRIC WIZARD. "Orange Pill" follows afterwards in largely the same fashion but with less wandering, keeping a fair consistency throughout.

After a similar effort in "Anechoic Hallucinations" comes "Breathless", an instrumental track which has no drums and may be the lone diamond in this rough. The notes could use a little polishing perhaps, but this is still a showcase for Frater’s guitar talent.

If you were previously unsure about the Elder Scrolls influence, that will be put to rest on "The Night Mother", a song not unlike the ones before it in tribute to the Dark Brotherhood’s matriarch. Capping the album is "Cull", the longest track at just under nine-and-a-half minutes, playing on the same sort of sound as before, the end of which features Aleister Crowley reciting from "The Poet".

The worst part of being a one-man band is having sole responsibility; it should be no stretch to praise the guitar work, including the bass, but were it not for the drumming, the word ‘Primitive’ might not come to mind. Frater Balaam states on the Bandcamp that SINISTER SACRAMENT plays ‘Primitive Blackened Death/Doom’, all of which is true, but against otherwise good strings, the primitive drumming is more hangup than gimmick.

As for the vocals, well, stylistically they’re in line with the overall sound, but the lyrics don’t carry the tunes. There shouldn’t be this much disconnection between words and music, especially when they’ve come from the same mind and the same hands.

So, in the absence of a participation trophy, this album might be better as an audition tape sent to anyone looking for a guitarist. Likewise, it could be the flame that draws the proper moths, like one that can sing and one that can tune its own drums. On the other hand, anyone who is into that raw, unkempt, daresay ‘Primitive’ sound might find "Sinister Sacrament" an absolute joy. All you can do is hear it, ‘Listener’.

Musicianship: 6
Songwriting: 6
Memorability: 4
Production: 4

2 Star Rating

1. Sinister Sacrament
2. Orange Pill
3. Anechoic Hallucinations
4. Breathless
5. The Night Mother
6. Cull
Frater Balaam – All instruments
Record Label: Independent


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