Siniestro – Vortexx


When you think of the great duos of heavy music, you think of Darkthrone, Anaal Nathrakh and Ministry. The joint team from Sweden and Chile behind the audio assault of Siniestro may only be two in number, but their brutal thrash metal pulsates with the force of a four-piece at the top of their game. Now on their sophomore album since forming in 2012, Vortexx is a record that knows only the intensity of mechanised warfare and the cold hatred of domination.

The first surprise of Siniestro’s music is the clarity of the harsh vocals. These are muscular and prone to agonising screams and hoarse note inflections, yet you can always follow the lyrics. The chorus to opener, ‘One Last Bullet One Last Ride’, possesses a rhythm section as good as Testament and a sinister streak as malevolent as Baest. “One last bullet, one last ride/ No surrender to your flag/ One last bullet, one last ride/ War against the scum of the earth,” roars the vocalist in a moment of sordid ecstasy. Follow up, ‘Vortex’ is just as fierce in its neck-breaking pleasure and Slayer crunch. Two minutes and forty seconds of all-out war with a sludgy Sodom tone will transport you to the battlefield as if holding the fragments of brain from your enemy in your bare hands.

You’ll be under no illusion that Siniestro are a European metal force on the evidence of ‘Blod eld död’, and not just because they include three Swedish language compositions on this record. The melodic death metal of Gothenburg’s most illustrious names and war metal menace of Amon Amarth are always in the background to give the bloodthirsty thrash a unique flavour. But there’s always more for your library of tastes when you think you’ve pinned down a formula. ‘Black Acid Rain’ incorporates the black metal pedigree of Immortal, while standout track, ‘Buried in the Bog’ takes inspiration from Machine Head’s The Blackening and clenches the same fists of dissent as Robb Flynn at his most vitriolic and ambitious. On this album, Teutonic thrash and Floridian death metal are often present in the same potion of sonic destruction. The guitar tone is thick and knotted with a bristling fur of distortion that could smash the most infallible of bank vaults.

It’s doubtful you’ll even notice the penultimate song is six seconds short of ten minutes. ‘Anti-Human Commando’ is heroic and violent at the same time, subsisting on a diet of power metal riffing and moist baritone abrasions that sound like Phil Anselmo fronting Kreator. The stunning switch to black metal at 02:41 seconds is as thrilling as the chunky breakdown at the four-minute mark. You’ll be puffing out your chest in no time to the chant of “Apocalyptic warriors roaming the streets like wolves among the sheep”, but your instinct is to circle your head to the irresistible groove. If only you could experience this glorious moment with ten thousand euphoric metalheads by your side.

Finishing the album with a solemn church organ is a delightful way to bring things to a close as your body prepares for a triumphant death. Siniestro have a rare talent for capturing the raw emotion that often eludes extreme metal artists. Vortexx is a nerve-shattering journey that ought to appeal to the most restless aspect of your thrill-seeking personality and the most pompous side of your imagination. Indeed, you might even feel invincible at the end.

JVB


Verdict


Release Date: 14/05/2021

Record Label: Black Lodge Records

Standout tracks: One Last Bullet, One Last Ride; Vortex; Buried in the Bog

Suggested Further Listening: Sodom – Genesis XIX (2020), Machine Head – The Blackening (2007), Nightfall – At Night We Prey (2021)