Thursday, January 23, 2014

Album Review: Sister's "Disguised Vultures" Sure To Get Horrorpunk Fans To Flock To The Swedish Band

Our last album review covered the latest release from Pretty Wild, a band from Sweden.  As a total coincidence, this review also shares the good word about another Swedish band, Sister, and their new album, Disguised Vultures.

However, aside from being from the country with the distinctive meatballs, those bands share little else.  Whereas Pretty Wild is a bit squeaky clean with their brand of resurrected hair metal, Sister has a sound that is about as grimy as you can get.  And, yes, I say that like it's a good thing!

Sister's style is evident right from the first track of Disguised Vultures, "My Enemy."  The song is a fast, barnburner of a tune that starts with singer Jamie (who doesn't use a last name) screaming "Races, faces, paranoia, disbelief, hard luck, tear drops, diabolic enemy" in a style that is unabashedly horrorpunk.  Let's put it this way:  it's a safe bet that the members of Sister listened to their fair share of The Murderdolls and Wednesday 13 in their time.

The second tune, "Sick," is only slightly slower while being equally as aggressive.  The title track follows and still features copious amounts of grime, but also adds decidedly more melody.  Unlike many albums today when artists put their best foot - and, in many cases, their only good foot - forward by placing their best song first, this album gets more appealing as it goes along.

If there's one thing that's true about Sister, it's that they don't shy away from writing and playing extremely fast songs.  If you enjoy those moments when spontaneous punk moshing breaks out, "Arise" and "Slay Yourself" are the types of high-tempo tunes that will get you involuntarily tossing your shoulder into the body nearest to you.

"Naked" is the slowest song on Disguised Vultures, but the gothic darkness of it makes me stop short of calling it a ballad.  Though, up to this point, Jamie limited his vocalizations to a purely punk style, he hits some notes in the song that venture into a higher register than most punk singers dare to attempt, all while retaining his grit.  And, believe me, the boy has a lot of grit!

The last three tracks on the album offer some highlights and surprises.  For example, "Dmn" has a cool transition from its maniacally-fast verse to a heavy, groove-oriented chorus - and it works so well, thanks in no small part to the gang vocals that are obviously an integral part of the Sister sound.  "(Stop The) Revolution" includes an impressive blues-punk guitar solo.  And "Please Kill Me" has a certain poppy feel that certainly didn't surface in any of the preceding songs.  Not content with just the infusion of pop, Sister throws another curveball by stopping the song after the second chorus then transitioning into a weird, early-rock-n-roll-meets-2014-punk refrain of "Kill me, kill me, please kill me" that then segues into a minute-plus instrumental outro.  Certainly an unconventional way to end the album, but not necessarily a disappointment.

Actually, the only disappointment I have with Disguised Vultures is that the band is not pictured on the album cover.  They have the perfect horrorpunk look to accompany music that can also be labeled that way.

Grime, edge, some heaviness, and infectious choruses that will have you screaming along before the end of your first listen - that's what your get when you listen to Disguised Vultures.  With good, new horrorpunk in short supply, fans of the genre will undoubtedly flock to Sister with this new release.

# of Facebook page "Likes" for Sister at the time of this writing:  22,178.

Helping Hands Rock Reviews prides itself on discovering great bands just before they break.  We record the number of Facebook Likes to watch our favorite artists grow and to track how far we are ahead of the curve.