SINNER
"Crash & Burn"

(Candlelight)

01. Crash & Burn
02. Break The Silence
03. The Dog
04. Heart Of Darkness
05. Revolution
06. Unbreakable
07. Fist To Face
08. Until It Hurts
09. Little Head
10. Connection
11. Like A Rock

RATING: 7.5/10

SINNER is one of those bands that has been around forever (somewhere around '82), remained relatively consistent, if not exactly inventive, and got little to no recognition stateside. Vocalist/bassist Mat Sinner (PRIMAL FEAR) and company now bring you "Crash & Burn", an album that is sure to please long time fans and anyone with a taste for melodic hard rock and heavy metal in the traditional vein. The consistency continues. We'll find out later about the recognition.

The formula is predictable, yet not without variation. The title track opener boasts a driving heavy metal riff that I swear I've heard somewhere before, which is to take nothing away from the hooky lava rocker. Moving across the album, one then hears a bass-driven verse on "Break the Silence" that recalls ACCEPT, a bad ass rocker with a killer chorus on "The Dog", and a flowing, somewhat folky, melody on "Heart of Darkness". The album turns the corner with an ass-shaking soulful number, complete with cowbell and female backing vocals, called "Revolution" that reminds of the style heard on CINDERELLA's "Heartbreak Station" (that's a good thing). The boogie continues (granted, it's toned down) with a hot riff on "Fist to Face", although it is one of a handful of examples where the chorus falls a bit short of arresting ("Like a Rock" and "Unbreakable" two others). The ballad-esque "Until it Hurts" comes with an AOR sheen and a hint of the kind of melody lines one might hear from Peavy Wagner (RAGE), while "Connection" is an unashamed THIN LIZZY tribute. Finally, "Little Head" can get a little goofy, but its '80s flair and light-hearted spirit make it undeniably fun and painfully catchy.

Provided you're not seeking surprises, "Crash & Burn" should be everything you ever wanted out of a SINNER album; namely, straight-ahead riffs and catchy choruses. Mat Sinner may not be a smooth crooner, but his distinctively husky vocal inflection and strong command of patterns are SINNER trademarks and it just wouldn't be the same band without them. That voice, a host of acceptably familiar riffs, and an approach to songwriting that is easy on the ears make "Crash & Burn" quintessential SINNER.

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