SINNER'S BLOOD - The Mirror Star (Album Review)

SINNER’S BLOOD – The Mirror Star

Ok, I have to admit I am entirely ignorant of Chilean metal. I know, myopic American, right? But if Sinner’s Blood is any indication of the quality of the scene, then it’s time for a trip to South America (after the vaccine of course).

Sinner’s Blood features Nasso, the primary songwriter and attributed to guitar, vocals, and keys. Singer James Robeldo is ridiculously good, handling the vocals with a powerful voice. Nicolás Fischer plays bass while Guillermo Pereira’s drumming sets the pace for a blistering helping of melodic heavy metal.

Nasson has pulled together an amazing vehicle for his talents. I know I started off the review admitting I didn’t know much about Chilean music. I still don’t, but after digging further into Nasson’s catalogue I am extremely impressed. He continues to bring his musicianship to Chaos Magic, an extremely interesting melodic, almost world music feeling, metal band. In Sinner’s Blood, Nasson trades in his more experimental side for some straightforward, high energy melodic metal.

On vocals, James Robeldo absolutely kills it. He has a natural, deep power in his voice. His style reminds me of some of the full-throated legends, like Dio or Dickinson. He demonstrates that kind of power. He carries the slower songs as well as the in your face metal. His isolated vocals moment on “Phoenix Rising” is one of the highlights of the album. Take a look at some of the videos and tell me Robeldo doesn’t have some solid frontman swagger.

The album opens and closes with a pair of introspective, but raucous tracks. The first song, “The Mirror” kicks things off with a classic melodic metal track setting the tone for the album. It’s going to be a powerful, occasionally dark, ride. “Awakening” completes the journey of the album with a more hopeful tone. Not quite the rocker as “The Mirror”, “Awakening” showcases all of the album’s highlights: songwriting, imaginative guitars and keyboards, and passionate vocals. In between, Sinner’s Blood swings emotionally between euphoric highs and tragic lows. It’s a very 2020 kind of record.

While Sinner’s Blood does delve into heavy topics, they can still whip out a full-speed metal song. “Kill or Die” opens with a high tech beat, but quickly transitions to a heavy riff. This song is my favourite on the album as it brings the strengths of all of the band members together. Robeldo’s thundering vocals and the anthemic chorus seem to carry the song at first. But the rhythm section keeps things moving and has their own awesome moment right before a fine guitar solo. “Phoenix Rise” is another high energy rocker that could easily find its way to my workout playlist, if I ever work out.

Never Resting Soul” is another highlight. Nasson opens the song with a proggy vibe and perfectly fitting keyboards but quickly picks up the pace. It slows down just enough for Robeldo to really show his chops. At first, I felt that the theme here was the classic road song, but I get the feeling it’s much more about the longing for that road, not the vagaries of being on the road. The following track “Who I Am” takes it down just another notch and plunges deeper into the band’s psyche. It’s another fantastic showcase of Nasson’s creative arrangements and songwriting, and Robeldo’s epic vocals. The backing vocals from Nasson really stand out on this song.

Overall, this is a great record. It took me a couple of listens to really dig in, but once I got hooked by “The Mirror” and “Kill or Die” it was over. This is a thoroughly modern melodic metal album from a band with incredible musicianship and songwriting. Their subject matter is definitely on the more introspective side. I like it. It’s real, and it’s 2020 when the best way to vent is through kick-ass rock and roll.

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Dave Wilks