SINCERA (Norway) “Cursed and Proud” DIGI CD review by Heavy Metal Tribune

SINCERA (Norway) “Cursed and Proud” DIGI CD review

by Heavy Metal Tribune

By Hong Rui

After 9 years, Norway’s Sincera finally releases their first recordings in the form of Cursed and Proud, their debut full length album. Comprising members of other high-profile Norwegian bands such as Fester, there is certainly a benchmark when dealing with this new album. Unfortunately, the first bad omens come in the form of a notification that there is a bonus track included on the album, which is the entrance song for a wrestler called Byron Lawless. But for now, let’s all keep the attention away from the bonus tracks shall we?

Cursed and Proud opens with Tall and Proud, and one can be forgiven for mistaking this band for a melancholic band, with the opening riffs sounding suitably emotional for a ballad, only put to a more brutal level. But as the vocals of Andressen comes in, the listener is thrown into breakneck speed. Throughout the track, guitarists Bjorn and Aamodt alternate between emotional, melancholic melodious riffs and aggressive black metal riffs, messing with the listener’s head with one moment almost filled with sadness and then one moment later everything comes crashing down.

A Griever’s Soul further sees the band display their emotional side, with cold and bleak trem-picked riffs that bring bands such as Pestilential Shadows and similar-styled black metal bands to mind, only that Sincera has injected a dose of death metal into the music. There is also the usage of synths on the track that help to shroud the music in a heavy atmosphere, making it hard for the listener to breathe in the high emotions of the track. Andressen’s gruff vocals are also drenched with desperation and desolation, complementing the rest of the band and bringing the emotional factor of the music even higher. Similar to Tall and Proud, the band plays with constant tempo shifts on the track, making for an interesting and unpredictable listen.

One of the tracks that spoiled the album is Cursed, with the awkward tempo and structure of the song. There is even a quirky clean singing section after the first verse, sounding like rantings of a drunk person, and this almost makes it hard for me to take the band seriously after listening to this track, though the riffs that are presented on the song are pretty enjoyable. Also, on this track, the heavy use of synths also tend to get slightly irritating and they even sound out of place at times. Fortunately the song is one of the shorter ones on the studio-recorded tracks.

Perhaps due to the previous track, the final studio track Blinded began to sound slightly boring and monotonous right from the start. However, the melancholic guitar solo on the song, complete with the clean singing at the background manage to salvage things. Unfortunately, the amateurish sounding pianos that are included towards the middle and the end of the track once again spoil things, and the track would have certainly benefitted from the removal of these awkward moments.

The personal highlight on the album though, are the four live tracks that come after the first four studio tracks. The live songs are more aggressive and are more straightforward black/death metal numbers, complete with blasphemous lyrics such as on Die Like Jesus Christ, and though the cold, bleak riffing pattern are still present, they contain much less of the former melancholic elements, displaying a different (and possibly more enjoyable) face of Sincera. The raw production and poor recording quality does nothing but increases the amount of intensity and raw energy that is emanating from the band. Also, the individual instruments are surprisingly clear, down to the rumbling bass of Andressen, which definitely helps in improving the enjoyment factor of the music. Slower moments on songs like Where Am I!?! are also trance-inducing.

Byron Lawless, the bonus track is a cheesy macho and ego-rubbing track, with the heavy chugging riffs and the repetitive growls of “Byron! Lawless!”, and is fortunately a “bonus” track on the album, which would have otherwise dragged the album down. Without the senseless lyrics though, the music in itself as an instrumental track would have probably been a good closing track for the album. It is also fortunate that the track runs at less than 2 minutes, sparing listeners from further agony.

For a black/death metal fan, the second half of the album certainly nails it with the sheer energy and power that can be felt from the live performances. Though the first half of the album contain a couple of flaws and awkward moments (particularly towards the end of the studio tracks), the second half more than makes up for the first half. For suckers of raw live performances, Cursed and Proud is definitely worth getting just for the sake of the live tracks included.

Rating: 7.2/10

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