Creative Brutality Unleashed
CoC talks to Alex of Sinister
by: Adrian Bromley
The world of death metal music, and the bands that make up the genre, have continued to evolve over the years, some more than others. One of the bands that has continued to crank out death metal mayhem, but evolve and bring new ideas into their sound/style each time out, is Dutch act Sinister. From the early days of 1992's _Cross the Styx_ onto 1995's brilliantly violent _Hate_ [CoC #2] and 1998's _Aggressive Measures_ [CoC #37], the band has continued to push the envelope for the realm of death metal music. That hard work and persistence continues on with the latest offering, and debut for Hammerheart Records, titled _Creative Killings_ [reviewed in this issue]. Chronicles of Chaos caught up with longtime bassist Alex to talk about the new album, the hiring of female vocalist Rachel and the impressive artwork adorning the new album. We begin...

CoC: Line-up changes seem to have plagued the band over the years, but yet the band carried on. What do you think that says about the band and the music you make?

Alex: The most important thing for us is that everyone is on the same level in the band. There has never really been any discussion between the members about the musical direction of the band. We all stand 100% behind our style and our albums. This is why it is possible to create a good product like _Creative Killings_. All the people that have left the band throughout the years were in some way not motivated to carry on with the music and the way we wanted to as a band. The musical heart of the band was never damaged in any way. Most members who left the band weren't really involved with the songwriting, so their loss could easily be replaced by someone with a better attitude and motivation.

CoC: Obviously with Rachel on vocals, the new disc has a new vibe and flow to it. What do you think she has brought to the band and to the new album _Creative Killings_?

A: What we all like about Rachel's voice is that it is a classic death metal grunt. She really sings and bring a vibe to all the new songs. I think that that is a great achievement, because nowadays lots of the new singers just want to sing as low as possible, which results in a lot of bands having a monotone sound in the end.

CoC: With more than a decade gone by, what do you think Sinister has to offer to the metal music scene? What do you think of the current metal music scene?

A: I'm not really thinking about what our music could contribute to the current metal scene. First of all, we make music for ourselves. We don't follow trends, like a lot of others did with the black metal hype in the middle of the '90s. We just aim to get better at what we do. Our drummer Aad is totally devoted to the American death metal music. I also like bands from the United States, but I also appreciate bands like The Kovenant, Rammstein and Cradle of Filth.

CoC: Musically, I don't think the band has been any tighter or more brutal in sound. Was this a conscious decision, to be this brutal and aggressive?

A: No, not really! Like I said before, musically we just do what we are good at. I think each Sinister album is always a bit different from the others. _Hate_ was a record with dark atmospheric parts, while _Aggressive Measures_ was based on brutality and aggression. _Creative Killings_ combines all of these aspects, which results, like you said, in a tight, brutal and fresh record.

CoC: Talk to me about the artwork adorning the cover. Most bands of this music genre go for grotesque or flat out violent images; this album cover is indeed a work of art. Why was the image chosen?

A: We always think up the covers ourselves. Our drummer Aad has always had some great ideas. We think it's crucial to have a good album cover. For this album we chose Jon Zig [Averse Sefira, Houwitzer]. He drew a fabulous piece of work for us. The cover really matches the album title.

CoC: Do you think Sinister has influenced any bands of the metal genre over the years? If so, where do you hear it?

A: Indeed, some new bands see us as an inspiration for their own music, which is a big compliment. But still, there isn't really a band that has the same recognizable sound as we do. I think you can say the same for a band like Immolation. They have a unique sound within the genre. I'm sure that lots of bands are influenced by Immolation, but there hasn't really been a band with the same musical aspects. I think the same goes for Sinister.

CoC: Most veteran bands have slowed things down a bit and forgotten their metal roots. It seems the opposite has happened to you. What do you have to say about veteran bands altering their sound and style?

A: What I hate is that even now people label death metal as a secondary music style. Even bands that played death metal in the past are pissing on the genre that made them well-known. There are bands that pissed on the scene a few years ago that now, with the higher popularity of the genre, are coming back with a new death metal album and saying that they want to go back to their roots. Sinister will always be a band that makes brutal music. If the motivation to play the music this way ever disappears, then so will Sinister.

CoC: Where do the song ideas and lyrics come from? What inspires such devilish, evil thoughts?

A: I find inspiration in movies, books and philosophy. I think it's important that the lyrics match with the music. In short: brutal lyrics for brutal songs.

CoC: Is this a 24 hour a day job, or has the band had to juggle day jobs to keep this going? How does that affect things?

A: We lived a couple of years without having jobs and putting all of our time and effort into the music. However, I wouldn't recommend doing that. There is a lot of pressure to tour and make albums when you do this full-time. The sad thing about playing this kind of music is that it is hard to earn a good living. In 1998 we all decided to get jobs and keep the band as a serious hobby. It was the best decision we ever made, because now we're playing in a band more then ever. Touring and playing live is a vacation for us now. Plus, we don't have to worry about money problems anymore.

CoC: Is this the best disc Sinister has put out or is this just a continuation of Sinister's career?

A: To me it's just a continuation of our previous work, but I think that we did a fine job with the new album.

(article submitted 14/1/2002)

3/16/1997 S Hoeltzel Sinister: Across the Styx and Back
9/17/2008 J Smit 6.5 Sinister - The Silent Howling
2/17/2006 J Smit 8 Sinister - Afterburner
6/27/2003 X Hoose 7 Sinister - Savage or Grace
1/14/2002 A McKay 7.5 Sinister - Creative Killings
2/13/1999 P Schwarz 7 Sinister - Aggressive Measures
10/11/1996 A Wasylyk 7 Sinister - Bastard Saints
9/2/1995 G Filicetti 7 Sinister - Hate
5/13/2001 M Noll Marduk / Mortician / Vader / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Mystic Circle / Sinister / ...And Oceans / Bal Sagoth Baptized by Fire and Beer
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