Since the release of their debut LP in 2012, Sinistro have rolled along the bloody waters of the Lake of Fire. Their sanguine tunes and morbid aura lapping at the fiery shores. From simple opening passages, guitars bleating like softly blowed violins to the thicker, layered approach of driving guitars and active drums—the mood reigns supreme. As the cover suggests, there’s a feeling of despair, albeit mild, and a desire for deliverance from what ails us. Using all the compositional ticks that have made their last works quite enjoyable, Sinistro now clearly sets down their best work to date with Sangue Cassia.
Patricia Andrade, who’s thin, whimsical voice would be equally at home in a shoegaze or electro outfit, sounding at times as minimal and effective as Beth Gibbons, doesn’t pen her lyrics in English (probably why Sinistro isn’t the official band of Trump-Land). But, when the band is mood over specifics, and Sinistro certainly is, it’s not, in any way important, to know the precise lyrical persuasions. The mood is enough. And her voice, melodious and adept at different registers, functions like an instrument, a horn or keyboard pressing the melody lines further into their noir landscape further into euphoric, almost bucolic, pleasant morbidity.
There are serene moments across Sangue Cassia. On “Vento Sul” a mournful guitar line that signifies a break between the more decidedly dark, dissonant first half and the more revelatory, upbeat and near cheerful second half. Slow bends, working almost chromatically in their intervals, coutnerbalance the earlier thick, almost soup-like, depressive opening. As the drums become more active, forgoing the earlier simplicity to allow clever fills and rhythmic plays, the track feels almost hopeful, uplifting. Somehow taking pleasure and reveling in the darkness that surrounds us, succumbing to that which plagues is an effort to accept and overcome.
The track “Lotus” reveals a heavier take on doom. Hesitating to close the bars, guitars fall into a chug allowing the beat to wrap around in the the next measure on an off-kilter, head-rolling endeavor that dominates. Masterfully using their ability to balance, compositionally, the track devolves into a bridge of sorts with whispers and heavily reverb-laden guitars nearing funeral doom levels of cleanliness. Climbing back to its previous heavier doom, the guitars climb in tone and aggression until the cleanly picked melody line is intertwined, making the two parts lap at the whole of the beast.
At nearly twice as long as any other track on the album, the closer, “Cravo Carne” (which probably has something to do with how badly the band wants to eat a burger), is a statement track. Allowing the most rhythmic freedom on the album, the pace vacillates between a relatively standard doom-pacing to a near crawl as instrumental breaks intersperse and the drum-kit is let off the leash for fills and syncopations. As a slight drawback, the band doesn’t do enough with the extra length on this track although the minor flourishes, particularly the layered vocals, are very nice touches.
The album is certainly modeled off the successes of Semente but provides a fuller, more balanced take on their dark melodies and soft, minor-sounding underbelly. All led by the unfaltering vocals of Patricia Andrade. The album will entrance you, making it difficult to separate one track from the next. All the while your soul will slowly rise and fall with your diaphragm as Sinistro serenades your most benign of dark desires. For those who enjoyed last year’s Dead Register or any Paradise Lost album, Sangue Cassia will be a welcome addition to your collection (particularly if you’re ever fortunate enough to score a romantic date).