Sinner - Mask of Sanity
MTM Music
Heavy Metal
12 songs (49:45)
Release year: 2007
Sinner, MTM Music
Reviewed by Mike

Ahh, here is the new Sinner album. This had always been a band that drew my attention upon release of a new album, but after just a short time, said new album would no longer be in my regular listening rotation. Although Sinner have reliably been cranking out quality albums that blend classic heavy metal and hard rock, the band has never quite reached a level that keeps me coming back for repeated listens. I've never heard any bad material from this band, but on the other hand, I have yet to be blown away by them.

Of course, anyone who has ever heard a Sinner album knows that originality is the last adjective that should be used to describe the band. As I've said in the past, that's not necessarily a bad thing as long as you deliver good music. Additionally, Sinner have been around since the early 80's, so it's not like they're a bunch of newbies that simply want to copy and past from bands of yesteryear. Sinner developed their roots at a time when this type of music was at its glorious peak, and the band has stuck true to their guns all these years. For that, you have to salute the band.

Like clockwork, Mask of Sanity is another slab of classic heavy metal splashed with hard rock, Sinner style. I am quite sure that many fans not familiar with this band will know founder / vocalist / bassist Mat Sinner from his involvement with Primal Fear. Unfortunately, Mat has never been able to bring the same success to his own band that he has helped deliver with Primal Fear. I would imagine that has something to do with what I alluded to above. While almost every Primal Fear album grabs me from the first listen (some more than others), Sinner has never done that for me. While I admire the band for never wavering in its flying the flag of heavy metal for all these years, there are many bands in this genre that do this style of metal better. That's not to say that this album doesn't have its bright spots, but the songs in general don't have that "wow" factor that hook the listener and keep them coming back for more.

Consistency is one thing that Mask of Sanity delivers. While the lack of killer tracks is something that is lacking, there are plenty of good metal tunes here. On the other end of the spectrum, I wouldn't classify anything as filler material either. From a musical standpoint, the performances are what you'd expect from a veteran band of the genre. Mat's voice has a unique personality and quality to it, certainly an asset to the band. His voice is powerful and gritty, something that fits this no frills brand of classic metal very nicely. No high pitched screeches or borderline feminine sounding vocal passages will be found here. The guitar work is a pleasure to listen to from start to finish. The riffs are heavy and crunchy; managing to give the songs a heavy and forceful backbone even though the tempo of the songs is mostly mid paced heavy metal or hard rock. Also, the soloing and shredding is quite busy and effective throughout each of the songs. The songs have a modest melodic quality to them; although nothing over the top or that grab you at first listen. It does take a handful of listens to really absorb the songs. Now, if only the band would incorporate more material like Last Man Standing into their routine, I think they'd be on to something really good. This song is probably the most metal of the album, and Mat's vocals really soar while the music has a certain energy that is otherwise subdued on the rest of the album. The guys certainly caught me ear with this tune in a way that the other tracks did not. This song is precisely what I mean when I say that the band needs to jump above the "good" plateau where they seem to be stuck and into the "yeah, this kicks ass" realm.

Well, I'd really like to bestow a higher quote upon this album simply because of the band's longevity and my sheer appreciation for this genre. However, I have to say that two factors combine to likely prevent me from listening to this album regularly over the coming weeks: 1) there are better albums out there in this genre and 2) the lack of killer material on this album (despite the lack of any bad material) gets tedious after a while. Nonetheless, Mask of Sanity is a good album, but no more than that.

Killing Songs :
Black, Can't Stand the Heat, Last Man Standing
Mike quoted 70 / 100
Other albums by Sinner that we have reviewed:
Sinner - Tequila Suicide reviewed by Andy and quoted 72 / 100
Sinner - The Nature Of Evil reviewed by Crims and quoted 84 / 100
Sinner - The End Of Sanctuary reviewed by Chris and quoted 90 / 100
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