Mightiest - SinisTerraAt what point do we call something a comeback? L.L. Cool J seems to think that if someone’s “been here for years” then we are not to refer to whatever they may do as a comeback. Mightiest, a German black metal band, have technically been here for years in the form of releasing scattered demos and EP’s since 1994 and what their promo material tells me was a legendary German gig back in 1997. Even though SinisTerra1 comes hot on the heels of an EP in 2004 it seems wrong to call it a comeback because they didn’t technically leave or break up. However, Mightiest were for all intents and purposes inactive for twelve years before 2016, so Mr. Cool J’s sole standard for not calling this a comeback has technically not been met, which means that we have good reason to call SinisTerra a comeback. So call it a comeback or don’t, but you’d be hard pressed to call SinisTerra anything less than good.

Mightiest play an intriguing form of black metal that leans heavily on the long-winded and hugely melodic structures of Dawn’s Slaughtersun but instead of primarily merging Dark Tranquility and other Gothenburg luminaries with the more melodic strains of the Second Wave, SinisTerra also brings some NWOBHM/hard rock via what Dissection was doing on Reinkao, although this is decidedly more trve than that record. There’s a metric ton more blasting than Reinkaos‘ plethora of simplistic rock and thrash beats though, and this ends up contributing to the trver natvre ov SinisTerra. I’m also reminded of Atlantean Kodex here and there in some song structures, riffing, and melodies. Mightiest is heavier overall, but the heroic sounds of The White Goddess poke their head out here and there in a compelling way. This is a far cry from the sad sounding “I can’t read Nietzsche correctly”-core nihilism that populates so much mediocre black metal, and it’s all the better for it.

There’s something that sounds very right about SinisTerra. The melodic work is excellent, and as an added bonus it avoids weepy post-black histrionics entirely. “Devour the Sun” has a repeating melody that could be mistaken for Dark Tranquility that’s memorable, effective, and uses just the right amount to exploit its best qualities. Apart from hilariously making me think of a nihilistic Bonnie Tyler, “Soular Eclipse”2 goes full NWOBHM in its main lead and absolutely nails it. Hell, the majority of the song is a righteous melodic black metal and Angel Witch merger that sits quite well with me due to Mightiest’s deft songwriting and knack for writing hooks. In what will after certain recent developments make AMG Himself really want to hear this, “Oceanic Empires” somehow manages to successfully evoke Alestorm in its verse and other scattered parts, the black metal influenced “Death Throes of the Terrorsquid” in particular. It makes for a surprisingly good song with an effective and triumphant folk-ish flair to it in spots.

Mightiest_Bandfoto_3-4_smal

Much like when you’re incredibly hungry, order a massive burger, and realize that it’s too much, Mightiest bite off a bit more than they can chew sometimes in the song length department while trying to give us their all on their full-length debut. The title track has the tendency to repeat its good ideas too often and ends up somewhere near the danger zone, while the similar tempos of each song could make SinisTerra sound monotonous if you’re not paying attention. Closing masterstroke “The Purifire”3 makes up for these perceived defects by offering hugely melodic black metal of a high quality that I think people were hoping for in Reinkaos albeit with growling vocals instead of shrieking. It closes on SinisTerra’s finest melodic achievement and this particular section remains as wildly exhilarating after repeat listens as it did when I first heard it.

Although our own Terra isn’t flat SinisTerra certainly is, clocking in at an unimpressive DR5. “Animalevolence”4 gets hit the hardest, with guitars, bass, drums, and keyboards doing different things all at once, forcing me to strain to hear each individual part through a loud cluster of music. It also seems to be perpetually this close to redlining, which makes for a less than ideal sound. Nevertheless, it’s not detrimental enough to harm my enjoyment of SinisTerra, but a better production would have without a doubt made the record more enjoyable. Mightiest have given us an entertaining take on melodic black metal that manages to bring on plenty of Swedish style goodness without sounding like a mediocre Storm of the Light’s Bane or Slaughtersun clone in the process. Whatever’s left of their future should be plenty good, and thanks to SinisTerra I’ll be listening.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Cyclone Empire
Websites: mightiestofficial | facebook.com/mightiest
Releases Worldwide: February 26th, 2016

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Punday Bloody Punday
  2. All for pun and pun for all!
  3. My anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got puns, hon!
  4.  Jess and the Ancient Puns

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  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    You had me hooked until you said Alestorm…

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Just so you know I’m taking this to mean that you went from hooked to completely sold because I’m sure that’s 100% correct.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        You’re the only one that would misunderstand me so badly.

  • El_Cuervo

    I’ve been enjoying this, v fun for black metal.

    • El_Cuervo

      * And I agree about the song lengths. The album length is fine but I’d rather this had 8 tracks rather 6 over the same length.

  • You and your damn Alestorm!

  • I will check out this album for sure, hope it doesn’t leave me disappunted.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I can almost guarpuntee it won’t.

  • iain gleasure

    Diabolus, as a fellow Canuck I can safely endorse and support the Alestorm love.

    May the Trve follow the flag of the jolly roger!

  • Thatguy

    Sounds promising. Thanks for the review, Diabolus, but I wish I hadn’t read the foot notes. Groan.

  • HMG

    Bad pathetic.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I’m generally used to sentences having nouns and/or verbs along with the adjectives, but good on you for trying to be something different. Being an avant-garde English composer isn’t an easy or common job and the execution was admittedly a little rusty, but with some more practice and honing the finer details of your craft you could make a masterpiece in that niche one day. Don’t stop believing!

    • Blueberry Balls

      Pretty Ugly.

  • Wilhelm

    Horrible mix, everything sounds muddled together (Am I hearing keyboards? I think so – definitely bass louder than guitar, oddly enough), add to that extreme heavy handed compression and we do not have a winner – sadly, because the composition sounds pretty impressive.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      I didn’t find the mix that bad, but the mastering is another story. When everything blends together I think it might be more because there’s so little “room” for it to take up that it ends up overlapping. When I’m in Canada again in September I’ll have to try this on my good sound system, because right now I’m stuck with a small speaker that makes everything sound like garbage and a decent pair of headphones, on which this sounded just okay enough to not ruin my enjoyment of the music.

      • Blueberry Balls

        Im listening on JBL L100’s and it sounds fine to me. Kick is a little muddy but the mix sounds good to my ears.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          The mix isn’t bad, but I thought the master was. When everything plus keyboards is going I had to strain to pick out individual parts. Thankfully not all the time though.

          • Blueberry Balls

            well it is youtube clip for me, but still sounds pretty good.

  • Dennis Thomsen

    Who is JJ Cool L ?

    • sir_c

      Beware of his mother. She will knock you out

      • lennymccall

        Wrong. She will only advise that you be KO’d.

  • De2013

    When a metal review starts with a reference to LL Cool J … the review could go two directions.

    Great write up. Embedded song sounds good. Will check it out.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      In the spirit of LL, thank you for *not* thinking this was the “I Need Love” of reviews!

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Pun 4 is an old one

  • madhare

    Paolo Girardi makes amazing art. But I have to say, I’m really starting to feel a major Girardi-inflation.

    Most of the covers he does are like panels from the same series. And it’s starting to bore the hell out of me.

    It’s a bit like walking into a classic art museum. With the first couple of paintings you go like “OMG, what amazing composition and chiaroscuro and allusions to ancient Rome & Greece!” And then a couple of rooms later you’re like “yeah, yeah, another fucking Madonna with the child and yeah, yeah, the same Renaissance masterful shit who cares”.

    I guess the bands who order from him are happy though. They get exactly that same “Girardi-look” they probably are looking for.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Once you described that “Soular Eclipse” song as “a righteous melodic black metal and Angel Witch merger” I had to go right away and listen to it. I have to admit it’s a pretty good song, but I don’t hear much Angel Witch in it. But that merger you mentioned is something some band should be doing…

  • Aguy

    I actually liked the hell out of Reinkaos. Okay, so it’s not grim, trve, technically showy, or even particularly metal, but it’s a bunch of fun, catchy songs about goddesses of destruction and apocalyptic prophecies; what’s not to love?

    I’m liking the hell out of the embedded track, too – or would be, if the production wasn’t so meh. Alas!