Two years ago, both Grymm and myself were fairly impressed by Portuguese doom outfit Sinistro’s sophomore album, Semente. The band laid down an ambient, unobtrusive foundation for Patricia Andrade’s haunting vocals, creating a mesmerizing, promising soundscape. Now here we are in 2018 and the band has taken a monumental step forward: all the band members now have full names (perhaps because guitarist Y has been replaced by another R, which would cause confusion). Had Grymm known this beforehand, he might not have been so cavalier during negotiations for review rights, but it remains to be seen whether I am the beneficiary of our resident DoomCat’s generosity, or if I will be cursed as I dive into the atmospheric doom that is Sangue Cássia.

Before we begin, a plea to our readers: I know at least one of you speaks Portuguese, and I implore you for assistance. Message me if you can, so I can share the Portuguese lyric sheet with you – I’d love to have a translation. As to the album title, I believe Sangue Cássia translates to blood cassia, where cassia is a cinnamon-like tree. But I could be completely wrong. Nevertheless, Sinistro aim to continue their semi-erotic version of doom here. As Grymm noted in 2016, Sinistro think of themselves as ambient doom rock. I would remove the word “rock” and replace the word “ambient” with “cinematic.” Listening to Sangue Cássia (and watching any of the three videos that have been released) is akin to a disturbing, carnal black and white arthouse movie, alluring yet sinister at the same time.

The epic-length opener “Cosmos Controle” kicks off in foreboding doom fashion, juxtaposed1 by disorienting waves of synth and Andrade’s succubus vocals. Eleven minutes is long for any track, and this song is no exception. It ebbs and flows, at times sloth-like, at others pensive and sinister, but its length is certainly noticed. The deliberately-paced songwriting, a doom staple, carries on in “Lotus,” a beautiful soundscape that kicks into heavy gear almost two minutes in and follows the same, albeit shorter, template as “Cosmos Controle.” The shortest song, “Petalas,” veers far out of doom and into the realm of alt-rock, leaving us with one of the more effective numbers. “Abismo” is perhaps the heaviest song on the album, with subterranean bass rumbling beneath a lumbering riff, again thrown off-kilter by Andrade’s silky voice and melancholic bridge, all of which is fantastically arranged.

Much like Semente, the songs on Sangue Cássia serve as backdrops to Andrade’s voice, but the structure of these dirges are more refined now, the moods more expertly conveyed. On Semente I felt the band were a bit unsure of themselves, having trouble straddling the line between doom and eroticism. That isn’t the case here. Throughout the album hints of Fado, essentially Portugal’s national chant, are prevalent, with Andrade’s voice constantly conveying a sadness and longing. Andrade succeeds in conjuring emotions from lust to anger in her work. We may want to make comparisons to other doom chanteuses such as Chelsea Wolfe and Darkher, and although their music is very different from Sinistro, Andrade can more than hold her own with these singers.

Production has also taken a small step forward, in both dynamic range and overall quality. The snare drum snaps like an elastic band on the wrist. Quiet moments truly are quiet, and the crescendo of down-tuned riffs and washes of keyboards are quite effective. Fernando Matias (bass guitar, keys, formerly known only as F) must be commended for his mix and master.

Are all the plusses enough to bump Sangue Cássia up into the coveted 3.5 range? Yes. This is a band that could easily provide scores and songs for film. Sinistro are a band that seems to convey a story with each song, thus the highly effective videos. They bring an element of elegance to a genre that can be as brutal and harrowing as any subset of metal. A sense of sameness can easily find its way into a doom record, but Sangue Cássia  manages to avoid this pitfall, with variety in song arrangements keeping us engaged. Sangue Cássia  is definitely a step forward for the band.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: projectosinistro.bandcamp.com | sinistroband.com | facebook.com/sinistroband
Releases Worldwide: January 5th, 2018

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  1. 5 demerits for House Huck for use of a forbidden word. – Steel
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  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    SHES LOOKING AT ME. THIS IS ALL VERY EXCITING.

    • Huck N’ Roll

      She’s saying “Come with me, I will be your less-brvtal receptacle.”

      • RuySan

        I don’t know if the walls she’s speaking of are made of concrete, but i suppose you’re not the racist type and don’t mind some brick walls.

  • Sexy time doom!

    • Mollusc

      Tis but semi-erotic doom, apparently.

    • eleven.eight

      I have my Fruit of the Doom underwear on for just the occasion.

      • sir_c

        For those droning, thundering moments after a burrito’s night out

  • Maximos662

    I’ve been looking forward to this one. Now motivated to preorder.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Eleven minutes is long for any track? Go listen to “Rime of The Ancient Mariner”.

    • Diego Molero

      Still, it’s long, just great.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    That main riff on the embedded track sounds like Pantera’s “This Love” slightly slowed down, right?

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    The closer we get to a “Madredeus meets Doom Metal” the better the World will be for it.

    • Tremens

      Damn right

  • Cherd

    AOTY so far.

  • foreverAlfon

    First review of the year and its not only portuguese but doom? *cries in spanish* *sounds fantastic though*

  • Brjoro

    Nice way to start the year! A lazy comparison perhaps but I hear some similarities to Windhand, although not as sludgy, and Windhand sounds more ‘American’ (although I don’t know that I could explain what I mean by that if I was forced to!) but I feel they are perhaps mining some similar terrain.

  • Luciano

    Portuguese-speaking reader here (though probably not the one you mentioned, since I seldom make comments). Anyway, your translation is correct, “Sangue Cássia” does translate to “blood cassia”. However, even in Portuguese it sounds a bit strange (in a good poetic way) because “cassia” in this case may work as an adjective (usually adjectives are postponed in Portuguese, in opposition to what happens in English), though “cassia” is no adjective at all (say, as “vermelho” = “red”), rather a noun, as you noted. There are some differences between Brazilian and Portuguese “approaches” to the language, but in this case I don’t think it’s a geographic-linguistic matter, but more of a lyrical one.

    • Caio

      It’s worth noting that Cássia it’s also a common female Portuguese and Brazilian name, which gives a more poetic sense to the album title. Fun fact: if the lyrics of the embedded track would be sung by a brazilian singer, it would sound completely different. It’s very common to brazilian people to don’t understand a single word spoken by a portuguese speaker, given the great difference of pronunciation between both accents.

  • Marcos Franke

    If you need help with translation, just let me know.

  • Irineu Carvalho

    Portuguese speaker here

  • Akerblogger

    Possibly one of the most engrossing live bands I’ve seen. Randomly walked in on them during Damnation a few years ago and was blown away with them, especially the vocalist. Looking forward to this.

    • I had exactly this experience on Roadburn a year ago. Immediately bought the record (and had it signed by Patricia). Absolutely love it – and the new record even more.

  • Grymm

    Just from the embedded, I’m already digging this greatly over Semente.

    Color me intrigued! Great write-up, Buck!

    • Grymm

      Also, duck my phone’s autocarrot feature.

      Sorry, Huck!

      • Slimylimey

        It can be a new restaurant chain, Huckbuckers.

  • Huck, no Google Translate?

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Results were horrible.

      • Very interesting, actually. Oh, Happy New Year and great review!

  • Nukenado

    That video:
    I don’t get it but I feel the feels.

  • Rui Miguel Silva

    I’m prety sure there are quite a few portuguese speaking readers of AMG … i know i’m one :-) Available to lend a hand in case of need

  • Fabio Danieli

    The “boy” on the right is Jerry Cala’ (italiano c movie actor).

  • Thatguy

    Noice.

  • Tremens

    Okay now, this is fucking amazing.

    And I just love Portuguese. What a gorgeous language.

    • basenjibrian

      Yes! I want a LOTTO prize so I can get a golden visa. The beach cities north of Lisbon look lovely! :)

  • Huck N’ Roll

    Big thanks to all the thralls- er, readers – who offered to help. Here are the lyrics to the embedded video, “Abismo,” if anyone wants to take a stab at a better translation than Google:

    Lembra-me quando os muros se embalavam
    Com destroços
    Em que as vozes se enleavam
    Ceifa-me no fundo
    Nessas frases quase feitas
    Sufocadas
    Ruínas são vozes
    Lembra-me quando os muros se deitam
    Guardo abismos
    Guardo caos
    Ruínas são vozes

    • RuySan

      Portuguese speaker here, altough i don’t know how much better i can do compared to google translate:

      Remember me when walls used to cradle,
      With wreckage
      In which voices entangled
      Reap me deep
      In those almost made words
      Suffocated
      Ruins are voices
      Remember me when walls lay down
      I keep abysses
      I keep chaos
      Ruins are voices

      This is some serious fapping material. For wall-fetishists.

      • Huck N’ Roll

        Thanks! And you’re right, it’s almost as nonsensical as what Google tossed me. :)

        • Caio

          Another portuguese speaker here. If you wish, I can translate the whole album for you. Also, is very common for lyrics in portuguese to sound poetic or nonsensical.

          • basenjibrian

            It’s very common for lyrics crafted by metal bands in any language to sound nonsensical. :)

          • Caio

            That’s a point

  • Angelus
  • ozzyzak

    This vocalist has got me in her clutches. I love how she sounds and the band sound real heavy here. Gonna check this one out further!

  • Alped

    Weird clip. Good song.

  • sir_c

    Of the few bands from Portugal that I know, this is so much better than the new Moonspell.

  • AlteredState

    Another Portuguese reader and long time Sinistro fan (still think that their “Cidade” EP contains some of their best material ever).

    I haven’t heard the new album in it’s entirety yet, but it seams to be a lot closer to what I’ve known from them before Semente. And that’s good as Semente although was a great album, it had it’s flaws.

    @hucknroll:disqus, I can try my best to translate the lyrics if you want. Although it will be challenging as Sinistro can be quite poetic

    Here’s my attempt at the single Abismo:

    Lembra-me quando os muros se embalavam
    Remember me when the walls swing
    Com destroços
    With wreckage
    Em que as vozes se enleavam
    Where the voices entangle
    Ceifa-me no fundo
    Reap me in the far end
    Nessas frases quase feitas
    In the phrases almost done
    Sufocadas
    Suffocated
    Ruínas são vozes
    Ruins are voices
    Lembra-me quando os muros se deitam
    Remember me when the walls lie down
    Guardo abismos
    I keep abysses
    Guardo caos
    I keep chaos
    Ruínas são vozes
    Ruins are voices

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Thanks!

      • AlteredState

        after giving a second look at it and checking with a friend, I’ve adjusted it a little. Makes a bit more sense now :D

    • André Snyde Lopes

      A tradução está boa mas traduzir diretamente “frases quase feitas” fez-me rir um bocado. Assinalar o jogo de palavras com a expressão “frases feitas” não seria má ideia xD

  • basenjibrian

    Wow. Just picked this up. A major step up from their earlier albums, imho. Love the atmosphere here…eerie, eerie stuff!
    Thanks, guys!