Germanic power metal has really become its own little thing over the years, making it a reliably punchy alternative to the overly pompous, fancy-pantsy, chaos wizardy sounds of traditional Euro-power. One of the better purveyors of this muscular brand of Teutonic terror is Sinbreed. Fronted by the leather lunged Herbie Langhans they’ve reliably brought the thunder and aggression since 2009, taking the base sound of Accept and Grave Digger and punching the accelerator, often sounding like Helloween‘s bigger, meaner brother, Roccoween. 2014’s Shadows was an enjoyably edgy romp full of powerhouse vocals, biting riffs and catchy choruses, and Master Creator picks right up where that platter left off, offering more rough n’ tumble power metal with an mean streak and cauliflower ears. No surprises, nothing new, just well executed, enjoyable metal with attitude and hooks, and sometimes that’s all you need, dammit!
Opener “Creation of Reality” is a great introduction to the Sinbreed sound – zippy and exuberant like typical Euro-power, but Herbie’s raspy, warbling snarl makes everything feel heavier and darker. He smooths out his delivery for the big, bombastic, Helloweenie chorus and it’s all very melodic and easy to digest while still packing ample nutsack. “Across the Great Divides” jacks up the heaviness with meaner riffing and more maniacal “Jorn on steroids” vocals and it makes quite the impression. “Behind a Mask” dials up the crunch even further, sounding almost like Bay Area thrash, and when Herbie gets his pipes in the mix things gets rowdy.
Tracks like the rousing “Moonlit Night” carry references to classic Vicious Rumors and Metal Church and the melodic nature is offset well by crunching riffs and Herbie’s urgent requests that you “live on the edge of tomorrow.” The title track is extremely close to modern Helloween musically, especially during the chorus where Herbie sounds a lot like Andi Deris, but the thrashy riffs elevate it to the next level of badassery. The best cuts hit late with the one-two punch of “The Riddle” and “The Voice.” The former is a speedy aggression-fest with extra gritty vocals and a snappy chorus, and the latter is a dead ringer for Ronny Munroe era Metal Church boiling over with metallic goodness. Even the uber mega cheesy chorus on “On the Run” doesn’t derail the general coolness and angry swagger Sinbreed delivers (though seriously, that chorus belongs on a Gloryhammer does ABBA tribute album).
The only track that leaves me a bit flat is the obligatory power ballad “At the Gate.” I know you want a change of pace on an album that usually goes 100 M.P.H., but the song just never takes off as a power ballad should and if I heard it live I’d be forced to keep my lighter holstered. At exactly 45 minutes, Master Creator is the perfect length and with all songs in the 4-5 minute range, it breezes by in an enjoyable flash, encouraging replays.
The big selling point for Sinbreed is Herbie’s vocal attack. He sounds like a mix of Mark Tornillo (Accept), Andi Deris and David Wayne (Metal Church, R.I.P.) and he can shift effortlessly between a hoarse roar and smooth as silk crooning. He’s also adept at knowing when to dial up the power for maximum effect and when less is more (if that’s a thing). Tobias Sammet must be a fan since he recruited him for his recent Avantasia album, and it’s easy to see why. Flo Laurin provides a plethora of ripping riffs and dabbles in multiple genres while keeping the speed near maximum for much of the album. His solos are pure hyper-melodic ear candy but fit the material perfectly. And let’s not forget Frederik Ehmke of Blind Guardian fame who returns to provide a thunderous wall of percussion that keeps the sound heavy and driving.
Sinbreed is one of my favorite power metal acts and Master Creator is exactly the kind of album I want from them – fast, angry and catchy as hell. If you like the Germanic method of metal and bands like Herman Frank or Grave Digger, you can’t go wrong with this. Even if you love your power metal fruity and your shirts piratey, this may still have real appeal after you get past the “scary” vocals. Definitely worth hearing, so do partake.