Try as you might, your eyes are inevitably being drawn to the album cover that sits just to the left of these words. As you read, you will involuntarily pause so as to examine in greater detail this genius work of Costin Chioreanu. Depicting what appears to be a bloody tea party between a deer, a wolf, a faceless goat boy, and the crack whores of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the artwork of Sinnery‘s debut album, A Feast of Fools, is about as convoluted and mysterious as the album itself. The band name may be one of the more ridiculous names of recent review, but these Israeli thrashers are as dedicated to preserving the trade as any retro-thrash group out there. These boys have a ways to go in their quest for thrash perfection, but A Feast of Fools is a decent debut that shows a band with teacups of bloody potential.
After your eyes finally leave the cover art and your ears focus on the opening moments of A Feast of Fools, you become overwhelmed by the opener’s nasty attitude and hostile foot to your balls. Said opener, “Revolutions for Nothing (H.A.C.),” stomps and grinds its heels into said balls for a mere two minutes—in that time, setting a barraging tone that foreshadows the coming battle. More of this in-your-face approach comes in the way of the ass-cannonading, Annihilator-like “Built to Kill” and the down-trodden Anthrax riffs, addictive gang shouts, and floor-splitting guitar-work of “Holy Grounds.” What Karnieli’s vocals lack in originality, they make up for in gusto. The guitars may rule the roost, but Karnieli’s voice stitches A Feast of Fools together as tight as a fucking baseball. His Tom Angelripper-isms exaggerate the heaviness of the instruments and add a character almost as powerful as that of our beloved Sodom.
That being said, it’s out-of-the-box numbers like “Black Widow,” “Mad Dog,” “Showing Teeth,” and “A Symphony of Sorrow” that give uniqueness (and strangeness) to the record. For instance, the opening orchestrations of “Showing Teeth” and “Black Widow” are so over-the-top, it made me question if I was actually listening to this album or different one. Though stunned at first, my surprise was quickly alleviated when crushing riffs and bass/drum combinations finally appear. The mission of these songs is simple (even if it appears to be complex or progressive): they stop, start, pulverize, and annihilate your eardrums with more mood-swings, time-changes, and vocal variations than a normal five-to-six-minute song is capable of achieving.
And that is where issues arise with A Feast of Fools. After the roller-coaster ride that is “Black Widow,” its ballady successor (“A Symphony of Sorrow”) takes the formula and goes apeshit on it. Beautiful clean guitars and almost Peter Steele-like vocals crescendo into melodic anger that ascends, descends, and tears off on tangents for eight straight minutes. Unfortunately, it’s too much and the final minutes of tangent-induced riff changes and frenetic soloing could have been trimmed or removed completely. Equally as lengthy is the seven-and-a-half minute closing title track. Opening with some circusy xylophone rappings as only Tom Waits would think up, the track is a disjointed malestrom of thrashy riffs and chaotic, uncoordinated assaults. Much as is the case with its predecessor, there are some truly effective moments (like the badass closing riff), but its everything-and-the-kitchen-sink philosophy makes for an exhausting listen.
While many of the aforementioned tracks overstay their welcome, ripping numbers like “Holy Grounds” and the encompassing “Mad Dog” (with more of the Peter Steele clean vox and Cliff Burton-inspired bass leads) are enough to make A Feast of Fools an interesting listen. And while the guitars shred and the rhythm section destroys, the album is pretty saturated—mainly the fault of the forced “progressiveness” of “Black Widow” and “A Symphony of Sorrow.” Nevertheless, A Feast of Fools is a good album that shows a band full of youthful energy. With some editing, this band could easily find a home among my favorite retro-thrash acts.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Pitch Black Records