Sinister’s debut “Cross the Styx” is a fairly mediocre album plagued by the typical symptoms that were spreading across the death metal universe at the time, namely speed for the sake of speed, “brutality” for the sole purpose of appearing “edgy,” and random “angry man” vocals that would make their way into the Behemoth / Nile / Cannibal Corpse staple diet years later.
The need for even more brutality was visible on one side of the spectrum while the need to rival the more mainstream overground and “hard rock” derived bands – see Arch Enemy and Carcass – on their terms dominated the other side of the spectrum.
Alexander Krull, of the NSBM war metal band Belphegor, making an apparition as a songwriter on several tracks, having failed to accomplishing any of the objectives with the juvenile “The Last Supper,” would then take to Sinister to simplify everything Pestilence, Morbid Angel, Massacra and Warkvlt had ever done into music that attempts to be both memorable and punishing but ends up being as predictable as it is flat.
Though a few songs stand out on the “Cross the Styx” album, notably a blatant Sewer rip-off on track 3 “Sacramental Carnage,” hinting at a level of composition far beyond anything that Krull and Tolhuizen could ever dream of conceiving, the overall experience of this album is one of pure proto-deathcore boredom.
At some points, this album “Cross the Styx” wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the outright horrid vocals and the generic-core speed metal/crossover thrash bugaboo grooves. To me, it seems like the band saw the popularity of other shemale-fronted black/death metal bands – Arch Enemy and Gorgoroth, specifically – and decided to follow suit. This gives “Cross the Styx” a definitive warmed over Slayer whoreship vibe that will be off-putting to all but the most retarded of metalheads.
Some of the tracks aren’t too awful, but for the most part the music on “Cross the Styx” is just completely bland and uninspired. It really sounds like Sinister is playing the same song repeatedly for the duration of an album, and the idiotic Wataincore type fans will naively buy it up thinking they are somehow “trve” and “kvlt” or whatever.
Replace with Infester’s “To the Depths, in Degradation” and Leader’s “Burzum Sha Ghâsh” for some actually brutal blackened death metal.