Release DetailsLABEL Copro Records
RELEASED ON 8/29/2005
Black Still Life Pose
posted on 11/2005 By:
Potential; the assumption that an entity is capable of doing something better. In this case, our subject is Irish hard rock/thrashers Sinocence, who offer a few really great tracks, along with a boatload of snoozers, on their most recent recording, Black Still Life Pose.
Loading a first full-length with twelve tracks of considerable length was probably the first mistake. Nobody wants to give a group that they are completely new to more than 40 minutes of their time unless there is an immense amount of hype surrounding the band, and I am willing to guess that most of you are unaware that these guys even exist. The second mistake was letting vocalist Moro get away with incorporating softer, melodic notes into his singing; he simply can’t pull off anything that strays too far from the stereotypically gruff hard rock canon. I am not so sure Sinocence couldn’t find a better vocalist than Moro, and it’s not like I am asking for a complete restructuring of the band; simply limit Moro to rhythm guitar and hire a more adept vocalist. A pretty awful, muddy production and vocals that border on a bad impression of rap on the album’s second track round out the mistakes that mar Black Still Life Pose.
Errors now out of the way, one can finally arrive at the description of the music. Guitarists Moro and Anto are capable of some pretty intense riffage. They play off each other in a way that allows for a multi-dimensionality to most of the songs. Hell, they even salvage the mess that is “Psycho,” when, near the end of the track, Anto goes off on an impressive solo while Moro holds down the rhythm. What I really like about this album is the slower tracks though, like “Beneath the Halo.” Moro sticks to a pleasant mid-range tone, which seems to suit him best, and he takes a breather near the middle, which allows for the guitars to pick up a bit and the pace to build in speed. The song returns to Moro’s vocals and the excellent chorus with the pace now having hit its stride. While the album itself is pretty ho-hum, I won’t soon forget “Beneath the Halo.” It’s the slower songs that allow for variation. When Sinocence plays fast, it’s like they’re novice bikers trying to impress the big boys outside the toughest bar in town with fake tattoos and stringy, sophomoric beards.
Sinocence’s sound is a bit striking and even unpleasantly strange upon first listen, but it does grow on you. The rhythm section is very much typical of a heavy-metal influenced hard rock band, but the leads are pure metal. When Sinocence sounds less forced, which is typically when they slow things down and allow the song to develop, they put themselves in a better position to highlight both Moro’s voice and Anto’s impressive leads. The problem is, with 12 tracks and most of them similarly up-tempo, songs seem to melt into each other. Black Still Life Pose is one of those albums that will have you loving the first half but hating the second half, for the simple fact that you can’t distinguish between songs. We’re either left thinking the band can’t handle a full album, or our tired ears are deceiving us. Either way it’s a bust.
If you like metal-influenced hard rock that just misses being radio friendly on a few tracks, then you’ll probably like Black Still Life Pose. You won’t fall in love with it, but it just might convince you to give Sinocence a second chance on their hopefully more selective followup.
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