Sister Sin – Now And Forever [8 out of 10]

By Andrew Bansal

Swedish classic metal band Sister Sin have been around since 2002, and have developed a reputation for their hard-rocking tunes and energetic live performances. Their catchy, lively 80s metal-style music sits well with fans of bands such as Judas Priest, Motley Crue, The Scorpions, Warlock and the likes, and besides playing their own headline shows, Sister Sin have selective in choosing the bands they open for, and in the process they’ve shared the stage with Alice Cooper, Doro, Udo, Motorhead, Michael Schenker Group, etc. Now, they are ready to release their new studio album “Now And Forever”, which releases on October 22nd via Victory Records.

The fittingly titled “MMXII”, which means 2012 in Roman numerals, is a tiny intro that leads to the first actual track “End Of The Line”, an instant classic in every sense. Catchy guitar riffs and solos, solid rhythm section, power-packed vocals and an upbeat tempo, this is a quintessential 80s metal tune. This song itself is better than anything Sister Sin wrote previously to this, and sets up the new album nicely. There is no surprise to the fact that it’s the first single, and will certainly be played live whenever the band takes the stage from now onwards.

The album builds on the momentum created by “End Of The Line”, and keeps it steady for the rest of its duration with yet more instantly catchy music. Frontwoman Liv Jagrell has really found her best voice on this album, stronger and ballsier than ever before. For those who’re new to Sister Sin: back when they were starting out, the very premise of Sister Sin wasn’t meant to have a female singer in the first place. Jagrell outshone all male singers that auditioned, she was simply that good. And the band’s decision to go with her is being vindicated to the maximum on “Now And Forever”. Who needs a male vocalist when you have Liv Jagrell in your ranks?

The album stays very consistent throughout with great tunes such as “Fight Song”, “Hearts Of Gold”, “The Chosen Few”, “Running Low” and “Shades Of Black”, until it reaches the final track “Morning After” which is a ballad sung excellently by Liv Jagrell, showcasing a rare side of her vocal abilities. It’s an interesting way of winding down a heavy rock album such as this one, and might act as a good breaking point in live shows, just to give everyone a breather from all the mayhem that ensues otherwise. But besides the vocals alone, the album as a whole is the best of Sister Sin’s career so far because of the quality of musicianship as well. Guitar-wise it’s well-written and structured, and the melodies gel with the vocals perfectly. New bassist Strandh lends additional strength to the music, and drummer Dave Sundberg has also come up with his best work this time. The important thing is, even though Liv Jagrell is clearly the face of the band, it’s all about the music. The last thing I’d want them to become is the next chick-centric band like Halestorm or In This Moment.

Perhaps the album’s consistency is its only drawback, because if you’re listening to the whole album as once, some of the tunes in the latter half start to sound too similar to each other. None of the songs are bad at all, but it’s just a case of too much of the same over and over. For tunes as catchy as these, it’s clear that they have high repeat value, so a 30-minute album which the listener can spin repeatedly would have been a better idea as opposed to a 40-minute album which “Now And Forever” is in actuality. So may be they could have gone two tunes lighter. But still, this drawback doesn’t take away much from the album.

Hair metal, glam metal, 80s metal, or whatever you might want to call it, is very much a maligned genre these days. Metal has been taken over by too many of the ‘serious’ and ‘extreme’ sub-genres, and I appreciate those styles as much as anyone else, as you can tell from the list of bands we have featured on this website, but the very essence of what metal used to be has been lost to a large degree. Once upon a time, metal was about having fun and rocking out, but for most bands it’s no longer about that anymore. Thankfully we have Sister Sin to treat us with an enjoyable throwback to the glory days, and “Now And Forever” presents Sister Sin at their best.

Rating: 8/10

Record Label: Victory
Release Date: October 22nd 2012

Track Listing:
2. End Of The Line
3. Fight Song
4. In It For Life
5. Hearts Of Cold
6. The Chosen Few
7. Hang ‘Em High
8. I’m Not You
9. Running Low
10.Shades Of Black
11.Morning After