To Hell and Back

Nuclear Blast

In the short year since the release of their debut album, Beware The Heavens, Sinergy have gone through a handful of changes. Vocalist/ex-Dimmu Borgir chanteuse Kimberly Goss, for some reason or five, was forced to relocate from her native Sweden to Finland, in the process losing guitarist Jesper Stromblad (In Flames) and bassist Sharlee D’Angelo (Mercyful Fate, the Haunted, Witchery, and a slew of others) due to their outstanding obligations, and of course, mere geography. Because of her move, she nearly re-hauled the entire lineup, retaining only guitar genius Alexi Laiho (concurrently of Children of Bodom), but finding a whole new rhythm section (bassist Marco Hietala and drummer Tommi Lilman) and another guitarist, Roope Latvala. After this whole makeover, Sinergy moved from a noteworthy side-project to a full-fledged band.

But for those expecting the band’s move to Finland to inspire a muscular update of that country’s flagship metal band, the happy-go-lucky Stratovarius, they’ll be in for quite a surprise because, as Goss proclaims (more like “screeches”) the title to To Hell and Back‘s lead-off track, “the bitch is baaaaaaack!!!” Yes, Sinergy’s second album isn’t leagues removed from their debut, but it is a step in a rowdier, rougher, and less-overtly power-metal direction, Laiho and Latvala upping the thrash quotient more than just a few notches, Lilman relying more on snappy-snare up-tempos than on the bottomed-ended gallops previous drummer Ronny Milianowicz did. With the debut’s keyboards all but eliminated, and more so, Stromblad’s distinct style of riff- and lead-work nowhere in sight, the sum product comes closer to Vicious Rumors and Destruction headbutting each other (if you can imagine that) than anything else – classy and certainly Teutonic, but rusty-nailed and smelly-leathered just the same.

Following her band’s lead, Goss sounds a bit more incensed and confident this time around, too, rendering herself the metal-priestess per usual, but surpassing Chastain’s old frontwoman Leone Leather (Goss’ only true spiritual kin) in giving her sensual pipes an effective bite where Leather could only screech ‘n wail – undeniably feminine but, now with the introduction of a masculine steadfastness, probably more adamantly so. Though metal bands possess the propensity to completely change infrastructures, it definitely makes things all the more interesting, and To Hell and Back is living proof.

Nuclear Blast America, P.O. Box 43618, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

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