-- Sinful Ways --
|■||Brad Lake||Clean vocals, bass|
|■||Dave Matlak||Drums, backing vocals|
|■||Frank Lahache||Harsh vocals, guitar|
Review written by Corin Geypen.
Stijn “Metal Shredder” always lets us choose what music we want to review and listening to Sinful Ways’ single, I thought I’d give them a go. Stijn had already reviewed the band’s debut EP “To Hell Tonight” back in 2020 (read it here https://www.belgianmetalshredder.be/reviews/204). I reviewed this EP on a whim, thinking to expand my horizons. Let’s see how I got on. (Music sent to us by Asher Media.)
The EP starts with a spoken word intro, “Welcome,” which then carries over into “Vow of the Devil.” Clearly they are angry about something, the multi-vocal approach adding to the punch. The music is solid, with the band using many styles to create the right atmosphere. The guys work together to offer different vocal styles, too, screams and cleans mixing with grunts. You can hear the Avenged Sevenfold influence in this one.
“Bury the Hatchet” leans more towards Soilwork, with screams and vocals in a higher pitch and the pounding rhythms usually found on one of these Scandinavian masters’ records. I like this one better than their opening song, as it seems more coherent and has a nice flow. The driving drums carry you straight to the mosh pit, while the lyrics still have a message to keep your mind occupied. Not bad, all in all.
When it comes to vocals, my favourite is “Manhattan.” I could have done with better verses, but the chorus has this lyrical progression that just makes sense. I was still hearing that chorus days after listening to the EP the first time. Musically, the song is pretty good, with good progressions and rhythm changes. These guys clearly spent some time with their instruments.
There’s a great opening to “Pursuit,” you find yourself gently drifting into the guitars, getting ready for a great song. And musically, it is. I really struggled with the vocals, though. The cleans on this bugged the hell out of me. That might sound harsh, but they really let an otherwise great song down. It gets better with the screams and the chorus, but the fact that the cleans are the first thing you hear and that they’re just so uninspired and bland… This song is so alive and has great variation and I feel like these vocals could definitely do with a lot more punch. But like I said, musically, it’s a pretty good song, with a lot of changes in styles and tempo. I like that they take their time and aren’t afraid to put in slower pieces and slow, drawn-out solos.
The album cover is straight off a Killswitch Engage or Avenged Sevenfold cover line-up. The crows with the bones, the ghostly skull in the background, it all screams metalcore. It’s dark and atmospheric, though it feels like it’s missing a bit of the anger you feel throughout the EP. It’s well done, though, and attractive to the eye.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
The best song on this Darkest Days EP is “Bury the Hatchett.” It showcases what the Sinful Ways can do, without any of the weird snafus they seem to suffer in the other songs. My least favourite is obviously “Pursuit.” They could have done a lot more with this one and it feels underwhelming and flat.
While musically, Sinful Ways are clearly on the right track with great pacing and good musicianship across all instruments, their vocals still need a lot of work. It’s great that they have a lot of variation, and spreading the different vocal techniques over different members means each can focus on their own style. But it would be great if they could ramp up the quality of the lyrics and vocal lines, and bring some more depth and punch to match their up-tempo, extremely varied music. 6/10, but with a positive outlook towards the future.