In 2017, LIV SIN launched their neophyte album Follow Me. It was alright, but it was a bit dark and didn’t really inspire me. I may have had a jaundiced eye because frontwoman Liv Jagrell’s band SISTER SIN had broken up not too long before that. I was heartbroken when that happened. I have every SISTER SIN album ever produced and had the honor to meet Liv when they came to Mayhem Fest here in Dallas several years ago. She seemed very nice, but I think one just sort of expects the next efforts to be similar to the previous band.
Their latest release on Desptoz Records is Burning Sermons (out now). Unbelievable what has happened in two years time since their first record. I can’t say enough good things about this new record. Liv Jagrell (vocals), Patrick Ankermark (guitars), Chris Bertzell (guitars), Tomie Winther (bass) and Per Bjevoluk (drums) have put together a killer album. The definite and familiar “middle finger in your face” to religion is still there. The entire band contributed to this album, unlike the first, and I think it made a night and day difference. It’s a winner as far as I’m concerned.
Heading things off is “Blood Moon Fever”. Promoting this song is a \m/etal as hell video on YouTube. Could the Blood Moon rising be symbolic for the powerhouse that is LIV SIN? You tell me. One thing that is just incredible on this disc is the guitar work by Ankermark and Bertzell. They compliment each other so well, taking turns on solo and rhythm. They are perfect together. “Chapter of the Witch” is a prime example of this. A bad ass, heavy driving tune, the entire band makes a rift in the \m/etal timeline. The tempo slows with “Hope Begins To Fade”. A deliberate march into darkness, I’d imagine this tune could be a description one might experience on that mental journey into depression and perhaps ultimately, suicide.
“War Antidote” explodes into the No. 4 slot with a real SISTER SIN feel. I always like finding that one tune that makes me want to floor it, this one would be it. Jagrell shines here. Crank it to eleven. Stand up for yourself, salute your efforts and raise your glass “At the Gates of the Abyss” is a middle finger in the eye of the doubters. Speaking of middle fingers, “Slave to the Machine” expresses the control of how companies or the government can take over every aspect of your life. “The Sinner” is a very catchy effort. I happen to agree with these lyrics, that I can be both the “sinner and the saint.” In my case, sometimes I’m my own worst enemy, but I am also my own best friend. Jagrell’s vocals are exquisite on this one.
One of my favorites is “Death Gives Life Meaning”. Beginning with a slow, keyboard melody, it’s not long before LIV SIN is smacking you upside the head. Not only a good message, but an excellent tune. Fantastic, synchronized 1/64th muted notes between Bertzell and Ankermark dominate. The music pauses during the chorus and it’s only Jagrell screaming “Death…gives life meaning” followed by the restatement between guitars. I love the way they put this one together. For “Ghost in the Dark”, Jagrell displays her vocal range and drives this ballad down the lyrical boulevard.
Lastly, and certainly not least is “Dead Wind Intermezzo”. A badass driving skins beat and guitars smash the last of your residual virginity. You’re their bitch by this point, so no point in fighting the LIV SIN spell. I like everything about this album. Burning Sermons torches the doubters to ashes and when the smoke clears you will see the Nordic Cross flying high above the majestic LIV SIN.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Blood Moon Fever”, “Chapter of the Witch”, “War Antidote”, “The Sinner”, “Death Gives Life Meaning”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH