Following his rather unceremonious exit from Slipknot, Joey Jordison went silent and mostly vanished from sight until his reappearance with the short-lived Scar The Martyr. Following this was the announcement he was working on not one, but two, new bands; including a revamped version of the aforementioned project, and the all-new supergroup Sinsaenum was born, with Joey once more taking up sticks duties. This time alongside Dragonforce bassist Frederic Leclercq, Daath vocalist Sean Zatorsky and even the legendary voice of Mayhem, Attila Csihar himself. Their debut LP Echoes of the Tortured was released to little fanfare and swiftly garnered critical acclaim. Ashes comes hot off the heels of their debut and wastes no time in getting straight down to business. Billed as a far more angry affair than their previous work, it holds three all-new tracks, as well as two that were previously Japan-only and even a remix by Frederic Duquesne (of French metallers Mass Hysteria).
Ashes offers up a more mature and considered, if no less vicious, approach to songwriting and extreme metal and even introduces the occasional more melodic moment with guitar solos reminiscent of Dragonforce more than black or death metal. The vocals entwine and complement each other, with Attila’s rasp and occasional ethereal sung/spoken passages bringing the cold, frostbitten heart of black metal while Zatorsky brings forth a guttural howl. Joey’s drumming is as powerful as it always has been, but bringing forth far more blastbeats, something rarely heard in previous projects he’s been involved with. With supergroups there’s always the danger that the members’ other bands sounds will carry over and sadly Sinsaenum are no exception, such as with the Dragonforce-esque solos in songs such as ‘Degeneration’ and ‘King of the Desperate Lands’, that sound a little out of place. But other than this they do a remarkable job of keeping their other work out of it, creating entertaining, if ultimately derivative, blackened death metal.
Despite being a work that is oft eclipsed by the members’ other bands, Sinsaenum are still an interesting prospect. While occasionally falling prey to the curse of supergroups and sounding like the band members’ other projects more often than they should, Ashes is still a solid release well worth a spin.