Sinai Beach - Immersed
by Mark Hensch
The increasingly bloated metalcore genre has become so jam-packed with growing talent on the rise that many find themselves reverting to picking out the slightest things to differentiate one band's sound as opposed to another. Thankfully for me, Sinai Beach make this a very easy task.
Hailing from sunny California, Sinai Beach sound less bright and happy and more piss-and-vinegar angry, the kind that is sour and strong in its rage. Upon reading the band's lyrics and "immersing" myself in this disc (pun intended) I actually started to wonder if a band this freaking mad could really be a Christian act. This is less As I Lay Dying Christian-core and more like say Winter Solstice or such, with a sound so totally heavy and relentless that any message of faith (regardless of how obvious or not said message is) is much more digestible to metal-heads of the secular kind, who like their music loud first and spiritual last. Regardless, Sinai Beach can throw down as hard (if not harder) than many other metalcore acts, and there are plenty of "crap, this is creepy" moments on this hellfire laden CD.
Despite they can throw it down so well, Sinai still suffer a bit from a few tiny things. Things are kicked off in a most interesting fashion with "Apocalypse," which features a solid breakdown, spliced samples of vocalist CJ Anderson's growling screams, and harsh electronic beats that remind me just slightly of maybe Orgy or Nine Inch Nails perhaps. The thrashing monolith of "Obedience Through Desecration" showcases some mighty guitar chops, not to mention the surprising vocal stylings of Anderson, who can crown in a strange yowling drawl or growl like cougar. A pitch-harmonic drenched breakdown closes this sweet tune, but then the crap hits the fan real fast.
"The God I Would Be" and "Necessary Bloodshed" are both forgettable metalcore songs, soaked in the stubborn rage becoming so apparent in the scene. It sets a trend for the album where the band's religious undertones seem almost heavy-handed; they like to beat into the listener's heads how badly humanity abuses the kindness of God, and how terrible we all are. That's all well, but it gets old fast and not even a sweet solo on "Necessary Bloodshed" can convince me that these songs hold much that's special. "To The Church" is an excellent breather song; melodic at many points, yet still thrashing, mean and heavy, the band's return to some well-placed electronic samples also makes it a great track.
"Return to Dust" is a pretty open Meshuggah rip-off attempt, or maybe a little more accurately A Life Once Lost. It's still decent, but you've got to wonder if Meshuggah will ever get their due for so much rampant plagiarism. "His Chosen Fate" still holds a slight nod to Meshuggah, and yet a slightly epic metal sense is here, and Anderson's thought that "these are dark days for the human race" rings oddly true. "The Stagnate" is pure metalcore wickedness worthy of the most deranged sinner, and "Distressor" is a grand follow-up, it's ambient and mechanical industrial intro, almost eerie in it's simplicity, slowing things down for a huge face-ripping song called "Hell Blaze." "Ignoring the Conditional Response" kicks things up a notch for the lightning quick finale, and before you know it Sinai has left you laying in a stunned heap on the floor.
Immersed has moments oddly metaphorical
for the human soul; some are crystal-clear in how pure and bright they
are, others wallow in a miasma of utter darkness. Both are counter-balanced
enough to keep this from masterpiece status, but perhaps warrant a CD purchase
and some spins all the same. Immersed is a mixed bag, and one should
weigh their options with a bit of well-placed faith before trying it on
Sinai Beach - Immersed