To Hell And Back

Sinergy

Nuclear Blast Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/16/2000

When is a death metal band not a death metal band?

I couldn't help thinking about this question as I listened to To Hell And Back, the latest release from Kimberly Goss and Sinergy. There is no doubt that this group has many of the messages (albeit toned down) that so many of their fellow bands layer onto their albums. But with Goss's vocal delivery, it's sometimes hard to see this as being such doom-and-gloom material.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I realize that, this early in the review, it may sound like I'm saying that women shouldn't sing for death metal bands. I'm not saying this; save your angry e-mails. Besides, there are plenty of instances on To Hell And Back where Goss easily could put a chill down anyone's spine with her delivery. The opening track alone, "The Bitch Is Back" (no, not a cover of the Elton John song), is ample proof of this.

Yet Goss's delivery often comes across as being a little light - think Alannah Myles fronting a metal band, and that's occasionally the impact Goss has on me. She's an incredible singer, no doubt about it, yet I question whether her vocals are the right fit for the band. (They ought to be; she formed the group.)

To Hell And Back, otherwise, occasionally teeters between magnificence and mediocrity. Tracks like "Lead Us To War" and "Laid To Rest" don't immediately jump out and grab the listener; however, repeat listens to this disc show the true power of these tracks. Others, like "Last Escape" and "Wake Up In Hell," deliver the goods from the first listen onwards. Still others, like "Gallowmere" and "Midnight Madness," fail to light up the boards like Goss and crew hoped they would.

Cheers to Sinergy for getting the concept of the "secret track" correct; on my advance copy of this disc, they clearly mention there's a one-minute silence before the ninth track, a balls-out cover of Blondie's "Hanging On The Telephone".

Goss proves that death metal is not just a musical sport for the boys, even if To Hell And Back isn't always as strong of an album as it could have been. This is still a very young band; possibly things will be completely tuned up with their next studio effort.

Rating: B-

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