With 2010’s When Worlds Collide, Sinbreed made a huge impact on European power metal as one of the progenitors of modern power metal sound we know these days characterized by a focus on prioritizing aggressive drum and guitar sound, along with often lower register power singers as displayed by bands who got famous even beyond the circle of power metal fans like Sabaton. In 2018, Sinbreed continue this path just like they did on their three previous albums, there’s just one major difference: one of the most unique voices of the genre has left the band; Herbie Langhans was replaced by Nick Holleman, probably known best for his job at Vicious Rumors – who his by far not a bad singer, but many will agree that Herbie is on a similar level of distinction as Sabaton‘s Joakim Brodén. How does Sinbreed‘s aggressive power metal fare with another singer?
Sound-wise, Sinbreed haven’t changed much. You still get serrating riffs, huge, catchy melodies and choruses and some of the most precise and trenchant drumming in the genre; maybe also thanks to the rather compressed production. Never mind that though, IV kicks just as much as Sinbreed‘s previous outputs. First second to last, no mercy for your ears. However, with Nick Holleman’s vocals differing greatly from Herbie Langhans’ voice, the band’s whole style receives a new veneer. Listening to IV, I was not rarely reminded rather of early 2000s power metal due to Nick’s higher pitched voice and some really European melodies fit for Helloween or Edguy albums. Especially the latter are channeled quite a few times during IV‘s 48 minutes, most notably on melodic metal highlight “Wasted Trust”. A track like this is a big surprise for Sinbreed, who were known not to depart much from their typical aggressive style. “Wasted Trust” on the other hand delivers one of the most melodic and catchiest choruses in power metal this year, but still manages to keep up the energy with heavy riffs and drums.
Of course even tracks like the mentioned one are still within Sinbreed‘s borders, but with Holleman’s rather melodic and less aggressive voice, the band’s classic composition style gains another facet, one more focused on harmony. That is far from an issue for IV, which is a great power metal album overall and spans a huge variety between softer, classic melodic metal tracks like “Wasted Trust” and typically aggressive Sinbreed material like “The Purge”. Sadly, especially with heavier and more energetic tracks, for example the fast-paced “Falling Down” one wishes for a voice more grounded than Nick’s. As such, his voice is the biggest point of criticism, if maybe the only, for Sinbreed‘s newest output. The man is a good singer, but he fails to deliver the punch demanded by the band’s assaultive compositions.
IV is a great album nontheless due to guitar/keyboard man Flo Laurin’s amazing songwriting, a prowess which he proved with the previous albums. I am uncertain how Sinbreed will hold up with Nick as singer without changing their style, which would be sad. It’s hard when a singer leaves, especially one as unique as Herbie Langhans. I hope the band pulls through, but IV definitely has that feel of a “transitioning record” by a band who is yet to find a new path.