Sinner – “Santa Muerte” (AFM Records)
Battle Helm Rating
After more than 35 years, releasing over 12 albums plus a number of live recordings and compilations, you’ve gotta wonder where Matt Sinner would take his band next? Easy! Right from the opener to “Santa Muerte”, the immediate presence of a female voice in Italian singer Giorgia Colleluori (Eternal Idol) confirms that Sinner now has two vocalists – yes – and boy does she amp up the songs through her femme wilds!! And adding even more to the excitement on this releases is the addition of not one but two guest vocalists in Ricky Warwick (Black Star Riders) and Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) who both bring interesting dimensions to the songs, especially in those unmistakable Thin Lizzy melodies given a special Sinner rinse! From ‘Fiesta Y Copas’, where Romero adds his rough rock dog vocals (in Spanish at times) to match the Celtic guitar work, the hard rock flows abundantly while on the faster ‘Lucky 13’ the power tones from Colleluori are really unleashed especially in the ultra catchy chorus of this chugging rocker. Slowing down to a thumping beat on ‘The Wolf’, Colleluori switches to a sultry, but no less forceful style, which, when added to by Matt Sinner, really catches fire in the deep n ballsy chorus ‘..like a wolf on the prowl..you can hear me howl..’ – indeed! But it was on the stirring blues rocker of ‘Misty Mountain’ that Colleluori’s soul and soaring power really grabbed my heart through its emotion accompanied by the equally moving guitar work of Tom Naumann and Alex Scholpp, especially in the passionate solo work. Returning to the Thin Lizzy fold on ‘The Ballad Of Jack’ where dancing Celtic melodies and the rough vocals of Matt Sinner perfectly complemented the soulful grace of Colleluori, not forgetting the energetic drum beats of Markus Kullmann (ex-Voodoo Circle) to make for a stirring piece, the contrast couldn’t have been greater in the rocking ‘Stormy Night’, a passionate rocker still in the Lizzy vein, but very much in Sinner’s contemporary hard rock style and no less lacking in its own deep embrace, ending the amazing experience of “Santa Muerte”. Honestly, there are so many hits here I’ve never been so spoilt for choice and with an all star line up in every aspect, Sinner have pulled out all the stops to return with yet another outstanding album!