Sinister Realm
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Sinister Realm

Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE

Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Band Metal Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review from Decibel Magazine USA 8/10 Feb. 2010 issue"

Decibel. 8/10 which is good for Decibel!!

- Decibel Magazine

"Review from Metal to"

The past week-end, I was totally hooked on one CD released through Shadow Kingdom Records – may I present you to the debut album of an American band named Sinister Realm. Make already notice of the fact – this elf titled effort took me by the throat first time listen to all the songs on it!

This Pennsylvania originating, five piece unit was actually formed by ex-Pale Divine bassist John Gaffney and former Falcon / Pale Divine drummer Darin McCloskey in 2008. Singer Alex Kristof and guitar players John Kantner / Keith Patrick joined forces later on to complete a decent line-up. Locked and loaded with the right skills, good ideas and the signing of a record deal with Shadow Kingdom Records – the band entered the studio to record a first album… Actually Sinister Realm exist not yet this way long but you have my word on this: the album songs just amazing to me and these words coming straight from the bottom of my heart!

People looking out for new, modern – so called nowadays Metal stuff… forget about it guys! Sinister Realm stands for pure American Classic Heavy Metal sometimes taking a Doom Metal direction. First observation, the band has a wonderful vocalist in my opinion. Loud and clear, walking the vocal tone ladder like a real professional (stable as can be)… once again, GREAT frontman! I know drummer from his former band Falcon so I know he’s got the right skilled to deliver nice hitting tactics. Ex Pale Divine bass shredder J. Gaffney has very gifted fingers… in perfect ways, he can stand his own ground playing heavy riffs in a manner it should be. About both guitarists, all things I’d like to hear from a great axeman are present so who’s the lucky one here?

Dark and sinister look of the total packaging of this release speaks to the imagination, sound quality in real good condition so lets’ talk about the songs for a few lines. Well, the album starts with ‘The Oracle (Into The Depths Of Hell)’ that begins with guitar rhythms in the vein of Metallica’s ‘Am I Evil’ and ‘My Belief’ from Possessed. But that’s just a temporary situation… the song goes on in its own way – Classic Heavy Metal with no compromises! In a great early eighties tradition comes along the song ‘Machine God’… lower tempo but again with great vocals and delicious guitar use. Reaching the end of the track you will be attracted by a wonderful ‘break’!

In a thrashy manner ‘The Demon Seed’ starts to play… fans of Jack Starr’s Guardian Of The Flame, Axehammer or Dofka better check out this great song. ‘March Of The Saint’ plays and again, I really have a great time! I don’t wanna fall into recurrence but Sinister Realm’s debut album sounds that brilliant, I simply can tell you that all the songs get a very high form of appreciation as I may speak for myself! ‘Enter The Sinister Realm’ shows a band offering a delicious instrumental that reminds me of early Fates Warning’s ‘Shadowfax’ (album: Night On Bröcken). Last one ‘The Circle Is Broken’ conquers my heart and soul in sort of an epic way. Vocal use temporary in the vein of King Diamond / early Rob Halford this time and bass lines akin to the sound of an early Manowar album entitled “Sign Of The Hammer”.

Let me conclude with nothing but very promising words concerning Sinister Realm’s debut masterpiece – recommendable for each and every worshipper of American Classic Heavy Metal! At the end of December 2009 right, you’ll find back our favourite albums of this year at THIS place… as for myself, Sinister Realm definitely get a well deserved place in there! To convince yourself how good these guys really are, you can take a look / listen at their homepage at:

My Points: 95 / 100 (Review by Stefan) - Metal to

"Review from"

That a band formed by PALE DIVINE veteran John Gaffney (bass) does not suck is no real shock. That the self-titled debut from Allentown, PA's SINISTER REALM is such a finely crafted and seamless blend of classic doom and classic metal may not be the stuff of dropped jaws, but the sheer quality level and genuineness of the approach is at least mildly surprising. Then again, this is Shadow Kingdom Records that we are talking about, a label that has made a name for itself in the world of classic metal and doom.

Riffs, riffs, and more riffs; there is a ton of good ones here to go with some distinguished melodies, led by the smooth, mid-range doom voice of Alex Kristof. The guitar solos sizzle as well. Overall, consider a mix of CANDLEMASS style doom (occasionally punctuated with a little SABBATH and a little TROUBLE), a fair amount of '70s-era JUDAS PRIEST (mainly the "Sad Wings of Destiny" era), and some good ole' bass popping, pre-Dickinson IRON MAIDEN (Gaffney's work is audible, thick, and active).

The album primarily moves at a mid-tempo pace and never bogs down, though a number like opener "(The Oracle) Into the Depths of Hell" (a riff roller with a beautiful section of keyboards and twin leads toward the end) is a quick stepper. The aforementioned influences are prevalent, yet the band does not lose its identity in the process, whether riding a marching rhythm, catchy riff, and even catchier chorus on "Machine God" (CANDLEMASS meets JUDAS PRIEST), the traditional doom of "March of the Damned" and "The Circle is Broken" (CANDLEMASS) with a more pronounced, distinctive, melodic chorus), the exultant melodic doom of "Message from Beyond" (featuring a "Heaven and Hell"-era SABBATH middle acoustic/keyboard section) or the excellent instrumental "Enter the Sinister Realm" (early IRON MAIDEN with more great bass playing from Gaffney). You may have surmised that "filler" is not a word with which the members of SINISTER REALM are familiar.

The recommendation here is one easily made. If you are a fan of traditional heavy metal or doom, or better yet, a fanatical follower of bands that mix the styles then SINISTER REALM is the band for you. And to think I almost forgot to review this album.

- Scott Alisoglu


"Review from The Metal Salloon"

From the Heavy metal salloon

Sinister Realm: Sinister Realm
The last of the albums I reviewed for the challenge, although I haven't uploaded them in the order I reviewed them. Stumbled across this during the challenge and reviewed it after about three listens. This also got the highest score I gave that week, 98%. Many more listens later I don't regret it.
If bands like Iron Man and Count Raven are promising to keep the spirit of '70s Sabbath alive and kicking into the troubled second decade of our new millennium, Sinister Realm might have taken up the torch for Sabbath fronted by Ronnie James Dio, as well as the little man's early solo discography. With Heaven & Hell and the band Dio both active, this might seem like less of a necessary undertaking than the continuation of the Ozzy mythology. Admittedly, Sinister Realm are no tribute band, they simply play heavy metal in the style of the 1980s, incorporating both traditional doom riffs and the anthemic energy post-Priest heavy metal was showing.

The band mention Candlemass among their influences, alongside Sabbath, Dio and Priest, and oddly enough Alex Kristof's voice has much in common with Candlemass' most recent singer Robert Lowe. Kristof shows the same theatrical approach toward vocal lines, breaking out of the melody set by the verse to let loose seemingly spontaneous blasts of sound. The chanting chorus to 'Machine God' is almost Therion-like in its grandeur, Kristof's multi-layered vocals surrounding the marching guitars on all sides in the style of Mats Leven. The chorus to 'Demon Seeds' is an impassioned and raw performance, and along with the classic doom riffs sounds like a 2009 take on Dio's 'The Last in Line.' The band capture not only the aesthetics of their heroes, but the same transcendent celebration of individuality through crushingly powerful music that heavy metal embodied during its teen years.

Thoroughly embedded in the tradition of '80s heavy metal and traditional doom, Keith Patrick and John Kantner are bloody outstanding guitarists. They vent a blizzard of urgent, exciting harmonies during 'Mongol Horde' as well as over a minute of beautiful lead work transitioning into a solo that must have left fingers slightly blackened. Patrick and Kantner are of a rare breed; many a guitarist can become good at a particular style, add their own touch to it and make excellent music, but these guys show the authority of a musician talented enough to turn their hands to the bluesy grooves of Iommi-inspired doom and make it sound their own. Just turn to the instrumental 'Enter the Sinister Realm', where a rocking rhythm section (with some remarkably expressive bass playing from Darin McCloskey, I might add) is overlayed by furious soloing in the best traditions of Blackmore and Page.

Patrick and Kantner throw layers of innovative melody around the heavy, grooving core of doom at the centre of Sinister Realm. 'March of the Damned' has an exotic, Oriental feeling to it, both in the sparse melody that opens the track and returns at points throughout, and someone hitting a gong in the background toward the 3:30 mark. 'The Nihilist' is the raging standout of the album, due to Kristof's Dio-like booming of the chorus and the classic, romantic guitar leads that take us through the song's middle. 'Message From Beyond' breaks with a beautiful acoustic section and a foreboding drum tattoo.

As a debut album, this is incredibly strong. If we're not counting Heaven & Hell, this is easily the best debut doom album this year. Tracks like 'Mongol Horde' deserve to cement Sinister Realm among the finest purveyors of heavy metal and doom in the thriving US scene, as well as internationally. Released twenty-five years ago, it would have been a classic. As it is, it's just absolutely fucking essential. Make with the purchasing.

- The Metal Salloon

"Review from"

4 out of 5...they call a rating of 4 "Something every metal head should own"

October 2009
Released: 2009, Shadow Kingdom Records
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen

Sinister Realm, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA, is a new acquaintance to me. The band was formed just last year by bassist John Gaffney and drummer Darin McCloskey, and the band line-up was soon completed by the 3 other fellows.

After circulating their 4-track demo to various labels via the internet, Sinister Realm finally ended up signing a deal with Shadow Kingdom Records, and the first fruit of this cooperation is the band´s self-titled, 9-track album, that came out almost just recently.

The band claim to draw their influences from some of the 80s heavy metal giants, like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Dio and such. After spinning their disc actively in my CD-player, I feel like I have no problem subscribing to the list of Sinister Realm´s main influences musically, not at all. The band can truly reflect musically the times when some killer yet classic heavy metal were churned out, naturally bands like Sabbath, Maiden, Priest, etc. being in the front line. There´s Sabbath´s heaviness and gloominess, Maiden´s catchy melodies, Priest´s straightforwardness, etc. – all mirrored through this very pleasingly sounding opus, and you just cannot help liking it if you are a fan of the mightiness of 80s pure heavy metal. Also, bands like both Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass have obviously played an important role when the guys in Sinister Realm have been open for different inspirations, band-wise at least. Do I hear some fair Candlemass worshipping in “Message from Beyond”? I guess I do.

The band´s concept to go back to the roots of 80s metal, has turned out in a really nice way on this record. It would make no difference if someone told me this album was already recorded some 20 years ago as Sinister Realm can truly sound deceptively like an old school heavy metal band, with all those 80s metal icons sticking through their songs. I do not know if the guys in Sinister Realm have done it on purpose, but the opening song, “(The Oracle) into the Depths of Hell”, imitates clearly the opening riffs and rhythms of a Diamond Head song “Am I Evil?”. Whether it was done on purpose or not, I think it is a clever call from the Sinister Realm camp to show right away what they are all about.

Vocalist Alex Kristof undoubtedly gets lots of attention from people by having a really strong and charismatic heavy metal voice. He´s definitely one of the most impressive and powerful heavy metal vocalists that I have had the pleasure to become familiar with lately; being without question a true carrying force of the band. And when the back-up support is provided as a fine and professional way as his band mates do – offering a good backbone of piercing riffages, smoothly running, mid-paced tempo and rhythm changes, mind-sticking and tastefully done solos – and just all this, the whole CD starts reeking of greatness of heavy metal real soon.

Now do a favor to yourself and just grab a copy of this release in order to support this fine heavy metal band Sinister Realm. Maybe you can still be considered my friend when doing so…



Sinister Realm debut 2009 Shadow Kingdom Recorods Sinister Realm "The Crystal Eye" Shadow Kingdom Records 2011



Channeling the spirit of early 80’s metal icons like Dio and Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, with an added epic doom metal influence from Candlemass, Allentown Pennsylvania based Sinister Realm was formed in 2008 by John Gaffney (former Pale Divine) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon). They quickly found vocalist Alex Kristof and recorded a 4 song demo that drew the attention of various independent labels. After signing with Shadow Kingdom Records a live band was assembled and a full length album was released in August of 2009. Press from around the world hailed the debut album a success and Sinister Realm began actively playing live to support the album. Not long after the albums release new members Chris Metzger and John Risko joined the band and work began on the sophomore album titled "The Crystal Eye". Set for worldwide release in July, "The Crystal Eye" promises to continue in the fine tradition of heavy melodic songs established on the first record. All hail Sinsiter Realm! The true defenders of American Steel.