KK's Priest - The Sinner Rides Again review
|Album:||The Sinner Rides Again|
|Release date:||September 2023|
01. Son Of The Sentinel
02. Strike Of The Viper
03. Reap The Whirlwind
04. One More Shot At Glory
05. Hymn 66
06. The Sinner Rides Again
07. Keeper Of The Graves
08. Pledge Your Souls
09. Wash Away Your Sins
So, it's the Sin... after Sin?
KK's Priest's first sermon may not have been a fiery exhortation to a congregation curious as to what the ex-Judas Priest string slinger, KK Downing, could produce after years away from the band that made his name; however, it was good enough to keep your interest as to what the band could produce in the wake of their first foray into the studio. The Sinner Rides Again answers this question with a defiant... meh: an album that is serviceable, but leaves you asking "is that it?" While Sermons Of The Sinner could be somewhat forgiven for giving fans what they wanted in order to establish themselves, The Sinner Rides Again doesn't have this luxury. Having set the bar with their prior album, they somehow manage to limbo underneath it here in style.
On its own merits, The Sinner Rides Again is an OK album, one that does at least tick the boxes of what you would want from a traditional heavy metal album. While it does lean into the cheesy and generic too often for comfort, it doesn't make the songs not listenable. "One More Shot At Glory" will have your eyes rolling like a bowling ball, but it doesn't make you want to skip the song out of second hand embarrassment. This is pretty much the listening experience you are likely to have when spinning The Sinner Rides Again: enjoyable, if not exactly having you pump your fists in the air.
With that said, If you focus on the guitar work, you will hear the best of what the band has to offer, with Downing and Mills providing some good riffs and solos throughout. The title track in particular has the duo trading parts throughout the solo in a way that harkens back to the glory days of NWOBHM. There is one song where all the elements combine and make for a great song without caveat, "Hymn 66", a mid-paced barnstormer of a track that combines the epic feel the band aim for with solid musicianship.
After catching some of these songs live earlier this year, I was eager to see what they would sound like with the benefit of polish and refinement that studio versions offer. While the production is slick and cohesive, it does lack some of the punch that could have pushed these tracks a few notches; "Keeper Of The Graves" in particular could have benefitted from this, save for its acoustic intro section. While it isn't what holds The Sinner Rides Again back, it is does impede the Sinner's ride.
One element that doesn't pull its weight is Elg's drumming. While the focus of the music is clearly on the guitars and Owens, Elg's drumming seems somewhat generic and bland. Although he throws in fills to try and liven things up, tracks like "Reap the Whirlwind" could have had a drum machine in his stead, and you'd unlikely notice much difference. I get that his role is likely to provide a platform for the rest of the band to bounce off of, I can't help but find that he can't inject much personality or character into his parts.
KK's Priest has plenty of self-evident potential, but they have yet to show the world that they are more than a (one more shot at) glory ride for KK Downing and Owens; The Sinner Rides Again offers little reason as to why the group can stand on their own merits.
||Written on 04.10.2023 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.|
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