The Sins Of Mankind
Review by Felix on May 2, 2019.
Cancer started with a primitive debut and the second album still revealed a rather simple approach. Both works had its charm, but only for those who like to eat their daily portion of meat raw. The third full-length of the quartet marked a new climax of their discography - and I think it will remain their masterpiece for eternity. I enjoy the tasteful cover which does not look as stupid as those of their previous albums. The opener confirms the good impression. “Cloak of Darkness” follows a halfway melodious approach while creating an intense atmosphere, especially during its fantastic bridge. But the hymnal chorus is the icing on the cake. Without exaggeration, this tune represents one of the band's most stirring compositions.
And it gets even better: the opener can be seen as a blueprint for the remaining songs. This does not mean that they all sound the same. But the interested listener will discover plenty of outstanding riffs as well as superb melodies. Of course, I am speaking of melodies of the harshest kind. Although a few songs deliver a slightly weaker compositional level, the album is more or less fully convincing. From my point of view, it's one of these transition works like "Under the Sign of the Black Mark" or "Expurse of Sodomy". Both marked the ending of a pretty foolish (yet fascinating) period and opened the door to a new dimension. Too bad that both Bathory and Cancer were not able to find their way in this previously unknown space (I know that this statement is highly debatable in the case of Bathory, but what can I do - I never liked their Viking stuff very much.) However, The Sins of Mankind combines the rawness of the early days with first signs of maturity.
Of course, the production plays an essential role, too. It is flawless on the remastered re-issue – but it has also been faultless on the original album from 1993. The sound generates an adequate pressure and the slightly more technical appearance has nothing to do with a lifeless mix. Well, to call the contribution of the bass guitar omnipresent would be a nefarious deception, but the overall impression gives no reason to lament.
The most aggressive track is called “Tribal Bloodshed Part I - The Conquest”. Cancer dish up a short outburst with blast beat-like drumming, rasping leads during the mid-paced part and a compact guitar solo. But the direct neighbors of this track also leave their footprints. "Pasture of Delights / At the End" connects a calm and atmospheric intro with thundering riffs that lead to a catchy yet brutal chorus whose lines seem to herald Armageddon. Its dramatic undertone puts the finishing touches on the song. Finally, the mid-paced and fatalistic "Tribal Bloodshed Part II - Under the Flag" can be blamed for a certain repetitiveness, but its riffs are simply too strong to send it to Coventry. And that's it. Without frills, without any form of technical ecstasy and without trace elements of bombast, everything is said and done in less than 35 minutes. It's no milestone, but even 26 years after the release, The Sins of Mankind still makes my day every now and then, because its material uncovers absolutely no unforgivable sins.
Rating: 8 out of 10