Although Sleaze Rock is a term that hasn’t really seen a lot of mainstream use, if you’ve heard any bands with this label, you’ll notice a series of commonalities between them: heavy glam metal influences (Guns N’ Roses being the most cited) with a decidedly raw production approach, plenty of punk attitude to go around, and an affinity for creating a party atmosphere. The lyrics are usually about partying, drinking, sex, basically everything a growing boy or girl needs, with all of it being done in a tongue-in-cheek manner. While the majority of these bands go back to the 80s (Dangerous Toys being one notable example) the style has picked up a little steam in recent years, thanks in part to Horror-Punk outfit Wednesday 13, who also have a bit of a Sleaze Rock edge to them.
Sister are a relatively new band in the movement, formed in 2006 in Stockholm/Jönkoping Sweden, and they’ve definitely hit the ground running, having released their critically acclaimed debut album Hated in 2011, and toured with with such bands as U.D.O., Hardcore Superstar, Wednesday 13, Crashdiet and Fozzy. Disguised Vultures, their new effort, sums up the entire genre of sleaze rock (or sleaze “metal” if you prefer) in just under an hour, but you’ll already know whether you’re going to love or hate it after just the first song. Sister are a perfect blend of punk and metal (glam metal to be more specific), and I say this because I actually find it a bit difficult to categorize them as either punk or metal, which is really the point. Sure, there’s some pretty heavy riffing at times that will certainly get a circle pit going in a live setting, but the riffing is fairly simplistic, typically staying in a 3 chord 4/4 time signature, with a few solos scattered here and there. Vocally Sister definitely lean towards the punk side of things, choosing to take a gravelly yelling style akin to Wednesday 13, though there are times the vocalist gets a bit more shrill and reminds me of Dani Filth from Cradle Of Filth. While the guitars don’t sound like they were tuned too low, there is definitely enough heft in the bass tone to give the music a heavy vibe, and I definitely enjoyed the fuzzed out bass sound. The drumming is adequate, which is really all I can say about it; it just doesn’t stand out all that much, as there’s no flashiness, nor any “oh hey that was a cool filler” moments.
The biggest standout track to me would have to be track number 2, Sick; the chorus is super catchy, the riffs are a little heavier and darker than the rest of the album, and I get a Kvelertak vibe in there, which although made me want to listen to this song on repeat, left me wishing the rest of the album was more along these lines. My biggest issue with this record is that there just isn’t much variation in the sound; everything is pretty mid-paced, with more or less the same time signature, the vocals don’t have a whole lot of range, the solos aren’t really show-stoppers, acting more as bridges than anything else, and nearly every song follows the same formula. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great record, and Sister are an excellent band in this particular sub-genre, but I just don’t find the genre itself to be all that exciting, and Sister have done little to change my mind on this subject.
If you’re into Wednesday 13 but don’t particularly care for the cheesy b-movie themed lyrics, or maybe like Turbonegro but want some more serious-minded lyrics, this is a great album to check out. However, if you don’t really like punk music, or don’t find Motley Crue to be one of the coolest bands to walk the face of the earth, you’ll probably want to avoid this one.