Sinister Street - Trust

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Musea
Catalog Number: FGBG 4431AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:16:00

The album artwork for Dutch band Sinister Street's Trust suggests maybe a techno band. The typography has a digital, computerized, electronic look and the colour scheme is at once calming and chilly. However, as further proof to the old adage, what you will find inside is something quite different from techno. You might also think, given the band's name, that there would be a metal edge to the music. This is closer to true that than the first, but it is really more true to say that Sinister Street are hard prog - in fact, during one track, the instrumental "Trust", I specifically thought of Threshold and "Light And Space." Actually, to be even more precise, that heavy drum intro that begins the Threshold track (and the album Hypothetical). One wonders if we shouldn't also mention Arena, given that there are tracks called "Midas Touch" (cf. "Midas Vision") and "Thin Ice" (cf. The Visitor and the name of Clive Nolan's studio). Maybe even Shadowland given the track called "Through The Looking Glass"?

From this you can gather that Sinister Street are reminiscent of many modern, rock-based prog bands. The band that came to mind most often was Egdon Heath (circa Nebula), though thoughts of Jadis won't be far behind, and is, perhaps, the strongest comparison. The Egdon Heath feeling is mostly felt in the often impassioned vocals of Olaf Blaauw, who at times sounds a bit like latter day Greg Lake. He has a warm, engaging vocal style - a lot like Egdon Heath's one time vocalist Jans Van Der Stempel - ranging from low mid-range to upper mid-range. He's not a metal vocalist, but rather a prog rock vocalist, so while his vocals do soar at times, he keeps them well below the ceiling.

Like the bands mentioned, Sinister Street have a sound relies on contrasts - an expansive section followed or preceded by a more restrained passage, building tension. "Lost For Words" is but one example of this dynamic. The title track is energetic and punchy, owing to the mostly crisp drum attack with which Frits Bonjernoor plays. It is his drumming that is often up front next to the vocals. The guitars (Omar Niamut) and bass (Roger Vingerhoeds) on "Trust" have a dirtied sound, before singing and stinging guitar leads emerge, which later become much lyrical. While solid and accomplished, Niamut's sound and style owe a lot to Marillion's Steve Rothery, and, to a lesser extent, Arena's Karl Groom. "Go The Distance" is their hardest edged piece, but also reveals some of the flaws in the overall production, which seems compressed, most noticeable in Bonjernoor's percussion.

Sinister Street have a twin keyboard attack - Erik Van Der Vlis and Peter Van Leerdam - that seems often in the background, filling in some of the space that would otherwise be empty. "Two In One" is to me a cross of "Footprints In The Snow" on ELP's Black Moon and Marillion's "Made Again," with a dash of Celtic via a bagpipe like keyboard accent.

Making these Marillion comparisons is not just a case of "there she goes again." As the band say in their bio, their goal at the outset - in the mid-80s - was to put a little more punch in their music than could be heard from Marillion, Pendragon, IQ and the like. This means they actually predate some of the bands mentioned. After Fish left Marillion, Sinister Street backed Fish on the first a couple of live dates the "big Scotsman" (as folks seem to like calling him) performed upon going solo. They've also opened for Marillion and Jadis (1992). "Two In One" is the most accessible track on the album, the less densely arranged piece - but in saying that, it holds true to the "neo-prog" style and is, in fact, the longest track (by a second) on the album. Those Rothery-esque guitar lines come to fore during the instrumental break of this piece. For this reason I'm sure it is the song the band chose to edit down for radio play. It is catchy and memorable. That edited version is included as a bonus track.

The band is successful in their goal, though in terms of name recognition, they are going to seem like followers rather than leaders. All of which means that if you like any of the bands I've mentioned, you'll most likely like Sinister Street.

Song For A Day (8:22) / Thin Ice (5:50) / Lost For Words (6:16) / Trust (5:14) / Two In One (8:23) / Midas Touch (4:38) / Go The Distance (4:20) / Turning Tide (5:39) / Through The Looking Glass (7:54)

Olaf Blaauw - vocals
Frits Bonjernoor - drums
Omar Niamut - guitars
Roger Vingerhoeds - bass
Erik Van Der Vlis - keyboards, backing vocals
Peter Van Leerdam - keyboards, backing vocals

Prologue (demo cassette) (1989)
The Eve Of Innocence (1992)
Trust (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin NL

Added: February 11th 2003
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1294
Language: english


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