Those of you in the know will know that Liv ‘Sin’ Jagrell trod the boards for quite a few years as the frontwoman of Swedish metal outfit Sister Sin. Well, she’s back now, in solo guise, and I have to say the change has been, in my opinion, for the better.
Whereas Sister Sin were a bit ‘nu’ for my liking, Liv’s gone back to the source for this, her first solo outing. What could have been some sort of Butcher Babies-style monstrosity is actually a catchy, melody-packed tour around the backwaters of late-eighties metal, full of fist-banging choruses, with all the songs designed to showcase Jagrell’s powerful, post-Doro vocal attack.
There are flecks of modernity; Black Souls could almost be Arch Enemy at their most mellow, but for the most part Liv and her more than capable band (led by the superb guitar work and songwriting skills of Patrick Ankermark) are content to churn out riffy rebel anthems, which I’m sure the kids are going to lap up when she takes this juggernaut of an album out on the road.
The Fall is an early highlight, sounding almost like something W.A.S.P. might have put out in their Headless Children heyday, Sin’s roaring vocal style suiting the bombastic nature of the song perfectly, Per Bjelovuk’s propulsive drumming forcing the whole thing forward at high speed and with damaging intent; but perhaps the best track is the quite superb Killing Ourselves to Live – Building on a quiet, semi-acoustic opening and an anthemic guitar fanfare that gets the goosebumps well excited, the song soon erupts into a full-force rocker, equipped with just about everything a modern metal song needs to succeed: clattering snares, merciless bass drums, razor sharp riffwork and a chorus you could hang your coat on. It’s all here and it’s bloody marvellous.
Elsewhere there’s an interesting cover of Rob Halford curio Immortal Sin, which originally featured on the Metal God’s Fight debut. Here featuring vocal assistance from The 69 Eyes doyen Jyrki 69, the song is turned from groove metal power ballad to gothic opera fantasia, the two voices merging to form one of which Mr. Screaming Vengeance himself would undoubtedly approve.
All good, then, with not really a weak point to be detected. If I’m honest I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying Follow Me, but that shouldn’t detract from the final verdict which is this: Liv Sin has created a very strong solo persona and voice with this album. Here’s to many more!
Liv Sin’s Follow Me will be released by Despotz Records on April 28th.