BATTERED and delighted is the only way to describe the experience of listening to Sinocence's third volume in 'No Gods, No Masters' ep trilogy.
While the first two volumes were great, smart, well-executed releases this long anticipated conclusion to the trilogy is a thrashing, kicking, angry, angst-ridden exorcism of past demons allied with punishing musicianship.
Personal and political lyricism is matched with intense metal playing. Fom the opening bars of 'Full Spectral Dominance' you know that your aural tracts will be blasted and your brain numb in blissful delight.
What is immediately apparent is that Sinocence are not afraid to allow each track to breathe, lengthy explorations of the music and words. The playing is onomatopoeic, perfectly matching the sense of the themes such as the period on 'Bilateral' where it slows down to match the frustration at ideology before a riff and solo slam you down.
The lengthening of the songs shows confidence and courage. While many of Sinocence's contemporaries across Europe still keep to the three-to-four minute formula this is metal, strident, aware and chock full of thematic elements that you can lose a day re-listening and re-listening, discovering more and more subtleties.
Frankie McClay's production allow the songs to have both heft and delicacy within the maelstrom. There is no muddiness evident, separation allows the listener to assess each element and revel in it.
There is so much passion on each track - and no fear in singing about issues from political misdeeds through to the refugee crisis on the furious 'Mind Over Murder' Yeah, fuck you Daily Mail, Sinocence murder your lies here.
The titular 'No Gods, No Masters' just has to be heard. Awesome doesn't even come close. It is the culmination of the band's journey; a song that espouses who and what Sinocence is about.
But lest you think that amidst the whirl of the songs on display the assault is one-dimensional this EP shows that melody can be incorporated in singing and playing - deployed in the right ratio to delight.
What Sinocence have proved on 'No Gods, No Masters Vol 3' is that they have vitality in what they do, and how they do it.
To say it is essential listening is an understatement. It is a must listen release in 2017.
Review by Jonathan Traynor