by MIKE CHAIKEN
Swedish band Sister Sin demonstrates that the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival is committed to bringing fans all dimensions of the music known as heavy metal.
Sister Sin, which is touring behind its latest album “Black Lotus,” has a definite 1980s metal feel to it. Sister Sin –which is fronted by singer Liv Jagrell and also includes Jimmy Hiltula, Dave Sundberg, Andreas Strandh, has four albums to their name. The band sets up shop on the Victory Stage when the Mayhem Festival comes to Hartford on July 19.
As the band traveled across the country from Mayhem stop to another, The Observer caught up with Dave, the band’s drummer, to talk about music and Mayhem.
Observer: Listening to the latest album, there is a definite classic metal vibe. It reminds me of a lot of the music coming out of Los Angeles in the 1980s, such as Guns and Roses and Motley Crue. I also hear their contemporaries W.A.S.P.
Dave: Yeah, that’s the foundation of Sister Sin for sure. We love the hooks and basic song structures from that era. Lyric-wise we’re not really influenced by those themes often used in ‘80s. So in the end it’s a mix of classic bands like W.A.S.P., and Judas Priest but the riffs and production are more related to punk and current metal. In some sense at least.
O: How did your sound evolve? Why did you guys decide that this combo of musicians had to play this kind of music? What did you like about this classic metal sound?
D: We all grew up on classic metal so it’s kind of in our blood, you know. The first riff learned or first drum filled was probably trying to copy one of those bands. When we started, about 10 years ago, there were no bands around doing this classic metal style so that’s what we set out to do. Bring it back but with a more current sound and lyrics that aren’t so dated, basically. Like I mentioned earlier, we really missed those fat hooks and memorable riffs. It seems a lot of bands now are dead set on technicality and playing fast, rather than actually writing a good song.
O: What bands did influence the sound of Sister Sin… artists you admired that you appreciated what they were doing?
D: Motörhead is a huge influence to us. To this day, they are still current and sounding great. They also have a sound that crosses genres. If you’re a thrash guy or in to punk, to rock or whatever, you can still appreciate Motörhead. That’s what we really admire and somewhat achieved hopefully. Right now we’re on Mayhem Fest and it’s about 99 percent metalcore bands and most of the audience are there to mosh, do circle pits or whatever. But it has worked out great for us even though it’s hard to do a “Wall of Death” to our music, ha,ha. Often, like three songs in, they go “Hey, now I get it.” And after the set, we’ve gained loads new fans.
O: If someone came up to you and said, “I need to know more about metal music, can you recommend some albums that are “must-hears”? What would you tell them and why those albums?
D: Judas Priest “Painkiller” is a must have for any metalhead, no matter what side genre you prefer. It has everything: hooks, riffs, heavy stuff, AND wailing vocals. I guess you need to pick up Slayer’s “Hell Awaits” also. Why? Because you have to. It’s elementary.
O: You’re a couple of dates into Mayhem so far… what do you like about the experience so far? What have the fans been like for you?
D: It has been above all expectations thus far. Like I mentioned, there’s a lot of metalcore on the stage we’re playing, so we were kind of concerned the fans might not dig our branch of classic metal. But they proved us wrong. We even got the mosh pit moving every night so that’s definitely a first for us.
O: What do you like about the diversity of metal you get to see at Mayhem?
D: King Diamond, Slayer, and Hellyeah on the main stage is a great package and obviously great diversity. Personally, I’d like to see a little bit more of that on the second stage, too.
O: What have been your favorite bands you’ve managed to catch on the tour so far?
D: I really like Shattered Sun, who are label mates (on Victory Records) and a great band. Also King Diamond and Slayer are childhood heroes so it’s crazy cool to be on Mayhem Fest with them this year.
The Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, with headliners Slayer, plays the Xfinity Theater in Hartford on July 19. Doors open at 1 p.m. For more information, go to LiveNation.com, RockstarMayhemFest.com, or SisterSin.com
Comments? Email mchaiken@BristolObserver. com.
by MIKE CHAIKEN