Masters Of Sins


I have to cry out loud: Sarissa are among the unluckiest and most underestimated bands […]
By Grigoris Chronis
September 20, 2004
Sarissa - Masters Of Sins album cover

I have to cry out loud: Sarissa are among the unluckiest and most underestimated bands ever to have emerged in the Metal globe!!! A deadly strike from the past, a definite lightning from a band once destined to maintain the scepters for the whole Greek Metal scene, a vicious shot in the year 2004 undoubtedly attesting that the North-Greece metallers stay potent and factual after nearly 20 years of a back-and-forth, up-and-down truly immense career, presenting an up-to-date outline of how a band's main musical stigma can - and should - be transformed in each era. The band's patience in adversity is rewarded, for sure!!!
History: one of the oldest Greek bands, Sarissa took form in the mid-80s. Driven by Jim Selalmazidis - the only member remaining from the original lineup - the band released a demo tape in 1987 gaining respected success and huge fame in Greece, also receiving great reviews from the European Press (e.g. Rock Hard magazine), resulting in the band's "move to Germany in order to promote their work more professionally. Although the band's cult status caught the attention of Polygram Greece label, still better news came from Germany's Noise Records/Modern Music label (one of the most "strong labels at the end of the 80s, for anyone that remembers) that showed interest in signing a contract with the band. Unfortunately, the label's final decision was to sign deal with the Russian Speed/Thrash act Kruiz, leaving Sarissa with strong disappointment. Furthermore, military problems and various lineup changes resulted in Sarissa altering their initial plans by moving back to Greece. Jim's - mainly - diligence pushed Sarissa to release their self-financed Sarissa CD in 1994, selling 2000 copies at hand, with minimal (if any) promotion & distribution. The band's mature Epic/Power Metal was now more qualitative than ever, calling forth the band's optimism for a better future.
Unfortunately (again...), Sarissa disbanded in 1995, leaving both a legendary name and bitter taste among the Metal fans for what should happen with minimum better luck... Yet, enthusiasm and prospect never dried out, resulting in the band's reunion with the original lineup - vocalist only missing. Sarissa's famous demo CD was re-released through Metal Invader magazine, selling 12,000 copies worldwide. The lineup changes still carried on (Valley's Eve/Mystic Prophecy singer Dimitris Liapakis carried the vocal "load for awhile), but Jim Selalmazidis found new members to accomplish what Sarissa really justified. A contract with Black Lotus Records gave the band the chance to work now seriously for their first official release after almost 20 years... Well, even if the venture lasted that long... Sarissa is back!!!
On to the core... the Masters Of Sins release visibly depicts how a band's music should be attuned so as to "fit in today's standards, without "growing away from the basic vain. Recorded in their own Marathon Studios, the band preserves the Power/Epic feeling but with a lot of progressive and classical orchestrations. The band is clearly influenced - yet, not coping - by the modern Metal sound, trying successfully to combine it with their famous past. The result is simply brilliant! Masters Of Sins contains a variety of striking songs, with inspired guitar riffs, trustworthy solos, solid rhythm section and first-class vocal melodies. Even if I'm not that familiar - or fond of - this specific genre, the combination of classic heavy tunes, filtered through both classical and eastern melodies, brings an innovative way of fine-tuning the all-time influences an artist can have. The production is crystal clear, spotlighting both the musicians' skills and the compositions' dominance. If I had to bring some bands in my mind for an informal comparison, I could easily say that Symphony X are of alike interest. Last but not least,  attached to the marvelous tunes is a vast cover version of the opus Starvation, originally written by Prog/Hard Rock 70s Greek cult band Socrates.
Not much more to declare... With masses of artists/bands fooling around with middling recordings, cleverly encashing a first-class contract once - maybe coincidentally - given, Sarissa are the genuine proof of what a band is capable of when retaining its apparition, hard work and unremitting technical improvement (both, as fans and musicians). Some live for the memories, yet Sarissa is the band that can handle the future. Act fast and share the dream!

8 / 10


"Masters Of Sins" Track-listing:

Bleed (Till The End)
To These Powers (I Swear)
The Ancient Land Falls
Masters Of Sins
Envious Critics
The Struggle
Hypocrisy Crusade

Sarissa Lineup:

Nick Iglezos - Vocals
Jim A.D. Selalmazidis - Guitars, Bass & Keyboards
Bill Kanakakis - Drums

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