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Album Review: LIV SIN KaliYuga

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When Sister Sin disbanded in 2015, vocalist Liv Jagrell formed Liv Sin, who released albums in 2017 and 2019. Sister Sin reunited last summer and played numerous live shows and plan to do more, but it’s unclear if they plan to record any new music.

Jagrell is continuing with Liv Sin, who had some lineup changes since Burning Sermons. Jagrell and guitarist Patrick Ankermark are the only members remaining from that album. Original drummer Per Bjelovuk has returned, with new additions guitarist Jay Matharu and bassist Daniel Skoglund.

The band’s third album KaliYuga follows a similar template to their first two releases, but the extra time between records allowed Liv Sin to really hone in on their songwriting. That resulted in ten tracks of traditional metal that balances the heavy and melodic and sees the band expanding their musical horizon.

Jagrell has always smoothly transitioned between harsh vocals, aggressive singing and more melodic styles. That’s certainly the case with KaliYuga, but she stretches those dynamics even farther. That’s especially evident on “I Am The Storm,” which Jagrell says is probably the most dynamic song she has ever written. Subtle crooning at the beginning quickly turns aggressive and intense, but she dials it back again. Jagrell says it is “one of the hardest ones to sing since I’m not very used to singing soft.”

While other songs may not have as dramatic a contrast in vocal styles as that one (“Virus” is close), her vocals are varied throughout. Opener “The Process” has Doro-esque melodic singing and death growls along with a catchy chorus. Keyboards augment the urgent “Antihero,” while grooves are front and center on “King Of Fools,” whose background vocals makes it even more memorable.

“Forget My Name,” with its call and response chorus is one of the album’s most accessible and radio-friendly tracks. “D.E.R.” has three guest vocalists. Harsh male vocals and Eleine’s smooth style add contrast to the anthemic song, as does a brief acoustic section and a false ending before closing things with an aggressive edge.

While Jagrell draws a lot of the attention, the guitar work on KaliYuga is top-notch. Newcomer Matharu brings his A game and is in synch with the veteran Ankermark. They provide quality riffs, excellent harmonies and numerous shredding solos.

The band produced the album themselves, which allowed them more freedom to try new things, inspired by both classic bands and more modern acts like Architects and Parkway Drive. Super-producer Tue Madsen (At The Gates, The Haunted) handled the mix and master that gives the album a crisp and timeless sound.

KaliYuga is a streamlined album, with a minimal amount of filler. The ten songs are an efficient 45 minutes, and there’s not a weak link in the bunch. Closer “Horizon In Black” is actually one of the best songs on the album. The turmoil in the band and the world at large over the past few years didn’t affect the quality of the album, which is Liv Sin’s best so far.

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