Sinner: Metal's Safe Sanctuary
by Martin Popoff

If we are somewhere within the third wave of German power metal, then Sinner belongs emphatically inside the second, Mat Sinner and his recirculating band of groove-ground metalheads joining the exalted ranks of Rage, Coroner, Sodom, Destruction, Grave Digger, and Running Wild as bands who have soldiered long deep and hard into metal's true and raging heart.

Now back with with their thirteenth album The End Of Sanctuary, Sinner find themselves bemused at the power metal community that has built up around them, Sinner sounding perhaps the purest of the old guard jostling amidst the hotshot upstarts. Keyboardist Frank Roessler relates the fact that it's all part of an unswerving mission. What is old is new again. "Well I think with the direction that metal went in the beginning of the 90s, when grunge and alternative came out, I think the main thing was that we didn't follow this trend. We stuck with what we have always done. We still play songs off the albums we did in the 80s, and some of those are still our biggest hits."

Adding snap to the step is the acquisition of Helloween drummer Uli Kusch (still very much a part of Helloween), who replaces Fritz Randow, now a card-carrying member of Saxon. Which, given the musical chairs phenom that is power metal, doesn't mean Fritz is gone forever. "Well, Uli is also going to play live with us as long as time permits," indicates Frank. "His main band is of course Helloween. But for years, we've had to coordinate all our different bands. Everybody in Sinner has different bands, like Primal Fear, where Mat plays, or Alex Beyrodt, his stuff he is doing with D.C. Cooper. So we are very used to coordinating several activities. If Uli can't play with us live we always have replacements, like Klaus Sperling from Primal Fear and we are still in good contact with Fritz..."

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