Have a drink on me as Mat returns

Although these days he might be better known for his work in Voodoo Circle and Primal Fear, Mat Sinner has navigated his eponymous troupe through rock’s choppy waters since 1982.

Touring with the likes of Deep Purple, Ronnie James Dio and Savatage, might indicate their standing, while the fact that the likes of Gus G (Firewind, Ozzy) and Ricky Warwick (Scot rock gods The Almighty, and current kings of hard rock Black Star Riders) guest here, show his continuing draw beyond measure.

The 10 songs here show a band that have no intention whatsoever of growing old gracefully. The first track “Go Down Fighting” is proof of that. “Tell me where the good times gone/drinking beer and having fun” goes one if its lines. Which is then followed up with this: “why would I quit drinking/quitting is for quitters, man.”

The ethos of the record is right there. This is fun. Pure and simple and it is totally unashamed of the fact. As if everyone here knew that this was their first proper record for six years and they were going to make damn sure to enjoy it.

If you were expecting some po-faced trad metal thing with studded belts and all, you can carry on expecting, as its not. Instead the title track sounds like Therapy? jamming on a Thin Lizzy track, “Road To Hell” is all twin guitars and the ghost of Phil Lynott is all over this. Not for nothing does Warwick make an appearance here.

As much as we love Thin Lizzy though, it’s hard to look beyond “Dragons” as the true highlight on “…Suicide”. A stab at power metal, it is perhaps the most ludicrous song ever put to music (come on, if you start off drinking with a wizard in a bar, then it’s got to be tongue in cheek) but MV will defy anyone not to have their fists in the air grinning like a lunatic by the end.

The militaristic “Battle Hill” puts us squarely into Grave Digger territory, but the quite brilliant “Sinner Blues” – a laid back whiskey soaked ballad, is another thing entirely.

The hooks that Sinner manage are quite stunning, there is a superb one on “Why” (another Lizzy influenced tune) and “Gypsy Rebels” almost dares you not to thump your fists in the air, while the spirit of 1980s metal is all over the mighty fine “Loud And Clear”.

“Tequila Suicide” finishes with another from its mid-paced end. “Dying On Broken Heart” is shot through with the class that the rest of the record showed too.

An unexpected gem this might be, but it’s a gem nonetheless. Raise your glasses to that.

Rating 8/10