Beautiful Sin is the new project of Germany's drum god Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween, Masterplan). Kusch must have wanted to find other ways to express himself, as he teamed up with Axel Mackenrott on keys from Masterplan, Pagan's Mind members Steinar Krokmo and Jorn Viggo Lofstad on bass and guitars respectively, and last but not least the amazing female vocalist Magali Luyten. Actually Luyten and Kusch have known each other for quite some time, since Kusch had primarily produced a demo for Luyten's previous band, which unfortunately never took off the ground. So, when the idea of forming Beautiful Sin came to mind, Kusch's first choice for vocalist was Magali Luyten.
Even though this album is meant to be a departure from the previous efforts of Uli Kusch, in many ways, it's just a more keyboard-driven version of his recent output with Masterplan. Mackenrott's synths are all over the place, and aside from the few songs where he delves into deep experiments, the music could be described as a melodic metal release with some serious hard rock leanings, plus modern production values to boot. Also, I was reminded of Jorn Lande's solo albums quite a bit in some ways, as Jorn Viggo Lofstad, the guitarist of Beautiful Sin, is also an integral part of his albums. And it's a known fact that Lande has always been a huge hard rock fan, therefore often releasing albums in this vein. The band start the album with the ambitious "Lost", the definitive Beautiful Sin song. It is highlighted by great keyboards, melodic female vocals (with the occasional male back-ups) and powerful bass and guitars. However, "This Is Not the Original Dream" is a better cut to fully appreciate Luyten's soaring vocals, and the guitar solo by Loftstad is stunning to say the least. Uli Kusch's drumming skills are still intact, as he opts for great rhythmic variations and top-notch double bass as well.
Most of the songs on the album are quite mid-tempo, picking up crunch and heavier parts only during the apex of the piece or the occasional choruses. "Take Me Home" is one of these songs. After delicate keyboards, the music is graced by thundering bass and rhythm guitars as well as a cool multi-part vocal harmony. "I'm Real" is based on pretty much the same formula, except that the drumming by Kusch is the highlight this time around. Speaking of Kusch, even though this is primarily his project, the number of songs where he attempts to put his skills on display are next to none, which makes me admire him all the more. The heaviest songs have got to be "Give Up Once For All" because of Luyten's aggressive vocals (a bit like Kimberly Goss perhaps); "Pechvogel" where the heavy-as-hell intro is perfectly contrasted by a mellow and slightly electronic key patch; the melodic piece "The Spark of Ignition", marked by varied time signatures and impressive harmonies; and the slowed-down power metal "Metalwaves", which in fact isn't as good a song as the others, but it's got a cool energy to it.
There are also two instrumentals on the album of which "Brace for Impact" is the more adventurous number. It is rather modern-sounding because of its very electronic synth sequences, sweeping bass leads, heavy guitars, and shredding synth lead which still focuses on melody rather than virtuosity. The title track, on the other hand, is just a neat and melodic piece that closes the album on a peaceful note. This album is recommended to fans of melodic metal that also enjoy quality hard rock, as well as to listeners of each member's other bands.
- This Is Not the Original Dream
- Take Me Home
- I'm Real
- The Spark of Ignition
- Closer to My Heart
- Give Up Once For All
- Brace for Impact
- The Beautiful Sin