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Review: The Sickening – Sickness Unfold

Norwegian 4-piece brutal death band The Sickening is coming at us with a sick 10 track album called Sickness Unfold. The Sickening features former Blood Red Throne drummer Espen Antonsen. Sickness Unfold delightfully mixes modern brutal death and classic death metal to create hideously beautiful metal. Check out The Sickening’s Facebook and Bandcamp!

There is not a moment on this entire album where The Sickening let up or let you breathe easy. From start to finish is a constant audio assault and it’s wonderful. The gutturals are deep, the guitars are low, the double bass is permanent, the bass is gnarly, and the riffs are dirty. The songs are brief and action packed: two of my favorite traits in music. You’ll find a bunch of sick riffs and moments where you can’t do anything but admire what you’re hearing. Oh and how could I forget the occasional pig squeal?

Every track is fast and assaulting, but let’s talk about each one individually, except the last track as it is a cover of a Vile song. “Sickness Unfold” starts the album on a nice note. There are two main riffs that alternate between verses, which is marked by vocals with a slightly different tone. Speaking of tone: the guitar tone is amazing on Sickness Unfold. It isn’t too distorted, cheap sounding, or anything that can kill some death metal songs. This is the kind of tone more bands should go for, or at least do what The Sickening do to keep tonal clarity and not have it mushed up in the production. The ending has a sick chugged riff with bass coming in for accents and additional heaviness.

The songs are fairly simple, but aren’t repetitive. “Fixed on Killing” features some pig squeals, quick basswork and drum fills, and really nice transitions between riffs/sections. There’s one part that sounds like some poor sucker is headed down a stairway to a torture chamber. “Fixed on Killing” ends with the same way it began except the bass is more prominent in the end. That really gives your stomach a nice churn.

“Unnamed Horror” has a slammy riff and stylish drumming. The way this song flows is great because it goes from slam, to brutal death, to something kind of melodic, to some really high pitched vibratos, and back to the first riff. The bass seems to be loud at just the right moments to thicken up the guitar and drums. The parts with this one chugged riff sound devious and scheming; keep an eye out for that.

“Throat Hole Ejaculation” starts off sounding like a serial killer’s theme song, so that’s cool. The lyrics are relevant enough for that so it works out too. My favorite part of this song is when everything stops for a second then the bass comes in to bring it all back. It’s ominous and it builds anticipation for that quick second, and boy does it have an impact. The vocals are filled with ill will and uncanny desires.

“Lord of Decay” is track 5 marking the half way point of Sickness Unfold. The drumming on this track makes exceptional use of one really loud and brash cymbal as accents and I love it. There is more synchronization between the whole band on “Lord of Decay” than on the other tracks.

The fast snare hits on “A Mind Deranged” cut sharply through the mix in the best fashion, just like the pig squeals do. The guitar tone sounds a bit thicker on this song for some reason, but it doesn’t impact the sound that much. At least not in a negative way. The riffs on this song don’t sound as fast as most of the rest, but the drumming and vocal variations make up for that.

“Powertool Sodomy” takes things back up a notch in all aspects: the riffs are faster, the drumming is faster and the bass is faster. If you like speed then this is your song. The vocals alternate between gutturals, pig squeals, and higher growls at appropriate times. “Powertool Sodomy” is brutal death metal incarnate.

You get more of a headbang sound on “Suffer for my Pleasure” from the drumming. I like the use of different strings on the guitar at some points for the variation in sound. Just as other songs do, the end goes back to the riff from the beginning after going through several other grooves and riffs.

The overall sound on “Consumed by Hate” is thicker than the rest of the album for some reason, but hey I’m not complaining. No matter what tonal changes occur, it is still clear and doesn’t get garbled up with anything else. “Consumed by Hate” is another headbanger and still very heavy. The bass attacks more and there are more triplets on this song, at least that I noticed. I like triplets, they are tasty. Get down to the sick riffs on this song or leave.

To wrap up this review: Sickness Unfold is a wonderful album. I already mentioned this but the guitar tone is amazing, the production is top notch, and the instrumentation is great too. Sickness Unfold is heavy through and through and does not disappoint at any given time. I highly recommend this to fans of Gorgasm and Severe Torture.

Rate: 9.4/10

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