Sorrow
Death of Sorrow

I am unsure if the death metal world was clamoring for a reformation and subsequent new album from defunct NY death/doom metal act, Sorrow, who broke up in 1993 but here are some historical references about my connection to the band, or their other projects;  The band started in the late 80’s under the name Cyanic Death and then changed their name to Apparition.  I would see the band on Long Island, NY opening for some of the national acts and struck up a friendship with drummer Mike Hymson and I bought and still have the Human Fear 1989 demo, from him, at one of those way back when shows.  The band playing a doomy sort of death metal and I happened to be at another Long Island show when guitarist Brett Clarin, said between songs, nonchalantly: Oh by the way, we changed our name, we are now called Sorrow”.  It was actually funny and I can’t remember if it was that show or another where Brett had half of his beard shaved (to make a statement about something)-the dude is a character and a super cool guy and he owned a record store, on the Island  – None of the Above Records, where you could find all the latest metal releases.

Under the Sorrow name, they released the Forgotten Sunrise EPin 1991 and the Hatred and Disgust debut album a year later.  It was a tough run for Sorrow with being on the Roadrunner label as the band did not really do any touring and Roadrunner really supported more of the brutal death metal bands, such as Suffocation, Deicide, etc.. at the time.  I was pissed – those Sorrow releases are near and dear to me and really one can say they were one of the purveyors of the doom death metal scene.  When the band splintered Mike went on to be the drummer in a band called Dystopia One, kind of like an experimental carnival type of underground band with synths etc and I had already been in Internal Bleeding for several years.

You can imagine the fanboy in me when Mike would come and see me with IB, live… Much to my surprise I was asked by Mike to lay some brutal gutturals down on Dystopia One’s second album Attempted Moustache and I am on the songs:  “Skinheads Don’t get Hathead” and “Big D”.  Then decades later I am reviewing Brett’s atmospheric black metal band, Journey into Darkness and a couple of those releases on this very site, and I have been in touch with Brett on multiple occasions….blah, blah.

Death of Sorrow is 8 songs in 46 minutes with Andy Marchione returning to vocals/bass and Billy “I’m not related to Joe” Rogan also returning to guitars and Mike and Brett still at it.  I love the album cover as there are homages to early Sorrow with the demon-melting corpse from the Hatred and Disgust album making an appearance and the Roman numerals III to signify this is the third Sorrow release, very clever.  They also cover a song from the Apparition demo, Human Fear, “Hidden Fear”.

“Doom the World” starts things off with a nice opening beat and the song has a cool jumpiness to it and the signature Sorrow guitar tone is ever present.  I was not expecting that, I was expecting something different, therefore to hear this and Mike’s drumming, I remember all too well is melting this bastid’s dark heart.  Andy does not sound like he missed a beat with his vocal delivery.  Honestly, he sounds like he did in 1992 and he lets loose on some killer 90’s era death metal growls – pure excellence.  There’s a bunch of guitar solos towards the end and the song stays at a mid-paced speed until “Judicial Falsity” comes in next and the mid-paced moments are there and the song picks up speed as well.  The slower doom death dirge at the 3.40 section starts rearing its ugly head and I enjoy the guitar harmonies, but at the 4.13 part there is a little growl and the bludgeoning heaviness erupts into a groove and this would actually be a great headbanging and circle pit moment.  This part is terrific and one of the best moments the band has ever written, especially when Andy’s vox comes in.

“Required Irrationality” has some squealing guitars and cool solos and more doom death dirge with some atmospherics, making this a really good song.  The covering of their early material with “Hidden Fear”, is like a new song as it’s about double the time as the original, making this song over 9 minutes and the original song was 5 minutes and some change.  This new and improved version is one of the best songs Sorrow has written.

The production on “Death of Sorrow” actually retains the organic nature of the band and really sounds like it could have been released right after Hatred and Disgust.  All the instruments are mixed in quite nicely and…well….fuck, welcome back to the scene Sorrow, Death of Sorrow, is sooooooo damn good!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
August 7th, 2023

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