Delusions of the Sick

Back before the internet, we metalheads used to rely on a few different methods in hearing and procuring our aural fix. One of these was the blind purchase. Sometimes the payoff was immeasurably fantastic. Sometimes the gamble was nothing less than horrific. Most of the time though, the results tended to fall somewhere in that grey area in between. With today’s technology the blind purchase is a rare thing, yet every once in a while the opportunity pops up and delivers that coveted diamond in the rough. This was exactly the case with Delusions of the Sick, the debut full-length from Cleveland, Ohio’s Sarcoughagus.

I’m going to go ahead and state it right now, if you are not of fan of old-school American death metal, the kind of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s, (you know, one of the best kinds) then you probably can go ahead and move along from here. For the rest of us, Delusions of the Sick is definitely nothing that you haven’t encountered many times over with previous bands, originators and johnny come-lately’s alike, but the fact remains, good is good, and this debut is more than good, it’s downright genuine feeling. Mixing a heavy influence of the primordial origin ooze of Florida with the cavernous bludgeon of the Midwest, Sarcoughagus rip with a catchy old-school flow. The album is clear yet just dirty enough in the right ways to achieve that “evil” flair of releases like Scream Bloody Gore and Leprosy, yet mixed with an Incantation-like fortitude to it all.

From the brutal Floridian aplomb of opener “Force Fed”, and catchy grooves of  “Exsanguination” to the Massacre/Death vibes of brilliance in tracks like “Self -Induced Lobotomy”, “Primal Being” and “Fantasizing Sanity” (that Rozz/West influence on the solo intro in “Fantasizing Sanity” is old-school beauty), Delusions of the Sick proves it worth. With each of the album’s tracks standing toe to toe with one another, any could rightly be considered highlights, especially the likes of “Delusional Reality” and it’s old-school Schuldiner meets McEntee level of savagery. Doomy yet speedy, maniacal yet tastefully refined, pulling off a feeling of extremity circa 1989…I love it!

Okay, I am a self-admitted sucker for the sounds of this style of death metal, but this really is tasty stuff. Just listen to the album closer “Cannabalistic Search Party”, and tell me that this isn’t what death metal is all about. How can one deny the groove of influence found from the likes of Incantation, Autopsy, Death, Massacre, and even Mortician?…you can’t, plain and simple. Another thing I think Sarcoughagus got right with this album is the mix. The tones of everything are perfect, modern yet reeking of yesteryear. The solos sound so authentic, adding a lot of appeal to the songs and the clang of the bass is always audible but never overstepping. Audible but not overstepping brings me to the pop of the snare drum as well. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of an overly loud or popping snare. Sometimes it works well but other times it can be a bit distracting, Sarcoughagus work it well, adding appeal much like the lead guitar work does.

Delusions of the Sick was indeed a mighty fine payoff for a blind purchase and one hell of an overlooked gem of 2021. Kudos to both Sarcoughagus for the great debut and  Maggot Stomp Records for bringing this release to us, the metal masses. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised to see the band moving up to bigger things like the moves recently made by other Maggot Stomp artists i.e. Sanguisugabogg and Frozen Soul, but who knows…either way the future looks bright for Sarcoughagus as far as I’m concerned.

…on a side note, I wanted to say that I was almost surprised that the band wasn’t pulling a Cannabis Corpse shtick when I delved into Delusions of the Sick, especially with the chosen spelling of the band’s moniker and song titles such as the aforementioned “Force Fed”, “Self-Induced Lobotomy”, “Delusional Reality”, and Fantasizing Sanity”, then low and behold, I see that the band describes itself as “Stoner Death Metal”. Though the lyrics don’t really reflect this aspect, it’s definitely one that could be successful for them..No?…

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
January 14th, 2022


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