Sickening Horror
The Dead End Experiment

And so as 2010 winds down there’s still a few late arrivals from 2009 in my mailbox, but only a few are worth mentioning. At the top of the list is Sickening Horror’s follow-up to one of 2007’s very best death metal CDs: When Landscapes Bled Backwards. While these Greeks have a tall order to follow, The Dead End Experiment is one of those records that would have been on my 2009 year end list had SFC Records sent it, ya know, the year it was released?

Regardless, The Dead End Experiment is a mind blowing record that continues the death metal mind fuckery of their debut; complex, technical death metal reminiscent of Disincarnate, with a heavy, twangy dash of Obscura-era Gorguts, techy Pestilence and plenty of experimentation. And while Jose Theodorakis replaces Nile’s George Kollias on drums, the core duo of guitarist George Antipatis and bassist Ilias Daras remains as brilliant as the debut in the song writing and skill department. The only real step back from Landscapes is a slightly cleaner, more ‘clicky’ production, but replacing Neil Kernon and Alan Douches is a tall order, and it shows even with the band self-producing competently.

From the pounding industrial opening of “Dusk” and its quick jazzy funky breaks, its clear Sickening Horror aren’t adhering to typical technical death metal standards; techno drums fills, synths, chants, and proggy/electronica injections fill the brilliantly played backwards, dizzying riffage and blasting. It’s never too much or overdone, but all fits coherently in the already chaotically structured death metal. Despite the maelstrom going on, stunning tracks like “24 Januaries”, “The Dead End Experiment”, “Mirrors Reflecting Only Dead Bodies”, “Lay Rotten, Never Forgotten” and “Dressed in Madness” stagger, lurch, tumble and twist with lithe, compact brutality (none of the songs are over 4’50) and precision that’s on par with anything you’ll hear this year ― i.e Decrepit Birth. If you need further credibility, Immolations’s Ross Dolan makes an appearance on “The Universe Within”. Blink and you’ll miss it ― it does little to spice up a monotone vocal delivery of Antipatis. Then again, when the music is this mind blowing the vocals are secondary.

Amid the mediocre label mates, like Outcast, Murder Intentions and Prejudice, Sickening Horror deserves a lot more push from SFC Records, even if the band isn’t as bat shit insane as label compatriot Scrambled Defuncts. What it is, though, is one of technical death metal’s very best acts and should be far more predominant in the press and media. Worldwide.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
September 29th, 2010

Comments

  1. Commented by: Staylow

    This is a damn good album. I caught it at the tail end of last year and recently was finally able to get my physical copy. Great, spot on review Erik.


  2. Commented by: Desperado

    Good review man. It was defintely on my top 10 last year, and a pleasant suprise. I used to play Uncharted 2( still do hehe), Red Faction: Guerilla and Dirt 2 to this and a ton of others. I know its a technical album but I never really thought of it as such, more of an atmospheric affair to be honest. Mirrors Reflect Only Dead Bodies is my favorite on this one but they’re all good. I enjoy the grimmy feel to the album as a whole, its like despite the experimentation the whole thing manages to remain cohesive which is quite the feat considering the challenges.


  3. Commented by: ShaolinLambKiller

    Fantastic album. I was so glad to see a follow up to Landscapes and i don’t even miss Kollias from the band at all.


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