The Sickening
Sickness Unfold
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Festering, Norwegian rot is the slophouse gruel served from four-piece skullfuckers The Sickening.  The overall attack is a slaughterhouse explosion with cattle guts, pig snouts and delectable innards flying in every direction.  Catchy, thrash metal viruses escape from the contamination ward while sloppy, sluggard death metal chug is laid to fecal waste thanks to guttural gore vocals and maddening, grindcore snare blasts.  That’s pretty much the title track opener in a nutshell and things don’t change much from there.  Fans of early Cattle Decapitation, Gorerotted, Deicide, Obituary, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse and Fleshcrawl should have a pretty good time here.

“Fixed on Killing” pairs a rampaging, Slayer-tinged light speed thrash riff with a barrage of bowel opening blast beats while vocalist Avsky psychotically splits his vocals at the torso between lung-scraping screams and vomiting pig trough puke.  Drummer Beist frenzies through the double-bass and blasts so quickly that you’d swear the percussion was programmed while Neeraj’s bass lines are deliciously audible throughout.  Another asset to the band’s vile, audio violence is their Floridian slowdowns where a groove is established in the fine tradition of genre grandmasters Obituary.  It’s these unusual fetid switch tactics that make The Sickening more than just another faceless blast-fest.

The churning, staccato thrash riffs that intro “Unnamed Horror” excavate some chugging, galloping runs that are hard to avoid head-banging to unless you’re in a mental ward lockdown complete with a straightjacket suit and tie.  The Sickening’s sheer variety of riffing works because guitarist Markspist never lingers in one mode for long as this tune clamps down tight on some sludgy doom grooves, schizophrenic Sepulturian thrash (think Beneath the Remains) and a Gatlin gun spray of corrosive blast beats that often open up into more direct time keeping that highlights the lurching, loping death/thrash riff-groove shakedowns.  Perhaps the most adorably titled track on the album, “Throat Hole Ejaculation” is a slab of venomous death metal damnation with big bulges of double-bass giving way to light-speed gravity blasts where the vocals spew holy water vomit across every inch of the madness.  Thick grooves often whip into a frenzied series of more melodic lead notes but the majority of this stuff is uglier than your aunt’s corpse drug out from the depths of a raging house fire.

Shaper, noisier chords lend a blackened ear rape to the gut-ache throb of “Lord of Decay’s” murderously fast, riff-fat.  It’s like these guys went on a rampage in the nearest barnyard and swallowed all of the farm animals whole.  Descending doom chords trigger acidic vocal trade-offs between bellowing growls and sneering permafrost shrieks while the tempos only bother to slow down in a few key moments.  Some of the swampy, mud-stink deviance of Goatwhore feels like it’s coming through the fog here and there but keep in mind that The Sickening are pound for pound an altogether filthier proposition than the NOLA greats.  Infectious, Slayer-minded thrash riffs are run through a woodchipper of bone-splitting death/grind mutilation during “A Mind Deranged,” a song that ends up as anthemic as it is completely unapproachable for those with a more genteel mindset.

The plundering salvo of “Powertool Sodomy” and “Suffer for my Pleasure” daringly balance gnarled, tree twisting mid-tempo sludge runs with mass murder death metal, leaving the album to wind down with the shrieking banshee speeds of “Consumed by Hate” and “Abort (the Fetus).”  “Abort (the Fetus)” is a Vile cover from the underrated Stench of the Deceased classic done to perfection.  I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing the original article perform it live, so these guys sure don’t skimp on the meat of the song.  The Sickening does it justice and then some, losing none of the original’s internal organ removal tactics.

Sickness Unfold is a top-tier death metal album in my book with frequently engaging songwriting, killer riffing, and malevolent vokill trade-offs topped off by superb rhythm playing.  The only complaint I could see being levied against the record is the drum production, but I find the crispy snares and overall taut to the point of breaking drum tuning a rather refreshing flavor amongst a sea of ultra-tech death metal bands who favor the clinical over the bloody raw and in your face style of slamming.  The Sickening means business…check these crazy motherfuckers out!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
February 25th, 2016

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