Vicious Art
Pick Up This Sick Child

You’d think that a lineup of Swedish death and black metal veterans like Jocke Widfeldt (Dominion Caligula, ex-Obscurity), Matti Mäkelä (ex-Dark Funeral, Dominion Caligula, ex-Obscurity) ,Tobbe Sillman (Guidance of Sin, The Dead ), Robert Lundin (ex-Dark Funeral, Dominion Caligula, ex-Obscurity) and especially Jörgen Sandström (ex-Grave, ex-Corpse, The Project Hate, Krux, ex-Entombed, Death Breath, Putrefaction, Torture Division) would deliver a jaw dropping death metal album. Then why is it that Vicious Art is such a ‘meh’ band and their second album, is such a ‘meh’ effort?

Plying a more typically Danish sound (think a mix of Hatesphere, Konhkra and Thorium) than their Swedish black and Death metal roots would have you believe, Vicious Art is one of those death metal/thrash hybrids that rumble and groove with deftly produced precision and throw in the occasional blast beat and more extreme vocals for good deathly measure. However, despite being a high energy, polished and tight affair, Vicious Art is still a purely middle of the pack band that don’t do their line-up justice.

Even with a high profile player like Sandström (bass, backing vocals) in the mix, Pick Up This Sick Child is a by the numbers affair that’s surprisingly bereft of brilliant or memorable moments despite its tangible energy and polish. Only “Our Family Flesh” has any noticeable reference to anything like Entombed, and there’s nothing on the album that comes remotely close to the intensity of Dark Funeral. I know this is a differently styled entity, but you’d expect some of the members to carry at least some of their previous experience over to Vicious Art and dominate the sound instead of simply going through the motions and allowing the ex- Dominion Caligula and Obscurity members drive the sound into mediocrity, as they did with their former bands.

At 45 minutes too, the samey nature and just barely memorable riffs, start to enforce why Dominion Caligula and Obscurity never amounted to much, and that Sandström is merely a piecemeal name presence rather than a key writer. Granted, everything is rendered perfectly and there’s a palpable energy to the riffs (“Chewing Gunpowder”, “Evicting Dead Tenents”, “Dancing Munchausen”), but when the only thing you remember or feel about an album is its energy-there’s something wrong.

This album reminds me a lot of the 2007’s This Ending album (members of Amon Amarth, A Canorous Quintet, Sins of Omission, Guidance of Sin), where members of respectable outfits delivered something rather forgetful and lacking chemistry. Shame, as Vicious Circle have the chops and desire, but right now I see why they are on Mighty Music rather than one of the bigger international labels, as A) the sound is far more like the standard Danish Fare, and B) they are just not that great.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
March 10th, 2008

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