As you could guess, a band with the word ‘sick’ in both their name and their album title is gonna be pretty heavy. Norwegian brutalists The Sickening count amongst their number the drummer from Blood Red Throne, so you can guess the pedigree is going to be pretty high. But can The Sickening continue what is becoming a death metal century for Norway?
In short, yes. ‘Sickness Unfold’ is half an hour of raging death metal, summoning the spirits of Suffocation, Aborted and other old school riff masters. The sheer ferocity is terrifying, with relentless blastbeats battering you into submission. The production seems a little thin, but it doesn’t prevent the outrageous technicality of some of the riffing to shine through. Tracks like the machine gun heaviness of ‘Fixed on Killing’ or the pinch harmonic laden ‘Unnamed Horror’ conjure new levels of technical carnage.
The Sickening tread a strange path. This is brutal death metal to be sure, but it is lacking the thickness of production, which lays the incredible fretwork bare for all to appreciate. Vocally, it is pretty standard death growl fare, but the thinner sound makes them stand out. The music is so clear, you can notice little nuances and the level of musicianship just becomes more apparent. Not to say this isn’t ferociously heavy, it just is in a different way.
‘Sickness Unfold’ slices into you with surgical precision. Tracks like ‘A Mind Deranged’ and my personal favourite ‘Power Tool Sodomy’, which has this savage Hate Eternal vibe, showcase The Sickening’s song writing ability, and ‘Sickness Unfold’ develops into an album that brings back good memories of when technical/brutal death wasn’t just pig squeals and breakdowns. Get on this!