Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sickening Horror - When Landscapes Bled Backwards (2007)

Death metal is a somewhat tough genre to crack these days. At some point it appears to have turned into a big competition. Bands competing to be the most brutal, desperately creating 30 minute albums of inaudible riffing in A standard and ridiculous phased vocals. At the same time other bands are turning out mindbendingly technical death metal with such incomprehensible riffs and solos that they're nigh on impossible to recreate more than once without serious tendon damage. And then there's those that combine the two. Along the way sadly, they all appear to have lost the ability to write actual songs with atmosphere. Its enough to make you want to stab fanboys in the face with a copy of Scream Bloody Gore. Sickening Horror are another entry in this technical brutality competition. They're particularly fanboy faptastic given the involvement of human drum machine George Kollias.

With these sorts of albums its difficult not to view them as a random collection of riffs and bass licks assembled to a backing track of blast beats. When Landscapes Bled Backwards suffers slightly in this department given that there is generally little coherency and flow through the album due to the stop-start staccato riffing and relentless blasting. However, this is clearly a musicians album, and as expected the drumming is the dogs bollocks. We're treated to whirlwind display of breathtaking riffs and as is the staple for tech-death the bass tends to remain muddied in the mix but is given room to breath on occasion. Vocals on the whole are pretty dull, nothing more than a staple death growl.

Much like Behold... the Arctopus this is either a waste of time or a wondrous wankfest. Even if you love this I challenge you to remember a single riff by the end of it. Bands like Nile, Anata and even Necrophagist can blend technicality, brutality and still craft some memorable songs. Sickening Horror can't.

3/10 (if you value song writing)

9/10 (if you masterbate nightly to a picture of Karl Sanders and use a Necrophagist shirt as a wank rag)

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