A Sickness Unto Death - Despair

9 songs
47:45 minutes
***** ***


A Sickness Unto Death is a German doom metal duo which was only founded in 2012 and has now already released its first album titled Despair. The band name has been inspired by the (near) identically named book by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard from the mid-19th century and which deals with topics like existentialism and despair.

The duo has subdivided their tasks quite clearly. Michael Maas is playing all the instruments, Tim Ziegeler writes the lyrics and is in charge of the vocals, but the songwriting is shared by both of them. At first I doubted that a duo would be able to come up with enough power to produce hard hitting doom metal music, but right with the first regular track Epic Fail, all my misgivings were gone. This is a rather brooding song with suspenseful riffs that immediately capture the listener’s attention. The following material is even more doom infused, and it’s easy to make out Candlemas and Solitude Aeternus as the band’s major influences. Parallels between the voices of Tim Ziegeler and Robert Lowe are undeniable. And just like the bands that shaped them, A Sickness Unto Death are able to write multi-layered songs. This counts first of all for the vocals that master the growls as well as the higher, clearer parts. The material’s structure doesn’t stand back and offer everything from downright fast and brutal moments to sections full of epic drama. Sometimes the duo uses spoken word samples, also to great effect, as on the title track which even adds some post rock elements not unlike From Monument To Masses. The only less successful track is the ballad Ruined where the exaggeratedly high vocals just don’t seem to harmonise with the music.

The band is working now to expand their sound, and they also consider adding more members in order to allow them to play live shows. Despair is for all intents and purposes a neat calling card that shows loud and clear that this band has a lot of promise. A Sickness Unto Death are among the underground bands that deserve to be kept under close scrutiny.

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