A Sickness Unto Death - The Great Escape

10 songs
62:27 minutes
***** ***
Source Of Deluge


About two and a half years ago I first came across German doom band A Sickness Unto Death, a duo which back then released their debut album Despair. There were good moments but it was obvious that they were not a real band. Especially the programmed drums were a weak point. In the meantime the duo became a quintet, and all the instruments have been recorded by flesh and blood people. Another improvement is the cover artwork, which like last time contains birds, but has been done more professionally this time.

The album begins with the opener and title track, a rather upbeat piece of music that has only marginal parallels to the doom metal genre. The full band setup makes instantly for a better sound, and the excellent instrumentation pleases right from the beginning. The same goes for Lost, which also is more hard rock than doom. This isnít a drawback though, as it adds some spice and shows that the band is open for other musical influences. Intoxicated is quieter and more emotional and finally offers what one generally expects from doom metal. A Sickness Unto Death are mostly inspired by the big bands of the late Eighties and early Nineties, like Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, which are definitely not the worst places to look up to. The band manages to be powerful and emotional at the same time, allowing the songs to sound lively despite the slow pace. Highlights include the melancholic A Uniqueness Of Two which delivers first class doom, and the stirring Judgement which is full of tension. The ten minute long The Concrete Lake is maybe a little too long as the band doesnít manage to maintain interest over the songís length. Another point of criticism are the vocals that are mostly clear and well done, but at times a little stretched. The growls that are used sparingly work better for me. Also there are occasional spoken word samples, something rather fashionable these days, even though I could well live without them.

The thirty months between albums did wonders for the Northern German doomsters. The band has matured considerably, and even if The Great Escape may not be on par with their idols, it will leave a lasting impression. Fans on the genre should give this hopeful band a chance.

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