Sickseed – Goregeous Review

The downside of being one of the longer-standing writers is a failure to adapt to our new1 system of promo selection. If you don’t claim promo on the day it becomes available 1 month in advance of release, you’re left with nothing but the dreck and the chaff. For what I can only assume is its “horror metal” tag, and the fact that there’s never been a good “horror metal” release, Sickseed’s Goregeous was one of a great many2 promo left in the pool for my selection. I won’t pretend there was any design or deliberation in my choosing it; it was a symptom of necessity and my own tardiness. So I was stuck evaluating a self-released album that no one else wanted with a dad-jokey title. But each promo starts its life in the same way: as a small package of audio files hoping for an open mind. It was with this thought that I hit play.

Sickseed’s Bandcamp summary provides that the group has experimented with most sounds within metal since early 2000s and I can believe it. You’ll hear influences from a number of subgenres on Goregeous, but those heard most frequently include deathcore and black metal. “Facehugged” is an irregular example of the latter of these controlling the former, but the songs are more typically the other way around. They prioritize the chugs, grooves and hyper-modern production of deathcore, but occasionally break into thinner, blacker moments. It’s unfortunately and instantly evident from the opener called “Redrum” that these 2 styles are not satisfactorily enmeshed. Its blackened death introduction quickly transitions into a slamming groove which quickly transitions back to the introduction which quickly transitions into a differing slamming groove. Each of these passages feels disconnected from the one before, including the first which bluntly begins without any semblance of build-up.

There are just a couple of deviations from the deathcore/black metal norm. “Book of the Dead” features some unexpected but not unwelcome symphonic touches around its chorus, while “Personal Hell” offers a brief breakdown with clean vocals. However, these fleeting moments stand out for sounding a little different, rather than their quality. The faux choir sounds cheap while the clean vocals are shaky. All they do is prove the rule that most of these songs are completely indistinguishable from one another. I tested commencing listening from various random points throughout Goregeous and was unable to correctly identify the songs I was listening to despite several concerted listens.

“Redrum” is the first marker that the songwriting here is haphazard at best, aggravating at worst. Passages chop and change far too frequently, inhibiting identification and engagement with particular leads or melodies, and the over-arching song structures do little to help this. There are choruses on a few tracks but only that on “Book of the Dead” is remotely notable. However, most tracks just meander through 3- to 5-minute run-times, switching up riffs every 15 seconds. “Cursed By She” makes the mistake of featuring a vaguely impressive transition but the lead following the apex of the change is so short that it’s impossible to enjoy. And the clean breakdown on “Personal Hell” offers a welcome reprieve before what I thought would be its climactic concluding passage – but it then includes an additional minute of fluff after this.

Despite its frequent change, Goregeous is a relentless, flat, loud battery of noise. The ephemeral fragments of enjoyment do not overcome an overwhelming majority which I strongly dislike. I wasn’t just depressed, but also angry listening to it. Sessions of more than 10 minutes were impossible to stomach and I required breaks – not to regain focus, but to give myself a rest from aggravation. I absolutely cannot recommend Sickseed or their gorerendous record.

Rating: 0.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps MP3
Label: Self-released
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 10th, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Several-years-old.
  2. Four.
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