Do you know why Inhuman Condition‘s record Rat°God never got any undying Death Metal love over here in 2021? It’s because we all heard it before a gazillion times. And that even if this band’s debut album often sounded like lots of unbridled fun. But it also often eerily felt like a crazed version of one of Rogga Johannson‘s many outfits. And that’s – come to think of it – right on target. Rogga here is part of Massacre, same as one Terry Butler was until lately. There you go, connection’s made. So, about a year back, the RMR review committee finally decided to send the record on an undefined number of endlessly meandering waiting loops. Until recently.
Now, like one of those infamous Jack-in-the-Box toys, the band decided to hit the market yet again with their sophomore album Fearsick in 2022. And that, barely one year after their debut. That’s two perils in one. First, the infamous 2nd record of a band is often prey to some overreach or mishap. So, careful songwriting and a pristine production will be of the first priority. And second, it’s that lack of time to let things mature a bit. Bands sometimes rush it and create nothing but mediocre soundbites that won’t excite any metal soul out there. And that made us feel a bit fearsick, too. Rushing down unknown stony pathways in the fearsome darkness? Brace yerselves!
Well, first off, Fearsick here feels like a straight continuation from Rat°God. Albeit, it’d qualify as a flat-sounding offshoot of what came before. Gone is all that meat on those metallic bones that was so much fun to hear on the former record. And in comes some painfully stripped-down version of ’80s Death Metal gore. Even if the band tried hard to drive up tension with some pseudo-horror vocals that made me remember any of them age-old zombie movies out there.
But make no mistake, your average Death Metal fan for sure won’t mind a relatively cagey mix of Six Feet Under and the aforementioned Massacre all in one. After all, it’s all there. Jeramie Kling‘s brutal rasp is precisely where it needs to be and his drumming emerges straight from Death Metal’s blast beat school. And Taylor Nordberg‘s often deliciously rough ‘n’ dirty riffs and juicy shreds should easily convince them cold-hearted sons of bitches over at the RMR review committee. And yet. For some reason, all of what we found sounds like a cursory hint at what could have been. A hastily concocted number of tracks that somehow lost a lot of their previous juicy power when rushing over the finishing line. Presumably, to get those records shipped to the fan crowd.
Now, as of Super Con, things look a bit more lively on Fearsick. Hellucid and Wound Collector – for instance – really delivered a few truly snazzy, stomping vibes. Brutality reinvented, with benefits, even if they strain a bit to break out of mid-tempo hell. But still, I continued to miss that need for speed, that urge to dive straight back into the ’80s Death Metal scene with a seriously sick twist.
In the end, Fearsick is neither here nor there and left our metal hearts strangely cold. My fears that the lack of maturation would have a negative effect also came true, unfortunately. This latest record feels as if the band met after the release of Rat°God with a mighty hangover. And that led to a record that often sounds flat, and – at times – even listless. Thus and before they shoot the next record into that terrible black void, it may be time to take a step back and reflect a little. Creativity takes time to get to a great record and artistic creation is a difficult, often frustrating business. After all, not everyone can be Rogga with artistic loins fertile like a dozen Angus bulls. And even this guy won’t get it right each time.