Sick Sinus Syndrome – Swarming Of Sickness Review

Just think: While you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world, you could’ve been getting down to this “Sick Beat Arrhythmia.”

Release date: April 22, 2023. Label: Obscene Productions
Coming from nasty grindcore luminaries Malignant Tumour, Pathologist, and Ingrowing (among many notable others), these players gonna play, play, play you some pathological goregrind, and now two albums in, Sick Sinus Syndrome is only getting sicker. Like the rest of the sub-sub-style, Sick Sinus Syndrome’s particular sickness is heavily indebted to Carcass c. 1989, but that’s not to distract from the scalpel-sharp potency in any way. Slicing riff, gurgled vocal, thrashing bashing crashing slaughter…  It’s all here, and just as it was on 2021’s razor-edged Rotten To The Core, every single bit of it is killer.

The aforementioned “Sick Beat Arrhythmia” opens up this second effort, chock full of eminently catchy riffage, setting the course for the bloodspattered fun to come. It’s an epic introduction to the wonders of Swarming Of Sickness, one that leads straight into the blasting grossness of “Psycho Pathology Mania.” Unafraid to groove when the grooving is good, Sick Sinus Syndrome shows off that side shortly, in the swaggering chop of “Rapid Tissue Decay,” or in the supremely hooky intro section to “Appetite For Autopsy.” Still, those crossover-leaning bits of thrashy respite are merely breaks in the bloodflow, as a majority of Swarming Of Sickness resides in beautifully blastier places, from the galloping drive of the awesomely named “Rotten Radish Slash” to the churning conclusion of the equally wonderfully named “Torsion Of Testis.”

Courtesy of Malignant Tumour mainstay Bilos, the vocals range from toilet-burped gurgles to higher-pitched snarls; powerful and pounding, Jurgen’s drumming is relentless, a flurry of crashes and smashes; former Pathologist Hary lays down a gnarly, distorted low end with some killer bass tones. But really, even as much as each of those parts contributes to the greatness of the whole, Swarming Of Sickness’ true strength comes down to the band’s ability to stitch catchy hooks into the open wounds of nasty grinding. Between every beatdown blasting and every slice-and-dice razor-riff, there are undeniable earworms, as in “Feast On Decay” or any of the songs named above. This Sickness is simply a masterclass in balancing the gross and the grinding with massive meathooks that keep you coming back for more, all the way to the gleefully gory eponymous track that closes the album, briefly reprising the heartbeat that started it all. 

So yeah, if you couldn’t tell, I’m a bit smitten with this one. Building on the promise laid forth in Rotten To The Core and then last year’s split with the equally wonderfully nauseating Vomi Noir, Swarming Of Sickness is an improvement upon both, when neither really needed much improvement. Perhaps most importantly, it’s a record that has established itself as one of my most-played so far this year, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. 

Pure goregrind bliss, the kind that hits like a blunt instrument and cuts like a well-honed blade, leaving you beaten and bleeding and begging for more. Take the hit; feel the cut; become one with the sickness. Get up and do it again. Let it become you. Swallow the pain. Shake it off. 

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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