Red Death – Sickness Divine (Album Review)

Ready to make a name, the Washington D.C. Metal quartet known as Red Death are pumped for the release of their new album, Sickness Divine, arriving on Black Friday, November 29, 2019 via Century Media Records.

With a name like Red Death, one should expect nothing less than insane and powerful Metal compositions sure to take out ear drums and speakers all in one shot. Humble beginnings, Red Death came up from a Washington D.C. basement back in 2013 contriving a sound mashing up 1980s Thrash Metal and the vocals of Hardcore Metal.

A love for the best, Red Death’s biggest influences came from none other than Metallica’s Master Of Puppets from 1986 and Corrosion Of Conformity’s Animosity from 1985. Lending a hand in reviving their hometown’s hardcore scene, Red Death gained underground popularity with the release of their debut album, 2015’s Permanent Exile. Playing hot out of the gate, the underground success of their debut LP earned Red Death gigs touring with heavy-hitters Power Trip and Obituary.

Keeping at it, Red Death released their sophomore album, Formidable Darkness, in 2017 while gaining traction worldwide as conquers of the stage. Wasting no time, Red Death’s core line up of Chad Troncale (Vocals/Bass), Ace Mendoza (Guitar), Will Wagstaff (Guitar), and Connor Donegan (Drums) set their sights on the recording of Sickness Divine. Enlisting Producer Arthur Rizk (Code Orange, Power Trip), Red Death spent the summer of 2019 laying the foundation for ten tracks which would soon embody Sickness Divine. 

Commenting on what Sickness Divine means to them, Red Death had this to say: “This is the record we all wanted to collectively make and we feel good about what we did. Whatever aspects we liked from our past material have been fine tuned and amplified. Any new ideas we wanted to bring to the table fit perfectly and now has opened the door for future material. We wanted to create something unique for our time. A crossover record but one that fully establishes RED DEATH as just RED DEATH and nothing more. A fine balance between what we’ve done and what we needed to do.” 

Getting down to business, Sickness Divine begins via the namesake track, “Sickness Divine.” Like many Metal predecessors, this track begins with a misty acoustic guitar melody prior to kicking off into something menacing following one last tempered guitar chord. A fine start, this opening number does not disappoint thanks to a highly Thrash mannered hook, a blistering solo, and one big rattling bridge. Next up, “Face The Pain” tears along as the first single off Sickness Divine before a heavy and powerful slice of music from “Sword Without A Sheath.” Clank clank, the guitar interlude entitled “The Anvil’s Ring” is a mild mannered yet effective way to get to the next little tune. Having said that, “Sheep May Unsafely Graze” presents a supercharging, explosive pace, fast drums, and heated guitar chords.

Channeling the mighty Slayer, “Path Of Discipline” bestows one of those grooves where the road is long but the astute metalhead knows this is heading somewhere good. Here, the path leads to a more than slightly faster atmosphere and a muddy walk to the driving guitar solo. A cut fitting for the lover of Hardcore vocals, “(Refuse To Be) Bounds By Chains” sounds exactly how you would expect, a slow open followed by a beastly concoction of fast Metal. Getting sicker, the interlude “Dreadful Perception” makes way for the monster crusher “Ravage” and the final bell toll “Exhalation Of Decay.”

Though Sickness Divine clocks in at mere thirty-two minutes and twenty-four seconds, Red Death have done a great job creating a short yet powerful dose of heavy artillery Hardcore/Thrash Metal. Vocally, Sickness Divine offers all the brutality fans of Hardcore could ask for while the guitars, bass, and drums provide all of the tools needed for quality Thrash Metal without sounding dated. Overall, Red Death’s Sickness Divine gifts their fans another killer collection of tunes and offers Metal fans unfamiliar with Red Death a ripe chance to get into a new band. For these reasons, Cryptic Rock gives Sickness Divine 4 out of 5 stars.

Purchase Sickness Divine:

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