For the past decade, there have been whispers of a Nu Metal resurgence. Sure, some of Rock and Metal’s most recent additions have obvious influences—with KoЯn as the godfathers of that particular black parade—but few have chosen to fully align themselves with the genre. However, a brand new band based out of Chicago, Illinois, and Montreal, Canada is more than happy to carry the flag, provided they can do so with a heaping of groove. Poised to become the kings (and queen!) of the newest wave of Nu Metal, Sicksense is scheduled to make its self-released debut with the Kings Today EP on Friday, April 22, 2022.
You might call them a supergroup, though that billing often carries its weight in ego. Devoid of this, but no less noteworthy, the members of Sicksense—Vocalist/Keyboardist Killer V, Vocalist Rob the Ripper, Guitarist Breakdown Bran (Bran Panic), Bassist Spot-On Sam/SOS (Samuel Bedard), and Drummer The Trve Cody Taylor (Cody Taylor, obviously)—might be familiar to fans of heavy music. In fact, these professionals rock ‘day jobs’ in bands such as The Agonist (that’d be “Killer” Vicky Psarakis) and Stuck Mojo (Robby J. Fonts the Ripper).
A wife and husband team, Psarakis and Fonts understand all too well what it takes to nibble at the fruits of success. But this is a passion project, one meant to allow the pair to pay homage to a genre that has always been close to their hearts. Setting out to compose music based around the interplay of dueling male and female vocals, while bringing some friends on board for the ride, the newly crowned Sicksense delivers an EP that holds nothing back. So, unlike other artists that might opt to make safe debuts that say nothing, focusing on commercial appeal over depth, this band rises above with a five-song collection, mixed and mastered by Cryptopsy’s Christian Donaldson (Shadow of Intent, The Agonist), that is composed of explosive tracks that confront social and societal issues in today’s world.
Such is the case with the EP’s first and namesake track, “Kings Today.” Detonating into a deliciously thick groove led by Panic’s guitar work, the song draws heavily on 1990’s Nu Metal influences, serving as a perfect introduction to Sicksense. With Psarakis urging listeners to rise above the division, Fonts punctuating this point through his rhymes, and their bandmates’ whirligig groove, they combine forces to craft an undeniable reminder that we can move beyond hate if we can simply learn to work together. We are not all so different from one another, after all.
But a strong start means nothing if you can’t provide deliver further evidence for your cause. Sicksense does not let us down with their recent single, “Forgotten Days,” offering incendiary guitars and rhythms that make for an undeniable high. The bass-slapping “Make Believe” goes thick on the rhymes in its verses, paving the way for soaring choruses, while full-throttle rocker “Soul Snatcher” lays on the groove. Fonts’ high energy attack contrasts beautifully with Psarakis’ more languid and sultry approach on the EP’s final track, “Heart of Stone,” which hits with all the rib-crushing might of a Wall of Death.
As the last notes of Kings Today fade into the ether, there’s a ferocious longing that lingers thanks to this band that is at all times melodic yet pissed off, pummeling yet catchy. Clearly, Sicksense has devised a formula that works, with Nu Metal providing a foundation for a sound that is wholly unique, never a mere carbon copy for any of its forebears. Add in thought-provoking lyrics and the powerful pipes of Psarakis, and it’s hard to deny what’s right in front of your ears: a band to watch for. Eager for their full-length debut, Cryptic Rock gives Sicksense’s debut EP 4.5 of 5 stars.