Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, punk/, -core, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen we fall victim to Finland’s Sickness.
From somewhere deep in the Finnish underground comes Sickness, a grinding, blackened death metal trio with insane vocals that sound like King Diamond howling incantations from his lunar stronghold. Which metaphor makes both more and less sense when you actually hear them. According to vocalist and bassist, O.K., he and drummer J.K. “already had some of the songs on the [Sickness] demo ready some years ago under the name of Satanus.” Then, at some point, guitarist/vocalist K joined their other band, Iron Gauntlet, which, according to O.K. “is more in the vein of early thrash, Japanese Sabbat etc., so it was natural to take K with us to Sickness.”
Sickness’ demo, Deus Maledictus Est (roughly: God is Cursed),—which phrase was pulled from the Satanic Mass, but, according to O.K., is also “a reference for all the maniacs of early Finnish black metal”—rips and tears through twelve tracks in just under thirteen and a half minutes. But for all its grind tendencies, including, but not limited to, those bottomed-out, pitch-shifted growls lurking in the lower frequencies a la early Carcass, Sickness come off as far too evil to be considered a grind band.
K explains that the brevity of Sickness’ songs came out quite naturally: “Once we started putting pieces together while rehearsing we found out it was a natural way of splitting the riff composing into three parts, which means that we all make riffs and tracks that echo from our collective influences. Mainly Vomitor, early Impaled Nazarene, Beherit, Repulsion, and, of course the main source, which is SATANIC DARKNESS. It wasn’t ‘thought out’ at first, it just started happening and we listened to our rehearsals afterwards and fed that sound and motive. All that eventually morphed into existence through our demo.”
Deus Maledictus Est was recorded “drunk” and “with a sixteen track recorder” by Sickness and an unnamed “sound guy” at their rehearsal space. “We were supposed to record and listen to the overall sound after putting the mics in place and such,” says K, “but our sound guy turned to us after the first test take and looked at us in dismay and said that everything sounded perfect. So it all went way easier than we thought at first.”
Sickness slay lethal and merciless riffs, but are quick to change it up to the next one, like an ADHD-afflicted sadist whose attention keeps jumping to their other cruel implements of torture. Fortunately Sickness seem to possess an endless array of aural weaponry, not to mention the automatic nail gun assault that is J.K.’s drumming, and their terrifying vocals.
Deus Maledictus Est is a true demo, and is therefore only available only on cassette. And while Sickness say they wouldn’t necessarily prevent a label from reissuing their demo on a more universal format, they’ve no plans to do so themselves. Both O.K. and K agree: They’d rather work on new material. “My main focus is directed towards making new tracks (I hate to call them songs, since we’re not SINGING about shit, more like shouting like fucked up demons to release inner hate towards wimpier sounding bands).”
If you find yourself burning through these thirteen and a half minutes and still needing more, you’re in luck. Sickness are already hard at work on the next release. “We’re working on new songs, and with a faster schedule than before,” says O.K.
“More shows,” guitarist K agrees, “and day by day a bigger middle finger is being built to destroy bands like Batushka and such who look like they play on top of a fucking wedding cake, and they deliriously think they hold a ‘dark ritual’ while playing their crappy 7-string guitar crap ceremonies. Never forgive softness in black metal. Easily approachable means easily crushed.”
Check this space next Friday for another killer demo!