A Sickness Unto Death - _Despair_
(TWS - Source of Deluge, 2013)
by: Chaim Drishner (7.5 out of 10)
German duo A Sickness Unto Death have broken the surface of anonymity with this 48-minutes long, gentle and thoughtful doom release named _Despair_, blending hard and heavy guitar lines with velvety, idiosyncratic vocals of silken melancholy, branding the recording with a singular signature, thus creating a unique experience in which the extremity of the instruments clashes upon the safe havens of the gorgeous human vocal breakwater.

_Despair_ is a different kind of doom metal album, in that its very restrained metal factor is restricted only to the realm of the distorted guitar and the basic (very basic) song structures bearing the classic guitar-bass-drums combo, while the doom ingredient in its shadowy, sad and negative emotional context is held by the vocalist, whose voice is pretty much removed from everything doom or everything metal altogether. Think of the general sound of The Prophecy, and how they exercise they doom-laden music mostly by writing melancholic ballads (and ditch their growling moments for a second) and you can observe how A Sickness Unto Death approach their music; in that regard, the latter are better than The Prophecy, simply because their vocalist (the phenomenal Tim Ziegeler) is better in providing the essentially needed melancholy with his vocal tone; The Prophecy's clear singing, on the other hand, never clicked with me, and as such, I always preferred The Prophecy's growling moments.

There are moments on _Despair_ that bring to mind Nevermore's sound, where extremely robust, raucous guitars create a wall of distortion tempered by fleshy bass lines, creating a backdrop for completely alien, high-pitched vocals that appear out of nowhere and give the music an extra boost with their expressive and emotional powers, making the music sound so different, yet so good.

Anyone that digs fine music, from the emotional rock of Katatonia, to the metallic poetry of Nevermore, and would like to hear something different from the plethora of doom releases out there, _Despair_ would be something you must check out. A no-frills beauty of an album, containing some phenomenal vocals and metallic ballads full of grace, power and finesse.

The album itself has been packed in a beautiful black and white digipak and contains a 24-page booklet created in the most artistic and thoughtful manner; _Despair_, as a whole, is a fine musical product that shouldn't be taken for granted, crafted by loving hands and delivered with the utmost passion, hence highly recommended.

Contact: http://www.asicknessuntodeath.de/

(article published 8/6/2013)

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