A Sickness Unto Death – “Despair”


a-sickness-unto-death-despair-c76972Doom and Death metal are not always the easiest thing to review, I think when it comes to doom its even harder at times, musically there are a lot of these bands that more than make it, but the grunts and growls of the vocalist are so much harder, unless the vocalist has a unique tone or style. There are a lot of doom and death bands to choose from out there, so it makes it that much harder for a band to stand out from a crowd. Even good bands can get lost in the crowd, going under appreciated, misunderstood and out of reach of the people. I’ll be honest, it took a lot of restraint not to push the skip button on the first listen, but I needed to give this a fair chance, for a fair review, so after a couple of listens this is my final synopsis.

A Sickness Unto Death is a doom metal project by Tim Ziegeler and Michael Maas and their album ‘Despair’, is a not a bad debut from these German melodic death doomsters. I don’t think its something that necessarily stands out from the crowd, but it is not that bad for foundational album of hopefully things to come. One wonders if they got their name from the book of the same name by Soren Kierkegaard, which is a book that is titled as A Christian Psychological Exposition For Upbuilding And Awakening. If I had to sit down and read the book in one hand, with the lyrics of the album in the other, would be interesting to see if there is anything taken from the book. I am almost sure there would be.

“A Sickness Unto Death formed in the beginning of 2012 as a collaboration between Michael Maas and Tim Ziegeler. Michael runs the small project studio “Refuge Studio” close to Bremen, Germany. During the last two years he has been writing doomy and gloomy songs reflecting some of the more despairing circumstances in his otherwise fulfilled and happy life. Tim also hails from the German north and has been involved in several musical projects such as the doomy Visions of Moribund and the brutal Hasszorn. Tim immediately connected to Michael’s material and began contributing his signature vocal lines and lyrics.” – facebook biography.

Its not easy always to put out an album, and guys often put a lot of time, effort and sacrifice and even cash in getting something which they themselves are proud enough to share with the masses, so I can appreciate all of that. The vocals on this release are not the strongest part, and bring the overall impact of the instrumental side of things down a bar, even more so on the clean parts. They do name Paradise Lost as a influence, so if that is one of the bands they have as a influence, in terms of sound and style, then they are on the right path. Paradise Lost is undoubtedly one of the greatest doom/death bands ever, and one of my all time favorite doomsters along with Candlemass. There is a lot of space for improvement on ‘Despair’, but as an over all album its not a bad release by all accounts. Its just not something you would call genre shifting or unique. There are not any songs that stand out for me, or feel I need to mention really. There are some good ideas, but overall the release seems a little boring, and there seems to be some generic tendencies in the song writing. Even with influences like Paradise Lost and possibly a band like Katatonia, it does not quite save the release from some negative criticism. For some this might seem out right bland, but I don’t want to shut down a band that’s trying to make its way, that has possibly some potential.

This is not an album you listen to once, else you might revert to shelving the cd, its an album that needs a few listens over before you pull an opinion on it, and after several listens it slowly started engraving itself, and the listening pleasure increased. If I just listened to it once off, might have been more critical on my review, but something pushed me to give this a couple listens before laying down my opinionated verdict. That is why for a debut release this is not bad, and the foundations have been set, now to see what gets built on that. Not much else I can say about the release. All I can hope is that if the band reads this, they see this as creative criticism that will hopefully encourage them to build and develop their skill and sound and surprise us with a kick in the head second release. .

Artists they like: Saviour Machine, Paradise Lost, Type O Negative, Katatonia, Anathema, Swallow the Sun, Ayreon, Opeth, The Cure, Amorphis, Pink Floyd

Rating: 5/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

01. Zub Zero
02. Epic Fail
03. Rain of Shards
04. Goddess in Dust
05. Gallows Tree Thy Name
06. Despair
07. Ghost Light Dawn
08. Ruined
09. Flames Leap High

Band Members:
Tim Ziegeler – Lyrics and Vocals
Michael Maas – Music, Production and all Instruments

Record Label: TWS records, March 2013

Weblinks: Facebook / Website

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Interview With A Sickness Unto Death [May 2013]

Video below “Ghostlight Dawn”

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