The Sickness Within

Written by: AP on 24/10/2005 21:46:17

With "The Sickness Within", Hatesphere does as Hatesphere does best: delivers ear splitting hardcore with blistering guitar riffs and insane drumming. The band has clearly developed its identity since the absolutely brilliant "Bloodred Hatred", released in 2002, and developed into coarser and more dense hardcore metal.

The Danish hardcore quintet are known to be quite prestigious at times, with comments like "metalcore is a lame attempt at metal by 16 year old kids playing Slayer riffs" and "Some people give us the label 'metalcore'. What the fuck?". As to exactly why someone would deem Hatesphere's effort metalcore I am completely indifferent, as this is hardcore at its best. Though "Bloodred Hatred" proved to be an immediate classic to those who listen to- and know Hatesphere, "The Sickness Within" is able to take the band down another path; less melody, more content. "The Sickness Within" is louder, angrier and more insane, yet still manages to impress with its incredible instrumentals. I never understood and I never will understand why Hatesphere is not a widely known band, a pioneer in its genre, as it is truly one of the most exciting and instrumentally capable hardcore bands to date.

The album begins with the foreboding guitar intro of "The White Fever", but almost immediately explodes into a soup of extremely heavy guitar riffs and Jacob Bredahl's fierce screaming. As both guitars throw in a solo towards the end of the song, you begin to realize that Hatesphere has crossed into an entirely different zone since "Bloodred Hatred". The solo is less harmonic, and contains more influences from rock'n'roll than from metal - that unique guitar sound the band was able to produce in "Bloodred Hatred" is replaced by more typical, less captivating solo experimentation. The same kind of solo follows in the next track, "The Fallen Shall Rise in a River of Blood", until "Reaper of Life" kicks in with painful death grunts from Bredahl, indicating that the band's influences lie in many genres. The title track, "The Sickness Within" is rather reminiscent of "Hell is Here" in terms of its structure, hinting that the band has not fully moved out of its melodic past - the skeleton is still there. "Murderous Intent" then begins with an interesting drum-solo, followed by an obscure blend of Bredahl's madman-screams and the two guitarists' nerve-tearing guitar presentations. Murder, insanity and anger are evidently the dominant themes in this album, as has come to be Hatesphere's identity. Perhaps the most memorable track on "The Sickness Within" is the eighth, "Heaven is Ready to Fall", partly because of its haunting melody and partly because of the Susperia-like vocals that occasionally bring out Bredahl's broad vocal talent. Halfway through, the song breaks into a slow riff that includes electronic sounds and a narrator-type voice, similar to the intro of "Her Ghost in the Fog" by Cradle of Filth. "Chamber Master" is the one track that recalls the incredible solo guitar performances of "Bloodred Hatred", and simultaneously features more of Bredahl's clean power-screams. The album concludes in the words "The little priest... Is he dead yet?". The reply is also granted, and not surprisingly (as it is Hatesphere we are talking about), the answer is yes. The fastest track on the album then erupts, delivering a blend of clean vocals and growling.

So the little priest is dead and Hatesphere have rethought their style. "The Sickness Within" is an excellent hardcore album that delivers pretty much every aspect of the genre to the listener. Where it fails to reach absolute brilliance, however, is the fact that Bredahl's unique high-pitched growling is no longer present, and the breathtaking guitar solos and melodies of "Bloodred Hatred" are missing. Some of the uniquity of the band is unfortunately lost through "The Sickness Within" due to the omittance of these aspects that before were elemental in Hatesphere's music.


Download: Chamber Master, Heaven is Ready to Fall
For the fans of: As We Fight, God Forbid

Release date 26.09.2005

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