Mortal Decay
Sickening Erotic Fanaticism


4.5
superb

Review

by blou52 USER (23 Reviews)
August 18th, 2021 | 16 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A true standout of its time, Sickening Erotic Fanaticism is everything a brutal album should be, and then some.

To be entirely honest, I began listening to this album with a closed mind. The cover art, title, and age of Sickening Erotic Fanaticism all gave me the impression that this was yet another generic brutal death metal album. I was prepared to listen to a song or two, skip through the remaining tracks in an attempt to find quality, and move on when I found none. Upon hearing the first track, I knew I was entirely mistaken. This album stands proudly as one of the greatest death metal albums from the late 90s.

You wouldn’t be wrong calling Sickening brutal death metal, but labeling it as such would seem to denote brutality as the driving force behind the album. Of course, there are crushing riffs with ultra-low guttural vocals and rapid drumming. At the same time, a plethora of riffs with tritones, dramatic tempo changes, and variety comprise the bulk of the unusually lengthy songs. Sickening breaks standard convention without casting aside the stalwarts of the genre. For example, the opening track places its breakdowns directly in the middle of the fastest sections of the song, with no lead-in. The variety of the album is possibly its greatest aspect. Further proof of quality can be found in the crawling, atmospheric riff that brings this blood-drenched album to a close. At its lowest points, the album diminishes to only a mildly unique brutal death metal album with distinguished performances.

However, guitarists Joe Gordan and John Hartman have a propensity for writing unsettling sections, especially when referring to solos. Using track 5 as an example, the solo that can be heard at 2:47 feels off. The solo doesn’t progress unusually, but the notes played don’t match what would be expected, creating an eerie and uninviting atmosphere. When punctuated with Anthony Ipri’s skillful drumming, these passages present writing that is rarely replicated in the genre. An unusual amount of care was used when recording and mixing Ipri’s drums, as their impact and clarity far exceed many of Sickening’s contemporaries. Furthering the presence of Ipri’s drums is that his performance includes so much more than blast beats and rapid double-bass drumming. Sickening certainly contains a number of high-tempo sections, but during its multitude of mid-tempo and slower sections is when his drumming has the most creative freedom. With each hit being audible, Ipri’s excellent fills and patterns are fully realized. The drumming in brutal death metal albums doesn’t often stand out for aspects other than pure speed, yet Ipri managed to grab my attention on numerous occasions when not specifically listening for the drums.

Putting aside the exceptional instrumentals, vocalist Kelly Izquierdo provides a solid performance to back up his bandmates. For the majority of the album, Izquierdo belts out comprehensible death growls with power. Oftentimes though, he’ll accentuate his performance with a gravelly scream. This may be a relatively minor addition in the grand scheme of things, but its inclusion adds a healthy amount of flavoring to the mix. Since the vocals are intelligible, the lyrics become noteworthy for the album. While not exceptional, they’re written well enough to satisfy a listener’s desire for ghoulish lyrics.

What sets this album apart and brings it to the next level is the diversity and unusual songwriting. Breaking standard convention for most death metal albums like it, the average song length for this album is just over five and a half minutes. This brings Sickening to almost an hour long runtime. With that being said, the diversity within each song somehow never manages to break off from the core sound of the album. Thankfully, the core sound is fantastic. If you enjoy a heavier form of death metal, then you owe it to yourself to give this album the same chance I did.



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user ratings (20)
4.1
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
blou52
August 18th 2021


341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'll be gone for the day this is posted, but enjoy the review and album nonetheless!

metalhead2425
August 18th 2021


388 Comments


Haven't heard this one in a while, but I think it was pretty good.

JokineAugustus
March 12th 2022


10938 Comments


Gonna have to jam this soon. I really dig Forensic

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
March 12th 2022


26025 Comments


band rules

combustion07
December 22nd 2022


12822 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review man! Missed this one but I hope you come back with more! We need more write ups for the kind of stuff you were picking to review. Mortal Decay is one of the absolute goats of brutal death metal and just death metal in general tbh. This album is nothing short of amazing. Bands whole discography slays

blou52
December 30th 2022


341 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm. I've had a review probably 90% completed for over a year now, so I can finish that. Maybe after that I'll review one of the multiple unreviewed brutal or close-to-brutal death metal albums that I've had in mind for a while. There are four that come to mind, and you don't have two of them rated

sonictheplumber
January 11th 2024


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

these guys are way smarter than they get credit for

heck
January 11th 2024


7102 Comments


the most offensive part of the cover art is the font choice

sonictheplumber
January 11th 2024


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

def dont sound like dying fetus or broken hope

sonictheplumber
January 11th 2024


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it should have been comic sans

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
January 11th 2024


26025 Comments


i feel like this band was way more influential for the hypertechnical brutal prog slam shit like defeated sanity than they get credit for.

sonictheplumber
January 11th 2024


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

theres def some voivod/atheist type shit on here

sonictheplumber
January 11th 2024


17533 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

and erosion of sanity era gorguts

Jurtz
April 15th 2024


1568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So much variety on this album, which is a highlight for the genre

Jurtz
April 18th 2024


1568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I cannot go any higher in rating



I'm really annoyed by that stupid lead guitar that messes up perfectly good tracks

Jurtz
April 22nd 2024


1568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The mods have kindly accepted my request to have the album cover updated



That said, perhaps I'll get used to the leads on here



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