Hatesphere has been around for quite some time now, and while they have their ups and downs, none of their albums are boring or low on melody in any way. Excluding their EPs, The Sickness Within is their fourth studio album and picks up where their previous work left off.
Album starter "White Fever" is chock full of riffs, blood-spitting scream vocals, and a sweet, somewhat bluesy rock solo that really contrasts the otherwise heaviness of the piece, but it fits and even adds depth to it. "Fallen Shall Rise in a River of Blood" is thrashier and also features a nice solo; slow, melodic and very well-written. The calculated riffery and swift chord progressions on "Reaper of Life" prove the band is still capable of throwing us lots of technical riffs a la their 2002 release Bloodred Hatred; while the title track is also among the fastest on the album with powerful drumming laying the foundation of their thrash metal fury. Overall, The Sickness Within isn't as fast and single-mindedly angry as some other bands in the genre. They do inject their songs with stomping bass and guitar drive, and thundering drums, but the music is always balanced out with clever tempo shifts. Check out "Heaven Is Ready to Fall"; lots of bass and awesome riffs abound its first half before the song breaks into a slow yet hauting silent section filled with lots of keyboards and Hammond sounds. Nevermore's Steve Smyth also guests on the album, playing a terrific solo on the last song "Marked by Darkness".
On the production front, the reverb-induced drumming on "Seeds of Shame" adds to the atmosphere of the song. "Murderous Intent" and "The Coming of Chaos" are a bit more on the modern thrash side, as they are infused with plenty of metalcore elements which also come to the fore in the vocal department. The former sees vocalist Jacob Bredahl opting for more hardcore-based singing while the latter does stray back into track in its melodic guitar work and central bass lines. The production carries the typical traits of Jacob Hansen's work. While I admit Hansen is a good producer, I feel his work has become a bit too one-dimensional over the years. On the other hand, I can immediately identify his sound by hearing a single song from any band. So if that was what he was after, he has achieved it. I just happen to prefer rawer production when I listen to death or thrash, with little touches of modern studio effects. This is a minor complaint though, as there are many others who dislike the work of guys like Andy Sneap and Neil Kernon.
This is a good album, but by no means essential. You might want to give it a listen if you enjoyed the newer albums by Exodus and Slayer, since some of the songs such as "Chamber Master" are highlighted by epic scale arrangements and old-school riffery. Also, Hatesphere is recommended to fans of The Haunted, Pantera, and Dew Scented.
- White Fever
- Fallen Shall Rise in a River of Blood
- Reaper Of Life
- Sickness Within
- Murderous Intent
- Coming of Chaos
- Bleed to Death
- Heaven Is Ready to Fall
- Seeds of Shame
- Chamber Master
- Marked by Darkness