When Landscapes Bled Backwards

rating icon 7.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Descending The Mind's Abyss
02. An Eerie Aspect Of Us... Drowning
03. This Cold Funeral
04. The Perfect Disease
05. Imprisoned In Apocalypse
06. Forsake My Bleeding
07. Dark One Surreality
08. Virus Detected
09. Filming Our Graves
10. Embrace The Abstract
11. All Perceived Nothing
12. When Landscapes Bled Backwards

The partnership between Willowtip and The Netherlands' Neurotic Records seems to be working out just fine, the benefit that even more quality tech-death is made available to stateside devotees. With "When Landscapes Bled Backwards" (whatever the hell that means) by Greece's SICKENING HORROR (which means horror that is sickening),the Willowtip roster gains another technically accomplished slab of death metal.

Featuring NILE drummer George Kollias, SICKENING HORROR has been kicking around since early 2002, soon releasing "Demo 2003". Kollias' leaving to join NILE fortunately did not result in the band's demise. And Kollias is only one of three impressive parts to this well-oiled machine. Along with guitarist/vocalist George Antipatis and bassist Ilias Daras, SICKENING HORROR front loads "When Landscapes Bled Backwards" with songs that are lethally heavy and intriguingly technical. As for the first part of that equation, one can hear a style not far removed from acts like EXMORTEM and DECAPITATED (not to mention a musical conglomeration that could be considered the "Polish DM sound"),but a generous helping of ATHEIST and CYNIC results in a splendid balancing act. The Neil Kernon mix results in perfect sound separation too.

Though Kollias' drumming is a known quantity and packs the album with fantastic fills and angular battery, it is bassist Daras who really shines here. Far from just following the guitar lines, Daras skillfully bobs and weaves throughout every track, and boy does it sound good. He can be heard switching to PRIMUS mode at times on a song such as "Foresake My Bleeding" and lets it all hang out on instrumental "Virus Detected". Those jazz fusion flourishes that folks like Tony Choy do so well are in abundance on the long player. Incidentally, Ilias' piano piece "All Perceived Nothing" provides a nice break from the tech-death maelstrom.

Even with the impressive musicianship on display on "When Landscapes Bled Backwards", nothing ever really reaches overkill. On the whole, the act's first full-length recording is a more than reliable effort that stops short of mind-blowing (from a songwriting standpoint anyway),but exhilarates nonetheless.

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