Thrashin’ ain’t an easy business these days. Frankly, there’s more market saturation involved with riffing it up and living out of van than if we all just got some poser office jobs with health insurance. At this point, I’m almost surprised that thrash is still considered a genre of music vs. just being a publicly traded entity that we can all invest in. Nonetheless, my poor thrash-centric stand-up routine aside; there is a reason why the genre has never gotten old to both heavy music fanatics and labels alike. Simply put, crossover/thrash is fun. Even when its lyrics are at their most serious the genre brings out a youthful spirit in all who partake. As we continue to push through the absolute madness that is 2019 (soon to be 2020), I’d argue having a good time is more important now than it has ever been. The planet is dying and the only forms of employment that don’t require you to be a gentrifying tech-bro force you to compromise your convictions to afford your increasing rent.
To bring this half-rant full circle, crossover maniacs Red Death are back in action with Century Media to share their newest release Sickness Divine with our dying world. I’ll admit that at times, its overwhelming and somewhat boring to sift through all the new music that comes out daily. That being said, Sickness Divine is the first full-length that has actually held my attention cover to cover in months. Red Death continues to grow while still paying homage to the old dogs. The band’s last release Formidable Darkness payed tremendous respects to Best Wishes era Cro-Mags and while that influence is present on Sickness Divine Red Death pulls deeper into the crossover spectrum to elicit a sound that is uniquely their own.
Sickness Divine is layered perfectly with various interludes that not only cleanse your unsophisticated neanderthal palate; but evoke a feeling that most certainly mimics completing a vision quest through worlds unknown. Or at the very least, finishing your shift at Circle K then going to band practice. Tracks Sheep May Unsafely Graze and Path of Discipline are by far the standouts of the record and without spoiling too much; there is a cowbell involved in Sheep May Unsafely Graze. Path of Discipline is a crossover clinic in and of itself fusing together D.C. grit, NYCH intensity and 80’s bay area vibes into one track. Call me corny, but Sickness Divine is one of the only releases this year that has been genuinely fun and exciting to listen to multiple times over. A big part of that is how well Red Death walks the line between nostalgia thrashin’ and pushing crossover to new ground. If you consider yourself to be a fan of heavy music in any capacity, Sickness Divine will absolutely be at the top of your 2019 AOTY list.