Originally formed in Indianapolis in 1987, extreme grind Metal quartet Radiation Sickness have been cursed and impeded by a variety of events over the last twenty five years. As a result this is only their third album, disregarding a couple of demos and splits. Dogged by depression, the band lost guitarist and co-founder member Ryan Rollins when he committed suicide in 1989.
Despite this they managed to release 'The Bounds Of Reality' and 'The Other Me, A Journey Into Insanity' in 1990. Whilst working on their third album in 1992 the band split but after a reunion show in 2010 the band are finally back with their third album 'Reflections Of A Psychotic Past'. This album is seven new tracks plus a digitally re-mastered version of 'The Other Me, A Journey Into Insanity'.
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This latest offering consists of nineteen tracks with the overall time a compact thirty-seven minutes in total, with most tracks being short, sharp shocks, way under the three minute mark. I love the vocals which manifest as a laboured and distressed scream.
Most tracks have a catchy infectious edge to them and there are some very manic yet interesting tempo changes. The guitars are dirty and distorted and the drums have a subtle down tuned edge to them.
The opening track and album title track, 'Reflections Of A Psychotic Past', viciously sets the mood for the entire album. Opening to the sound of ripping duct tape, 'Demented Love Song 2' has a certain warped charm to it that appealed to my sense of humour as did the infectious beat.
Another track with a warped sinister appeal is 'Graveside View' with its frantically fast and infectious tempo. At risk of revealing my own penchant for morbidity, 'The Place Where People Die' was another track that had a real appeal for me, chugging and sinister in its construct with a rising and falling tempo that really kept my interest.
The twelve tracks from 'The Other Me, A Journey Into Insanity' have been digitally re-mastered to bring them up to modern recording standards but the break between the old tracks and new is somewhat noticeable. This is not a criticism because it serves to demonstrate where the band has come from and the extent of the improvement in their musical creativity and ability.
In the same breath I want to state that there are some excellent face rippers in the old segment as well as the new. An example being 'Ruthless' which can only be summed up as musical insanity with a catchy edge that ends in one of those old school punk style solos.
'Man-Made Production' is another excellent track with a wonderful dirty rhythm that sits interestingly beneath the guttural insane vocals. 'Escape To Reality' is the sexiest track of the album with its slow rhythm and cleaner vocals. I love this track; it's interesting and different with a punk and roll groove. Another excellent track is 'Demented Love Song'. I love the dirty chugging rhythms that set so well against the manic vocals.
'Reflections Of A Psychotic Past' is a great album and essential listening for fans of grind Metal and is available now on Abyss Records.