|Sick Sad World
Five years have passed since the previous work by Sick Sad World, a French quintet emerged out of the hypnotizing world of sludgy post-metal; with their brand new Imago Clipeata they have started a cooperation with Atypeek Music, which has been out and about promoting (mostly) French projects somehow connected to post-hardcore. A few weeks ago we stumbled upon the return of the Belgian band Splendidula with their slightly unusual post-metal, and here we are, dealing with a Nantes-based quintet that treads on different, but in some ways similar, paths.
The visual approach of this French band, together with the fact that I was analyzing their “Destroy” right during the fire at Notre Dame, immediately brought to my mind the absolute masters of this style Amenra (of course, this post might have played a role as well). And yet, in the sick sad world depicted in Imago Clipeata there’s also something different. First of all, the name of the album refers to the sculpted portraits enclosed in circular shapes, quite common for wealthy families back in the Roman Age, which would become the basis for most of the portraiture of aristocrats over the following centuries. The composition of the cover artwork seems to wink at the diptychs of that time, but the two specular — and very katatoniesque — crows on an abstract background don’t exactly convey a celebratory idea.
Unfortunately, Sick Sad World decided not to include the lyrics of the six songs in the booklet, nor on their website, so I won’t be able to say much about the contents of Imago Clipeata, apart from the overall impression gathered from the titles. There is a feeling of inner unease and anxiety, also narrated through wider and more external terms, such as in “Battlefield”, while Julien R.’s bass guitar in particular strives to remind us of Amenra’s dark vibes, together with the percussions played by David N. with great energy. And here the quintet from Nantes managed to disengage from a simple, monodimensional derivation, particularly in a song such as “Echoes”, which widens the musical scope to post-rock; the different vocal styles employed by Julien D. emerge as well, supported by the enthralling atmospheres created via the guitars of Antonin L. and Erwan W., at times reminiscent of such legends as Mono. A more collective dimension of the struggle comes out in “Market”, in which the band denounces the monster we have created in the indifference towards the world and mankind.
So here we are, talking about an interesting name in the ever more crowded European post-metal scene, Sick Sad World have started performing live and will tour over the next few months for the promotion of their solid record Imago Clipeata, recommended to those who would like to discover what an orgy between Amenra, Agalloch, Mono, Sólstafir, Cult Of Luna, and The Ocean would sound like.