Review | Sick ‘n Beautiful – Starstruck
Frontiers Music s.r.l.
In a post-apocalyptic world, we are stuck with the leftovers of long-gone civilizations taken over by space nomads roaming the globe like Sci-Fi cyberpunks and madmen. Uniting the pieces of our lost civilization, intergalactic nomads Sick ‘n Beautiful stumbled upon music as it was created by rockers in the last decades, gluing together the best ingredients from almost an entire century.
The aeronauts blend it in a cocktail called `Starstruck’, their 3rd record following the successful independent releases `Hell over Hell’ (2015) and `Element of Sex’ (2018), released by Italian label Frontiers. And it is frontiers that are bound to be broken by the galacticans of Sick ‘n Beautiful.
DAUNTING PERFORMANCE AND HIGH-TECH GIMMICKS
During the dawning days of the late pandemic the band caught my attention. Their stage act and performances combined with their state-of-the-art hyper-galactic steampunk presence is injected with the best of metal-ingredients in its widest variety. Think GWAR… but more melodic rocking, think Lordi… but more beautiful and astounding… now: think again!
Sick ‘n Beautiful astounded with their online pandemic concert stream and I kept an eye out for them since. There was so much going on onstage, with a daunting performance and high-tech gimmicks, it was an overall pleasant sight. The performance was fused onto a collection of melodic metal tracks with energetic vocals and guitar interaction, bombastic drum and keys, all stomping with big groove and industrial elements that propelled it. Though live, the gig proved the band’s skills and talents.
FIRING ON ALL ENGINES
`Starstruck’ is the next step on the band’s earth-conquering path to world wide acceptance for their species and opens with the daunting tech metal ,,Tonight We go to War”. Slick melodic metal with giant hooks and keys and drums in hip grooving gear. Pulsating bass and industrial keys bring it forward to its chorus Herma who displays a vibrant wide range. Belting out a versatile melodic metal job, she steps up unleashing sheer power on the anger-laden title track, with the band firing on all engines. Loud and riff dominated it interchanges with melodic chorus and melodies. Rousing narrative chants midway are ignited by the impeccable riffs and hooks propelling it. It is what makes `Starstruck’ as an album so enjoyable.
Sick ‘n Beautiful keeps firing on all engines and don’t shy away from experiments. Injecting their modern metal cocktail with Mordred-esque prog structures and industrial sound effects, ,,Defy the Light” brings together versatile vocals and uproar with pop melodies. Or when the Sick go all beautiful on the melodic anthemic ,,Deep End Dark”, which opens with barnyard pummelling and blooms with vocal dominated melodies in its bridge and chorus. Stripped down wall of sound, it transpires open and clean, with pace changes. ,,High tech bluesy semi-ballad”; the only label that applies.
POWER POP AND GROOVE
Stepping back to the typical comfort of a modern semi-ballad, Herma resuscitates the wonderful ,,Angels be Fallin”, blending tremendous pop appeal with heavy metal strut. Gravitational pull is droning onto us in the wonderful ,,Pull of Gravity”. Gravely building its ominous slow groove, constructing a gloomy melodic discharge of sonic wonder. One of the best tracks in their catalogue, and a certain future live hymn. ,,Drop it 2 the B” with its high-octane keyboard propulsion is upped by Evey’s stop ‘n go drumbeats and Rev C2’s and Lobo’s riff-rage, the song swings metallic with pop and rappin’ grooves and Herma’s impressive vocal performance. Poppy structures interlaced with the rousing modern metal groove and melodic rock edges as proven on mega-sticky ,,This is Not the End” and the marching industrial ,,Schadenfreude”, hat unifies the Rammstein trademarks with melodic power pop elements.
When melodic poppy keys are welling in and high-tech components drone into compulsion, ,,Pray Tell Me”displays another side to the band’s diversity. Mega melodic, almost epic, but with tremendous appeal, the song unfolds around blunt riffs and another bewitching great vocal performance.
,,Ytopynonavevanonypoty” is simpler and thrives with harsh dropped beats and heavy riffs over rasping vocal outcries contrasting with the rousing female vox. It concludes the time travel initiated on `Starstruck’, preparing Sick ‘n Beautiful’s mothership to orbit them around the globe.
HERMA IS THE BINDING FACTOR
This new album is a very enjoyable record full of memorable hooks and melodies that are welded onto a heavy metallic carcass. Great guitar riffs and solo’s that interchange with the high-tech mechanical keyboards and progressive drumming. It is modern, pop tinged and heavy as sh!t. Sometimes original, frequently bearing the mark of reminiscence, the music remains vibrant.
Over all this musical power it is Herma who is the biding factor with her versatile vocal delivery. Not only is she the band’s dominant force on the album, she is also the steampunk cybernaut with insane appeal, putting Beautiful in this Sick concept.
Release date: 15 July, 2022