Sicktus : After the EP Brutal Queen (2016) and debut full-length Anthology Of Curiosities (2017), this month brings us a new Sisters Of Suffocation album: Humans Are Broken. The band from the Southern parts of The Netherlands have undergone a few changes since their (more than) fine debut: Kevin van den Heiligenberg replaces Amber de Buijzer behind the kit, Emmelie Herwegh adds a second guitar to the (now) quintet and the band have inked a deal with Austrian powerhouse Napalm Records.
Right, that takes care of the factual side of things, let us plough straight on to the important bit: the fine and varied death Sisters Of Suffocation have again managed to deliver. The band continue the trend of the earlier releases and keep their arrow pointing upward. The mix of brutal (nineties) death and a big dose of melody, big grooves and heavy riffing have remained. Check the recently released video of Little Shits, for instance: a combination of heavy, convincing, catchy and gritty all rolled into one. The guitars have advanced. Whether it is the addition of Herwegh, or whether lead guitarist Simone van Straten has honed her craft: kudos for the heavy riffs, catchy melodies, leads and transitions and above all the variation that is present on Humans Are Broken. The more raw and gritty side of the band, which was already showcasing itself on Brutal Queen, is still there as well. A blunt and choppy track like What We Create which rears its head near the halfway point of the album, helps keeping things fresh and varied throughout the (a little over) 40 minute playing time Humans Are Broken clocks in at. A newer side is the more melancholic, dramatic side the band show, such as on Liar. Also new are the clean and spoken word vocals that are effectively sprinkled in throughout the album, giving the band its sound a (yet) more vibe of their own and add to the overall variation and different atmospheres on Humans Are Broken. Prediction: not every death metal head is going to dig those clean vox. Second prediction: these gals (and guy) really could not care less. Full disclosure though, the somewhat hardcore-ish vocals on album closer Burn. I could have done without.
In my reviews of sisters Of Suffocations earlier releases, I mentioned (among others) Illdisposed and Hypocrisy as influences. I still hear those influences, for instance in Little Shits and Liar respectively. I do however dare to state that the 2019 version of Sisters Of Suffocation is the new and improved version of Sisters Of Suffocation. It would not surprise me if this album is their ticket to a higher tier of the international death metal circuit. Damn fine album.