With their sophomore full-length Sick City, Wailin Storms’ brand of dark, swampy rock gets a tad bit darker.
Compared to its more abrasive predecessor, 2015’s One Foot in the Flesh Grave, Sick City shows the North Carolina quartet opting for a gloomier sound this time around. Tinges of the band’s Southern-fried doom rock remain, but are overtaken by pervasive elements of post-punk and Gothic rock, with a hint of punk lurking just beneath the surface. Spearheaded by reverb-laden, moody vocals, reminiscent of 16 Horsepower’s David Eugene Edwards if he were raised on a steady diet of Bauhaus and Samhain, Sick City is the perfect soundtrack for those who prefer to dress in all black.
Lurching bass lines and pulsating percussion open up the record on “Hurricane Trashwave” and are accompanied by various guitar-generated groans and squalls. Soon distortion overtakes this gloomy intro and becomes a swell of buzzing guitar riffs and wailing vocals. In between its infectious cadences and its straddling the lines between post-punk and punk rock, “Hurricane Trashwave” is an anthemic cacophony best suited to kick this dreary record off.
Tracks such as the seedy “Irene Garza” show the band really embracing the album’s Goth tendencies. The barreling track revolves around menacing, hammering riffs slathered in distortion and ghostly soundscapes, creating a darkened rock anthem that will knock the horn-rimmed glasses off of listeners’ faces. Other highlights include the sprawling “Night of Long Nights”, which revolves around creeping harmonics and infectious grooves that weave that bleed into soaring choruses and dissonant, noisy solos.
Though the album tends to stray from its predecessor’s “punkier” moments, “Foot of My Tongue” harks back to the band’s earlier material with its rambunctious rhythms and punk attitude. Propelled by stampeding percussion, the track unleashes a flurry of murky grooves and pseudo hardcore riffs that culminate in a wall of throttling sound. It’s more unabashed aggression sticks out from the pack, but it’s moody character blends in with the record’s sound.
With its doom and gloom and graveyard punk, Sick City is the perfect soundtrack for those who like to don black denim year round.
Release Date: October 2, 2017
Label: Antena Kryzku Records
Favorite Tracks: “Hurricane Trashwave”, “Night of the Long Nights”, “Foot of My Tongue” and “Waiting”
For Fans Of: Samhain, 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand and Misfits