EP Review: Sick Jokes – The Great Hereafter

Sick Jokes are quite unique in that they’re an international collective of musicians from around the world, producing a ‘soundtrack for the apocalypse’, as the group describes themselves. In terms of genre, their music is a crossover between hard rock, metal and industrial music, which makes them sound like nothing I’ve ever heard before!

By Jane Howkins

The Great Hereafter contains 6 songs, with each one having a brutal intensity to it. The first track is the title track, The Great Hereafter. It sound extreme from the off, featuring heavy, chugging riffs alongside some electronic, synths elements in the background, adding another vibe to their music. The vocals are screamed in a hardcore punk sort of way, making it all sound very atmospheric. The song breaks down in the middle, with what sounds like a choir singing, fitting the apocalyptic theme well.

This Is The End is a little mellower (although not by much!), opening with an eerie electronic melody, before the riffs and the epic percussion kicks in. The whole thing sounds very well produced, with lots of little melodies and percussive vibes layering in with the vocals – you’ll definitely need to listen to this more than once to fully appreciate it! The ghostly female vocals that appear later on add another intriguing note.

Lunatic Fringe has an epic intro, seeing the female vocals re-emerging, alongside the frantic hip-hop style percussion and the synths. This change breaks the music up nicely, showing Sick Jokes are capable of a slightly softer sound. It all sounds very ambient, having a lovely dreamy quality to it.

The next song is actually a remix of The Great Hereafter, titled The Great Hereafter (EXT EST Remix). It makes for an interesting change of pace – the main elements to the original song are all there, but the remix gives it a dark and eerier sound, with the steady beat making it sound like a great song to be performed in some goth nightclub. It’s very different but it works.

This Is The End (Chiasm Remix) is yet another remix, this time covering This Is The End. Again, it’s a mellower version of the original track, with the instrumentation and melodies taking centre stage over the vocals. It sounds much more stripped-back at times, although there’s still an incredibly amount of stuff going on here.

Outage starts with what sounds like a numbers station, adding a haunting vibe from the off. It’s quite a different tune to the rest of the songs on this EP, featuring the sounds of static and little atmospheric notes underneath, alongside some screamed vocals towards the end. It makes for a good overall outro for this EP.

The Great Hereafter won’t be for everyone, but those into their darker and more experimental styles of music should find something to love here. Sick Jokes have mastered the art of atmosphere on this EP, and it’s certainly something to be lauded!

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