Sawed Off Sick is comprised of Rob Hearthrob(Slick 57, Ghoultown, The Doubledowns), Nikatomic(The Atomic Fiends, Phantom Rockers), and Chris Parrish(Hotrod Hillbillies, Eerie Lane), along with P.C.P. and Rumblin’ Rose of the Dallas Derby Devils. These Texas rockers have been tearin’ it up since 2005 with the release of their first album, entitled Five-Star, which introduced their brand of raw Texas rock and psychobilly with five tracks of fury, including their swanky hit, “Hell Tonight.” After much touring and radio airplay, the album proved to be a success and the band went into the studio in late 2006 to begin work on a new album. SOS just released this second effort, entitled Den of Iniquity. With twelve brain-frying tracks of psychobilly, rock, and country-influenced tracks, including a re-master of their hit "Hell Tonight," Den of Iniquity promises great success for the Texas quintet. The Dallas Observer described Sawed Off Sick’s new album, Den of iniquity, as “a hard rock lover’s dream. Singer Nickatomic’s voice draws allusions to everyone from Diamond Dave to Ronnie James Dio, with scuzzy guitars and a rockabilly backbeat to boot.” In a recent issue of the Fort Worth Weekly SOS’s Den of Iniquity was described as “anthemic zombie-surf arena-rock . . . Chris Parrish is game on the upright, plucking at and slapping his bass like an angry loan shark putting the squeeze on a deadbeat.” Check out the craze that is Den of Iniquity.
FORT WORTH WEEKLY REVIEW
Sawed Off Sick
Den of Iniquity (El Diablo Caballero Records)
For a band that describes its origins as “from the depths of hell,” Dallas psychobilly outfit Sawed Off Sick writes some surprisingly singable and poignant tunes. On the trio’s recently released third album, Den of Iniquity, frontman Nickatomic’s pristine growl dovetails nicely with the thick tones he reels out of his Gretsch guitar. Also, instead of harping on the genre’s often-silly stock themes (like necrophilia, or — oh, I dunno — snowstorms of ashes), SOS prefers to nod to the ancient blues. On “Damned Infatuation,” for example, Nickatomic sings about pulling the plug on a new relationship. His delivery is brash and punkish, but his attitude is purely defeatist.
Driving hard and playing with great precision, SOS drummer Rob Heartthrob sets the head-banging pace. His rolls and crashes barrel ahead, as if he were trying to leave the rest of the band — hell, the rest of the song — in the dust. Chris Parrish is game on the upright, plucking at and slapping his bass like an angry loan shark putting the squeeze on a deadbeat.
Toward the homestretch of the disc’s 12 tracks, the tempo picks up and never falls off. Serious, flashy surf-guitar riffs rattle through “Psycho Surf,” and, a few minutes later, on “Hell Tonight,” the haunting, calming bass groove that kicks off the song quickly comes across a catchy chorus that leads to a turbo punch. The backing female harmonies lend the proceedings a sexy, fiery luster.
The breakneck thrash throughout the disc would seem to contradict Nickatomic’s mostly sincere and mature lyrics, but SOS somehow manages to make the dueling forces work. Even for music fans not partial to psychobilly, Den of Iniquity is at least intriguing — it’s not often you get to listen to anthemic zombie-surf arena-rock; far less often when the tunes manage to stick in your head, as Den of Iniquity’s may. — Caroline Collier