Sicker Than Most came together back in 2008 and hails from Trenton, New Jersey. Since their formation, the line-up underwent a number of changes, before finally becoming a four-piece that became more than the initial goal of "a few friends that just wanted to make some noise" (per the band's included biography). In 2012 they found themselves signed with Goodlife Recordings to unleash their debut full-length album, No Dividing Line. About two years later, Sicker Than Most return with a brand new EP titled In Our Blood. But does this rival their well received debut, or does it wind up a step back in the wrong direction?

In Our Blood bases their style largely on the nineties New Jersey Hardcore sound, and, for the most part, they do a good job at emulating that tone. The music has a decent blunt aggression behind it that isn't too afraid to incorporate some Rap to the mix. "For This We Fight" takes its time to build up a fair amount of hostility to the blunt deeper distortions. The growling vocals, which, truthfully, would better suit a Southern Groove or Sludge Metal offering, match the lower tuning well enough until the clean rapping hits later on. The music behind it isn't bad for more of an introduction, but the clean vocals end up more like an uninspired spoken word passage, losing some of the effective aggression the band had achieved at this point.

From that introduction on, Sicker Than Most manages to get a lot of things right, and just as many wrong. The "Raining Blood" style start to "Flag of Deception" leaves you expecting some Crossover Thrash at the very least, which the band delivers about a minute in. Some tightened riffs and drumming pound away at the listener for a good twenty-five seconds before some two-stepping kicks in just as long. The breakdown that hits towards the end is alright, but the riffs and drum patterns kind of conflict with one another. While not necessarily off in timing, it still sounds that way twice as you approach the conclusion, the latter of which being thanks to a quick mute on the guitars that disrupt the rhythm in the kit, and vice versa a bar prior.

"Final Solution" has some faster riffs at work from time to time, as well as some additional technicality in the guitar, but the vocals lack the energy to support the instruments before another lackluster breakdown, and, of course, there's "In Our Blood" weaving some brotherhood and self-empowering themes akin to Terror or even Madball. Unfortunately, this, and the others mentioned, all sound artificial, as if the band is trying to sound like the equivalent of the guys in a prison yard who think they're tough, bumping up against gangs until finally put in their place. Really, other than "For This We Fight", the only other track that sounds genuine is "The Hardway". It's a breath of fresh air, but for first time you feel like these guys actually have Hardcore in their veins with the skill to back it up. There's some infectious Punk hooks thrown into the mix, allowing some early Agnostic Front influence to come through as well, some sorely needed gang chants that may be bland but effective enough to add a little energy to the song, not to mention some brief vocal harmonizations.

If Sicker Than Most were to put together more songs like "The Hardway", where all the instruments work together with vocals that have more enthusiasm than that of a fifty year old chronic smoker, there's no denying this four-piece would be a far more powerful force to be reckoned with. While pacing music slowly isn't necessarily a bad thing, this effort just ends up boring damn near across the board. Everyone often just sounds bored and, sometimes, not even on the same page. In fact, it's like night and day when comparing it to their 2012 debut full-length album No Dividing Line. Chances are that a lot of the problems that plague this EP lie largely in the mastering, which does come off a bit too clean this time around as opposed to the more analog sound of their last outing. That said, In Our Blood isn't exactly painful to sit through, but there really isn't anything all that memorable to speak of either.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.