Wisconsin’s The Central totally killed it, back in 2016, with their album Discovery of a Rat. Without any foretelling, they released Sick and Dying on Valentine’s Day. This EP is a nice follow-up to Discovery of a Rat. Its mathy post-hardcore is still here and still sounds fresh, perhaps because of a few new changes and additions. First of all, their sound seems to have put on some weight, making it closer to mathcore than it was on their previous effort. Secondly, I feel that there are more atmospheric moments; we could call them noise, or experimental rock passages. The prime example of this is the song “Quiet Mouse in Muscatine”, which features a simple theme reiterated by keyboard and voice. The interesting part is that it’s played over screeching distortion and what sounds like altered field recordings.
They’ve literally asked to be nice so I will be. The production on Sick and Dying is good! It really is, though. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but perfection lies in the ear of the hearkener. In the first few tracks, I felt the songs were way too compressed, as is showcased by the bass drum, which obliterates the entire mix. This didn’t feel as bad later in the album, and this is due to the fact that later songs are less hard-hitting in general, and more experimental, in a very idiosyncratic manner. I think it’s less special and unique and utterly magical than Discovery of a Rat, but Sick and Dying is a great album that is plenty of fun to listen to, so please try it for yourselves!