Outliers never stick to the script. Instead, they constantly and consistently surprise. As such, Sicksense bob and weave past any and all boundaries, flipping convention upside down and fusing heavy metal, hip-hop, and alternative like never before. Extreme screams puncture nimbly rapped verses, tempering a male-and-female call-and-response and giving the metal game a truly “New” sound. Unpredictability drives the quintet—Vicky “Killer V” [vocals, keys], Rob The Ripper [vocals], Breakdown Bran [guitar], Spot-On Sam/SOS [bass], and The Trve Cody Taylor [drums]. After piling up hundreds of thousands of streams and views independently, the group present a scorching signature style on a pair of EPs—Kings Today and Fools Tomorrow.
“We’re taking all of the elements we love from Nu Metal and updating them for today,” states Rob. “We’re always asking, ‘How can we take this sound one step further?’ Musically, Vicky and I complement each other’s vocal styles. We both scream, and we both rap. We’re intentionally having a back-and-forth. There’s a conversational tone within the lyrics.”
“We all have different tastes and influences,” observes Vicky. “We’re simultaneously in very extreme bands outside of Sicksense, yet we’re writing Nu Metal. It’s the music we grew up on, and we’re trying to make it as catchy as we can.”
Sicksense quietly gestated over the past few years. In between holding down vocals in Stuck Mojo, Rob wanted to start another band, drawing on formative influences as diverse as Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Korn, Papa Roach, Evanescence, System of a Down, and Disturbed. After teaming up with Bran and Cody, Rob didn’t have to look far for a co-vocalist, asking his wife Vicky to join the fold. In addition to the perfect balance, she brought the name…
“I saw it in a dream,” she recalls. “I woke up in the middle of the night and told Rob. In the morning, he understood it. ‘Sicksense’ holds a few different meanings, my favorite being a “sick sense of humor”. It has a throwback vibe that goes with the music, because even though we take the lyrics seriously, we’re trying to make the presentation and visuals funny and lighthearted. It works well for us.”
“Vicky is a tremendous singer and lyricist,” adds Rob. “Since we’re married, it’s natural for us to work together. We’re also super productive because we’re in the same house!”
Bran initially penned demos and shared them with Rob and Vicky. Sam joined the fold, and they hit the studio with producer Christian Donaldson [The Agonist, Beyond Creation], recording what would become Kings Today and Fools Tomorrow. Vicky introduced keyboards and electronic flourishes, expanding the arrangements and sonic palette in the process. They unabashedly channeled “Straight-up Nu Metal” with their own flare and fire.
Sicksense paved the way for Kings Today with “Make Believe,” generating nearly 90k YouTube views and +335k Spotify streams. The title track and single “Kings Today” slips from a cinematically creepy keyboard intro into a trudging detuned groove punctuated by pinch harmonics. Vicky and Rob lock into a vocal crossfire before her hypnotic hook takes hold, “We will be kings today.”
“It discusses society,” notes Rob. “We all have disagreements on politics; it’s a bunch of nonsense. We should all be on the same side, because we’re all human beings. We could get along, but we have these trivial problems in our everyday lives that cause friction.”
“People focus on our differences too much,” agrees Vicky. “We should focus on what we share in common.”
Then, there’s “Forgotten Days.” A searing lead cuts through the pummeling riff as the vocals paint a picture of a crumbling relationship.
“It’s a conversation between a couple,” Rob elaborates. “The girl says, ‘I see you harming yourself, and it hurts me’. The guy explains his perspective. They decide to leave their problems in the past and move on.”
Elsewhere on “Soul Snatcher,” a sidewinder riff crashes into nimbly spun rhymes about “giving into the bad side of yourself and letting the demons win” as Vicky’s theatrical delivery echoes on the bridge.
The second EP, Fools Tomorrow, follows Sicksense deeper down the rabbit hole. Ebbing and flowing between hard-hitting bangers and introspective anthems, it threads together a cohesive arc. “The concept of Kings Today and Fools Tomorrow is you have to fight to keep your spot,” Vicky states. “If you sit on the throne and stop working, someone will be there tomorrow to knock you off. It’s a vicious battle to hold on to the throne until you die. It’s a relatable fight though.”
The opener “Feed Them To The Wolves” snaps from an intricately woven groove into guttural growls before rhymes collide with another sweeping and soaring refrain. “It takes you to a different world,” Vicky reveals. “A person keeps giving only to feel like a puppet. When you start feeding into social media as a musician, it’s very easy to lose yourself. You shouldn’t feel like a puppet, because the strings are imaginary.”
“That was Vicky’s side of the story,” Rob elaborates. “I started an idea, and she finished it off. When she does that, the true meaning is revealed. My verses get into how everything you say as a public figure is under a microscope. Vicky elevated it to another level though.”
Elsewhere, “Fools Tomorrow” [feat. Billy Grey of Fozzy] hinges on the vocal chemistry of Rob and Vicky as the lyrics examine “taking things for granted.” Then, there’s the acoustic “Erase, Rewind,” which showcases another dynamic of Sicksense altogether highlighted by Vicky’s vibrant vocal range. Reaching an emotional climax, “Invitation” relays a harrowing true story in one of the band’s heaviest moments sonically and thematically.
“I was working at my father-in-law’s store, and we were robbed at gunpoint,” sighs Rob. “I was pistol whipped and shot at. Luckily, the guy missed. I was concussed though. It was the moment where I wanted to take my life into my own hands, start doing what I want to do, zero in on my goals, and work towards them. I knew I wanted to wrestle professionally, so I pursued that. I also ended up launching Sicksense.”
In the end, Sicksense find humanity within their originality.
“This is the most personal project for me, because I’m speaking on my experiences,” Rob leaves off. “Hopefully, you hear these songs, and you know there’s more to life and you’re not alone.”
“We’re trying to create something original,” Vicky concludes. “We put so much into this collectively. I can’t wait for everyone to hear these songs, because that’s where the magic is—the connection.”
Vicky Psarakis aka “Killer V” – Vocals/Keys
Robby J. Fonts aka “Rob The Ripper” – Vocals
Branislav Panic aka “Breakdown Bran” – Guitars
Samuel Bedard aka “Spot-On Sam/SOS” – Bass
Cody Taylor aka “The Trve Cody Taylor” – Drums