Review Summary: Oft overlooked progressive metallers strike it big on 2007 reunion album
Over the last few years many former metal bands have begun to creep out from the darkness of retirement and once again turn their amps up to eleven, and it couldn't be a more perfect time. You see, after 25 plus years of being primarily an underground phenomenon, with the occasional hint of popular acceptance, the latest generation of heavy music fans no longer find growls, palm mutes and double bass as a strange new music form, but as an accepted norm in modern music. Now with genre diehards and more mainstream audiences embracing heavy music, these newly reformed groups have the opportunity to reach even wider audiences than during their heyday, especially band's whose music was ahead of it's time. In 2008, Cynic released their first album in 15 years, Traced In Air
, to massive acclaim, Atheist reunited, and Believer proved that their brand of progressive thrash was still relevant in the new millennium with Gabriel
Emerging from the same early 90's progressive primordial goo as the aforementioned acts, Italy's Sadist have recently put their hat into the comeback competition. Their first two releases, 1993's Above the Light
and 1996's Tribe
were excellent additions to the 90's death metal cannon that could easily hold their own with the genre's more well known stateside heroes. Sadly, for the rest of the decade they fell into a stagnant mediocrity that eventually caused them to disband. Seven years after their last album, and a good decade after their halcyon days, Sadist reformed, and to the surprise of many, released an grade A cut of thinking man's metal.
Sadist's eponymous album begins with the first of the album's three instrumental interludes. "Jagtri" introduces Sadist
with an ominous middle eastern flair. The clean guitar and tribal drums, that recall Cynic's love of tribal elements, slowly build and release into "One Thousand Memories". A wayward synth sprints back and forth between distorted palm mutes, giving way to Sadist's primary sound of churning riffs, technical leads, and a stunning rhythm section that is not afraid of sonic exploration. Much like their previous albums, Sadist employ moderate use of keyboards to add to the menacing atmosphere on Sadist
. The resulting sound is what one would expect if you threw Death's Symbolic
, with its melodic yet technical guitar work, and Cynic's Focus
, with it's eastern influences and progressive structures, into a blender. The Death influence particularly stands out in the faster moments of songs like "Tearing Away" and "Hope to be Deaf" where vocalist Trevor's (somebody find me his last name!!!) Schuldiner-esque shrieks ride waves of blistering arpeggios.
After years of decline and stagnation, Sadist's 2007 self-titled comeback is easily the band's best work. Somehow after all their ups and downs Sadist have remembered how to rock like it's 1993 all over again. Anybody who is a fan of the 90's progressive death metal scene should get a kick out of Sadist
, and in the process can learn up on one of the genre's often overlooked bands.