Review Summary: In conclusion, this album was among the best in it's genre, and is very much an undiscovered classic,that is very underrated in terms of its influence,and recognition, however it possesses musicianship that could easily compete with releases of its time
1990 was one of the best years for metal, with classics such as Rust in peace, Seasons in The Abyss, Within Suffering, and numerous others. It's a shame that Sadus's Swallowed in Black, an album of extreme complexity, and a colossal achievement in the Death/Thrash genre, was hardly noticed upon the time of its release. This is undoubtedly Sadus's masterpiece. More aggressive, more death metal oriented, and more technical than the debut. Although they did become even more sophisticated with their third album, it seems to lack the focus, and energy that makes this album so unique. This album was a huge improvement from the debut, being very technical, and boasting top notch musicianship. Some of the songs are progressive in nature, and the bands has an increased emphasis on incorporating technical death metal riffs in their music. In fact, it would not be far fetched to consider this an early death metal album.
While SIB is certainly not as straight forward as Illusion, their explosive debut, it still has a fair amount of intense songs that could easily put earlier material to rest. Black, for instance expands upon what Certain Death started, being more extreme, with a very haunting intro, that sounds like a bunch of demons chanting in the pits of hell; the perfect way to start an album of this kind. The atmospheric build-up to the second track, the cleverly named Man-Infestation, show Sadus new found ability to write epic compositions, and very intelligent thought provoking lyrics. Instead of talking about demons, serial killers, Satan, and other inmature, unrealistic topics, Sadus instead Have lyrics that concern everyday life in general, as well as politics. While the song start out slow, it explodes into a fury of aggression that makes even slayer sound tame in comparison. In addition, Songs like In Your Face show the band's unsurpassed aggression.
Other than speed, what really makes this album sick out from the bunch is its technicality, which is shown in virtually ever track on the album. Each riff is very concise and complex and very from hyper-fast tremolo riffing- to very challenging chords, which is where the band's talent is really shown. Songs like False Incarnation, and Good Rid'nz are a perfect example of this, with very complex time signatures, and unorthodox song structures, that bands like Megadeth would find hard to pull off. Probably the best example of Sadus's technical abilities is the epic song Arise, with numerous tempo changes, and mind boggling riffs at a Metallica-like song length of over 6 minutes in length. All these elements prove why Sadus was much more competent as musicians than any of the big four, providing far more advanced compositions, and complexity, although a bit less accessible.
Sadus is a band that is very well known for their bassist, Steve DiGiorgio, and while he's not the only reason why this band is great, he certainly does stand out from the other musicians because of the pummeling roar of his fretless bass, which demonstrates the mastery of throughout the album. Take for instance, the technical bass intro in the song Images, or the very audible, and roaring bass licks on the opener, Black. He sometimes play just as fast as the rest of the band, or independently, making the music more interesting.
The drummer, John Allen, who would later play for Testament is absolutely outstanding on this album, ranging from pure speed to a mid-paced groove, with complex drum patters, and a few blast-beats. He has ability to change speed at the drop of a hat, and has diverse drumming techniques only prove this more. Unlike on the first album, when the drummers only played at one tempo (fast), John shows what he's made of, with a multitude of speed, and patterns, best displayed on tracks like Powers Of Hate, starting off like an Exodus song, then changing into a rampaging Death/Thrash hybrid with ultra aggressive drumming. In addition, the drums are very crisp and clear sounding, much in part to the fact that the production was far superior to the debut. Higly recomended for those who want to hear the very orgins of technical death metal.