Review Summary: That rarest of rap records, displaying a human vulnerability often masked in hiphop and intricate lyricism that so few MCs are capable of in a post- Micheal Larsen era.
Flowers for my Father is, in the words of the artist, the true follow-up to 2008's The Balancing Act and chronicles Sadistik's growth as a musician, lyricist and person.
'Petrichor' finds him on familiar ground, the introduction reminiscent of his debut CD, which gradually whirs a Kid Called Computer beat into action that wouldn't have sounded out of place on 2010's The Art of Dying. At the end of the track, Cody espouses a heart-wrenching monologue on the death of his father, and how it has affected him whch serves as a reference point for the rest of the album.
If the opening track was vintage Sadistik, he soon strays out of his comfort zone. 'Russian Roulette' sees him going toe-to-toe with one of his confessed heroes 'Cage', telling the story of a mentally unstable girl who hurts herself to get her lover's attention, using Poe and Kubrick as reference points over possibly the strongest beat on the album - BSBD providing the perfect backdrop to Cody's storytelling and Palko's comparatively skeletal verse.
Having built a career on first person narratives, Cody later continues the story of his troubled lover on 'Snow White', demonstrating a rapid-fire machine gun delivery first attempted on 'Angel Eyes', refined on 'Higher Brain' and now perfected on this effort. Sandwiched between the two is the finished version of an already famous Sadistik verse on City in Amber, delivered over a beautifully crafted BSBD classical composition echoing a 70s gangster film score.
'The Beast' sees Sadistik tackle a recurring theme of depression, presumably after his break-up with 'Snow White'. Cody describes himself as a "beast", which serves as a metaphor for his struggle within himself, concurrently with the 'beast-like' manner with which he attacks the beat with his dazzlingly complex lyricism painting a bleak and unrelenting picture of a man trapped in a web of his own spinning. 'The Beast' for the first time on the album shows Cody unrestrained by the structure of the song and just 'go off on one' in the manner of 'Absolution', a trick he later repeats with 'Seven Devils'.
The Cunninlynguists assisted 'Kill the King' is as strong a first single as you could expect with water-tight rhymes over killer Kno beat, whereas Raised by Wolves and Eric G providing a moodier backdrop to what feels like more of a free-write on 'Song for the End of the World', interposed by a Czeslaw Milosz poem.
Eric G provides a sublime backdrop to the following two songs about Cody first gaining ('Palmreader') and losing ('Micheal') someone special. Cody abandons the complex patterns in favour of raw emotional honesty; the former an ode to a new lover, the latter a poignant tribute to a close friend, collaborator and mentor.
Andreikelos, the forgotten man of this album's production, serves up an instrumental highlight for 'Seven Devils' to match arguably Cody's strongest lyrical performance on the album. Gems such as "the apple of my eye she was rotten to the core, so I threw her in the trash where she belonged" and "my eyes adjust in size when the light erupts, I like the touch smell taste and the sight of blood" are throwaway lines that would be lyrical centrepieces for most of Sadistik's contemporaries.
Eric G provides sparse backdrops for the lush Lotte Kestner and Astronautalis assisted 'Exit Theme' and the fatalistic and contemplative 'Melancholia', which displays a wholly more positive, 'glass half full' mentality than displayed earlier in the album in songs such as 'The Beast'. This philosophical transformation reaches it's zenith on album closer 'A Long Winter', as Cody explains "Pieces of me tend to die but I can miss the funeral, I fall into the view that my life is simply beautiful". This statement marks a psychological end to the journey that Sadistik embarked upon since the passing of his father in 2007 and the bleak monologue at the end of the opening track of the album.
Throughout the album he traces his journey through a 'long winter' to the point where he can see daylight again and the world is a beautiful place once more. And at the end of it all, Sadistik has a remarkable work of art to show for it, displaying a human vulnerability often masked in the world of hiphop and an intricacy of lyricism that so few MCs are capable of in a post-Micheal Larsen era. 'Flowers for my Fathers' is that rarest of rap records that batters the listeners spirit into submission only to build them back up with a renewed hope for hiphop music and life in general.