Review Summary: Improving both lyrically and technically, Sadistik releases some of the best tracks of his career, in his least consistent package to date.“the day after he finished recording 2013’s critically acclaimed 'Flowers For My Father', Sadistik (born Cody Foster) began writing the new record with a head full of acid, left field 60s & 70s cinema and palpable frustration with the world around him.”
“Ultraviolet peels back the layers behind Foster’s synesthesia (seeing sound as color or otherwise mixing of the senses) and reveals the colorful terrain just out of reach in the daytime.”
For many of Cody Foster's fans, these were the first pieces of information to be read regarding the upcoming album. On both Sadistik's bandcamp and the website promoting this album, you can find a simple review from which the 2 quotes above were taken from. Many Sadistik fans approached the new album with trepidation; an artist known for extremely personal and intimate records, as well as giving away 20,000 copies of his last album, is now releasing an album written under the influence of psychadelics about the effects the drugs have on him? The confusion is only exacerbated when looking at the guest list, with Lotte Kestner returning and Eyedea contributing from beyond the grave, mixed in with artists like Tech N9ne and Sticky Fingaz. There are many directions this mixed bag of contributions and subject matter could have taken, but for the most part Foster has succeeded in bringing it all together to craft yet another personable album with drive and passion behind it.
The first notable change in Ultraviolet
is the lyrical content. Right from the concise 2 minute opener 'Cult Leader', Foster drenches his verse with more metaphors and literary references than you'd find through the entirety of Flowers for my Father
. Alluding to the late Eyedea, Napoleon, biblical tales, Peter Jackson's directorial inconsistencies, Canadian wrestlers, horror novels, cult leaders and real world criminals all within 60 seconds may seem overly ambitious. It can be difficult to fully appreciate some songs found here without putting in some research (Ultraviolet
is a movie/literature buff's wet dream), but the tracks are still extremely enjoyable on a surface level, and the majority of allusions refer to fairly well known subjects that wont slip by an intelligent listener. This makes the obscure references a token of appreciation to the more hardcore fans who will enjoy picking the album apart and learning everything they can. The album walks a very fine line, but its depth and intricacy never become overbearing or convoluted, thanks to Sadistik's steady hand.
The other most immediate improvement made since Sadistik's sophomore album is in the vocal delivery. While Flowers For My Father
occasionally suffered from whiny delivery and weak verses ('Snow White' being the biggest offender), Foster has stepped up with a more mature and consistent delivery, as well as improving the tricks in his repertoire. The most obvious example of this is found in 'Blue Sunshine', incorporating his most tongue-twisting use of assonance to date, as well as a solid stop-start second verse unlike anything he's done before. The album's production also deserves mention here, because it has a large impact on the more mature delivery. Mostly ditching the sweeping synths and grandiose compositions, the subdued atmosphere on Ultraviolet
provides a creeping backdrop for the less intimate lyrical content and darker delivery.
Despite improvements across the board technically speaking, the biggest problem is cohesion. The direction taken here makes cohesion paramount to the albums success, and blunders can be found at many points. 'Death Warrant' contains the most poorly chosen guest spots of any Sadistik release, 'Orange' provides bright synths that contrast too strongly with Foster's vocal delivery and 'Into The Night' kills the momentum built by the previous 2 songs, which would have benefited from having its introduction cut down significantly. Though these problems are somewhat minor, the impact they have on the albums atmosphere is enormous, and it damages the overall product. While 'Blue Sunshine', 'Chemical Burns' and album highlight 'The Rabbithole' are some of the best individual tracks to be found in his discography, the album as a whole is a disappointing step backwards from his second album.
is a departure from Sadistik's typical musical style, yet still succeeds without alienating fans. The lyrical depth and signature deliveries can still be found, they've simply improved and been expanded upon. Though the album doesn't reach the emotional heights of his previous releases, or stand as a cohesive and purposeful whole, it remains a quality addition to an impressive catalogue of releases. It's not hard to feel as though Sadistik has a classic album hiding in him somewhere, but this isn't it yet.