Sound — 9
I'm a huge fan of progressive music. I've been stumbling across all these backwater bands that should be skyrocketing to some form of fame and fortune. Lately I've been listening to this particular band, Sadist. Now when people hear 'Sadist' is a band they'd probably think 'Oh here we go, another death metal band'. This is far from the truth. Sadist are a very prog influenced death outfit. They focus on the different time signatures of Prog, but almost solely. No normal 4/4 beat here. Almost all the time, the songs on this album focus on a 7/8 style rythm or similar, with a few keeping to the usual 4/4. The sound is heavily influenced by Jazzy themes, suddenly breaking mid song for an off-the-hook solo (such as in the song 'Tearing Away') is a common occurance. They are also influenced by Middle Eastern music such as in the songs 'Excited and Desirous' and 'Jagriti' which create a more film-score effect. While unlike many progressive bands these days, Sadist only utilize a screaming technique in their heavier music which sounds similar to a more melodeath sound (though this is because A. their vocalist isnt a very good singer, as their 'Take me on' cover proves and B. They're not overly well known, even after nearly a 20 year history). What they lack in singer skills they make up for in other areas. An example is the song 'Tearing Away'. Its a very erratic, almost avant-garde style song that shifts between Cynic style Jazzy death metal to some soft and rather pleasent solo peices. These musicians are no slouches. The guitarist in particular has a very good soloing style and also writes most of the music and lyrics and performs the keyboard sections too, even at live shows. The songs themselves aren't particularly long, considering that most prog music has tracks that can last up to 14 minutes. Most songs finish around a strangely average time of 3:45-4 minutes. Tracklist: 01. Jagriti: a middle-eastern instrumental. Its the opener to the album and uses instruments such as the sitar. It starts of slow and calm, but quickley picks up into a more 'belly dancer' style speed. Its very nice on its own and a little decieving compared to the rest of the album. 02. One Thousand Memories: a more straight forward death metal style song, but not without its prog influences. Although the keyboards are a little 'Diagnosis: Murder', it doesn't take away from the Machine Head style groove/speed onsluaght. And like (early) Machine Head, little melody too, except from the chorus. The solo is blindingly quick, a genuine flurry of notes. 03. I Feel You Climb: a prog-heavy atmospheric intro starts off before a mindtwisting mixture of piano and bass comes in, with some death metal drum patterns following. Very pleasing to hear, although the song is made of these sections being repeated about 2 times before a very, very strange bridge that has a 'Lethargica' (Meshuggah) feel to it and an equally wierd solo that crosses between musical melody and random shredding. It ends very abruptly too. 04. Embracing The Form Of Life: the groovy intro will have you hooked, but the verse is a bit awkward to follow, and lyrics are a little wierd. I kept hearing the word 'Brunchies', which made me continuously hungry for some reason. The bridge/solo is relaxing though, in an Opeth/Blackwater Park style way and its very groovy. The Opeth sound continues until the ending, where the soft jazz intro is played again. Good stuff. 05. Tearing Away: definitly a favourite, one of the two songs with music videos. The piano/harpsichord intro is very atmospheric, having a keychange shift similar to Opeths 'The Drapery Falls' for the intro. However, the groovy verse is cut short suddenly for a quick solo, also abruptly ending and continuing with the odd time signature'd verse, until the almost wonderous chorus kicks in. The solo is a highlight of the album, being wildly wierd and melodic at the same time. The short length of the song almost left me feeling breathless, its that intense. 06. Kopto: another one of my favourites. Its another very soft instrumental, infact the music would be perfect for any recent Final Fantasy game. Some may think its 'full of cheese' as someone on this site put it, but its truly beautiful. 07. Excited and Desirous: despite having a rather 1890's name for.. well, you can guess, it really sets that sort of tone, the intro is similar to 'Jagriti' and has a more death metal face to it and the riffs are very SikTh-ish (think Summer Rain). Melody is a little lacking here for some very complex bass patterns and some very headbangable moments. The Middle Eastern Asian part of the intro carries on throughout the song, accompanied by the guitar. Not one of my favourites, but a good song none the less. 08. Different Melodies: as you can imagine, the song implies it all. The intro is something you'd find in a 1950's New York Jazz club, though the melodies do shift quite a lot, however, its quickly punctured by a sudden burst of guitar and harsh vocals, following a 'rolling' pattern in the drums. This then moves into a guitar/bass harmony thats brief but achingly good. Then it just blurs back to some heavyness.. halted by a piano passage, and then back to the 'rolling' drums. All in a very short space of time. It nearly has the same effect as listening to UneXpect, leaving you totally bemused by the rush of all those genres, styles and melodies going through your ears in such a short amount of time. 09. Invisible: a more full-on intro than the previous songs, the bass uses some sort of effect to make it sound.. odd. I'm not really sure what it is, but its quite complimentary to the grooves. The vocalist also tries some deeper sounding growls for a bit of the song. The melodies from this song come from the chords played before the bridge, and the bridge itself, which is another soft jazz/prog metal solo do-over and also very pretty. 10. Hope To Be Deaf: despite the name, its not something that mutilates your ears. The intro is rather dramatic, if a little samey and repetitive. However, it breaks to a faster bulldozer sounding verse. I was thinking 'The Blister Exists' when I was hearing it, oddly enough. The bridge is good though, the intro is played over some heavy chords before going into more bulldozer type riffs. A soft bit follows, which is another soft Opeth-like passage (infact its not too far from the bridge in 'Eaten' by Bloodbath). The bass is the melodic bit to it, and its very nice. The distorted guitar comes in soon after with another goovey riff and an Opeth style guitar harmony/solo playing over the bass. It ends on a (previously unused) distorted bass note. 11. Sadist: You can listen to the song Sadist, by the band Sadist, from the album Sadist. Anyway, The intro to this is rather different, it wouldn't sound too out of place in a 'Halo' game or a game of any sort really. Its only an instrumental, but it has a rather haunting feel to it, like the space ship from 'Event Horizon'. A nice end to a truly special album.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics are very difficult to describe. The band are italian, though I dont think theres a language barrier going on when writing lyrics. What makes it difficult is the way that they manage to not relate to anything at all. They focus on strange subjects that could sound like they are all interconnected, but I really have no idea. Heres an example from 'Tearing Away' and you can see what I mean: It howls no peace but pain, indisposition Man's shade from the black hood, tears still rain Tightened the chain To a wrist, where Greeting the last footstep, of a life never lived They're almost poetic in their layout. So poetic that I have no idea what the poem is about. However, although the lyrics are very strange, the vocals are decent. However, as mentioned, theres no real variation except from screaming and growling. The screams are decent though, not high enough to be black metal/core screams but not low enough to be considered growls. Although it would be nice to hear some clean vocals in this band, the melodies from the instruments more than make up for it, although some listeners may be turned away.
Overall Impression — 8
On the whole, I really do love this album. Although Sadist haven't kept this style consistant (they had a Slipknot sound at one point in the 90's), this album has really made me happy. Whats more, a new album is set for release this year: Good news all round. To compare Sadist is, as always, redundant. Prog bands are usually highly unique, the one thing that binds them together is the general idea of 'Wierd melodies, complexity, jazz influences' and such. If anything, its a much more death-y version of Cynic. But then again, there are still a lot of differences. I really enjoy this album, wether I'm relaxing or just looking for a headbang, I'll play this time and time again. The few things I don't like are: The vocals aren't very diverse, the structure of the songs are mostly the same template and in the true style of a sadist, the melodies are often interrupted abruptly and leave you a little bewildered, maybe even annoyed. Sadist are very special, if they had some clean vocals in the mix, it could be recommended to anyone in the metal scene. I'd also like to see these guys make it after almost 20 years of recording and performing.