Inspired by the revival of Possessed in 2007 Finnish death/thrashers Sadistik Forest kicked off their discography with a wet dump down the pant leg with their self-titled 2010 album. Clunky mid-paced riffs, spastic chugging, and craw-crammed vocals all reeked of pure amateur hour. Their second album in 2012 fared much better with thrash influenced triplet chugging abound and plenty of thuggish mid-paced half-burped growl-core. Some of Matti Salo and Antti Heikkinen‘s Bolt Thrower influenced guitar work did shine through and more or less saved ‘Death, Doom, Radiation’ from being another dumper. Whatever the band were aiming for on those first two records it was basically mediocre and bassist/vocalist and Miasma editor Markus Makkonen joined Hooded Menace on bass (also live vocals) from 2012 until 2016 or so. ‘Darkness Drips Forth’ is a fantastic record and his presence was very strong on Hooded Menace‘s tour for that album. During this hiatus Sadistik Forest more or less made a notable leap in energy, riffs and execution that lead to this third album ‘Morbid Majesties’ being far and away their best release to date.
When “Morbidly Majestic” cracks open the album it’s pit-circular ‘Heartwork’ inspired riffing and wailing guitar solos immediately invoke Scandinavian death/thrash leagues more than the timid waffling riffs of ‘Death, Doom, Radiation’. It is immediately obvious that the band are aiming for their own off-kilter style now that their songwriting and performances are up above standard garage band metal standards. Their love for classic death metal, thrash metal as well as black metal and melodic death metal all fuse into a sound that just slightly escapes that realm of Dew-Scented and HateSphere style melodeath/thrash; Sadistik Forest does so with the sort of wobbly lead guitar work that started to show on the previous album.
The overall riff landscape here is dotted with tributes the greats that are just subtle enough to fit into this new bombastic production sound and tighter performances. My personal favorite is the mid-paced Bolt Thrower-esque “The Hour of Dread” that sounds ripped from the second half of “…For Victory”. I have to admit as much as I love the new emphasis on speed and classic death/thrash riffing Sadistik Forest still have a knack for the mid-paced stuff and this helps the project feel related to their material pre-hiatus. ‘Morbid Majesties’ takes several tips from the classics outside of nods to Slayer (“Monsters of Death”), Sepultura (“Destructive Art”) and Morbid Angel throughout and each song more or less showcases at least one huge riff or lead guitar run that conveys a piece of their own musical personality. It isn’t a perfect record at all, though, as a few songs are more or less throwaway. But the 35 minute length of the LP means no one song sticks around long enough to become offensive or skippable.
The one track that doesn’t really pay off is “Bones of a Giant” as it reaches past nine minutes with a full four minute intro that could have been replaced with another song that wasn’t a bunch of noodling and stomp-ass chugging. The back half of the track is great, more of that wobbly trilled riffing and thrashing stuff that makes the record special, but the first 6 minutes are kinda bullshit as an ineffective build. Otherwise this is a sharp and energetic death/thrash album with a multitude of classic influences shining through Sadistik Forest‘s now-established signature sound. “Morbid Majesties” is a grand improvement and a general refinement beyond their previous works that defied my own expectations by cranking the quality well above par.
|Released||May 25, 2018|
|BUY/LISTEN on Transcending Obscurity Records’ Bandcamp!||Follow Sadistik Forest on Facebook|
Reanimation of soulless ones. 3.75/5.0
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