SADISTIC DRIVE – Anthropophagy (2020)REVIEW

War crimes, starvation, retaliatory homicide, premeditated derangement, and the rare posthumous tribal ritual each explain the continued phenomenon of cannibalism these last hundred years but within the last thirty or so the trend on consumption of human flesh has changed quite drastically. Sure, you killed someone (likely a family member, based off of police reports) and you might as well cook them but what if anthropophagous delights were permitted, encouraged, and communal? — Crushed by a motorcycle accident and severed of nerve impulse, your foot is “alive” but dead weight enough to be amputated. Eat it!? Hell yes, invite ten of your closest friends and family to join in for an unforgettable, strangely therapeutic taco night. More and more people are choosing to eat their dead parts, any hanging bits loosened by trauma or disability, and the fine eastern Finnish folks in grind-punked death metal quartet Sadistic Drive are on the cutting edge of this revolutionary therapy with their first full-length album ‘Anthropophagy‘. The question remains, will their hack n’ slash ethos still engorge your gag response when the feast of flesh is too creepily consensual?

Formed between Coffincraft‘s Niklas Heiskanen and Bloodscape honcho Jusa Janhonen just a couple of years ago, Sadistic Drive are in the grand earliest traditions of extreme metal in Finland whether they’ve intended it or not. Sparks of Protected Illusion‘s hardcore punk-to-death/thrash evolution and Xysma‘s earliest all-in post-‘Reek of Putrefaction’ mutations inform their grimy, high-energy gait but, this could just be the result of the two founding member’s involvement in the Joensuu-area metalpunk & hardcore punk spheres between Joukkohauta and Obduktio. None of this context was readily evident when picking up their demo/rehearsal compilation ‘Street Cannibal Gluttony / Rehearsal 05/2019‘ last year which was probably more likely to ring a bell with fans of early Carbonized (see: ‘For the Security’) or fellow Finns such as Helsinki’s Cadaveric Incubator and Laitila-grinders Galvanizer. These folks have their own rhythmic sensibilities in hand and couldn’t be too closely compared to nearby friends, often swinging into mid-80’s hardcore bops between their crawling death metal stabs (see: “Acid Vomit”) without losing that sense of pure n’ filth-ridden garage death that makes their sound so endearingly trashed.

Rotten thrash, grisly hardcore punk, and the inevitable flood of auld grind energy are merely tools of the trade in this case. Sadistic Drive are a death metal band and though their reach beyond the mundane basics is thrillingly different what they’ve stewed in this ~half hour debut album is the vital essence of late 80’s/early 90’s death metal where the Scandinavian knack for kitchen sink compositional design rarely escaped the artist’s mid-20’s. They’ve quickly evolved beyond the expansion to a quartet, allowing more breathing room for riff ideas and packing in more muscular achievement. This manifests as a certain enthusiasm which I’d normally describe as confidence or aplomb but there isn’t that sense of side-eyed, stoner arrogance or feigned brutality that comes with a lot of gore-thrilling young-ass death metal bands today. In other words, it sounds like Sadistic Drive are having a good time while they’re killing it, never struggling through any of their oft-complex changes and frantic performance. Again this is in the tradition of a lot of underground late 80’s death metal where a group of kids might’ve been playing Cryptic Slaughter covers in ’88 and aping ‘Leprosy’ riffs by 1990.

If you can put up with a band having a good time ripping through classic punk-thrashed pure death metal songs (~1-3 minutes long) that are crammed with tales of gory horror and drug-addled insanity you’ll be in a good place with Sadistic Drive. I love it and could leave this record on all day and still get excited to hear the opening riff to “Ferox (Victim of Anthropophagous Tribe)”, the swinging whips and banging bass of “Acid Vomit” or the wretched crawls in the midst of “Internal Putrefaction”. Every song has a nugget, a spot that you can pull back into and love even more on repeat. Beyond that, ‘Anthropophagy’ represents all the shit I like about underground demo tape-digging throwback death metal today without the “bro, u st00pid 2?” bad faith ignorance worn as fashion. High recommendation.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
LABEL(S):La Caverna Records [CD]
Headsplit Records [Cassette]
RELEASE DATE:August 11th, 2020
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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