Review: Sadistik Forest – Morbid Majesties

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Everyone’s favorite mustachio’d bear laid the groundwork for what’s going to be an absolute monster of an album drop, when he premiered Sadistik Forest‘s “Decades of Torment Then Death” back in March. Did you enjoy the song? If so, then you can rest assured that the entirety of their second LP Morbid Majesties matches — no, exceeds — the hype which Mr. Bearikson helped generate. These four Finnish (is it really a surprise any more?) death metallers deliver the goods beyond anything I could have anticipated.

Have you noticed how some people describe an album apologetically, as if to soften the blow for a skeptical listener who might not typically enjoy it? I’m talking about the description “meat and potatoes death metal”, which indicates that the band in question doesn’t perform a lot of flashy maneuvers or compose ridiculously-structured songs that would resemble the plot from a movie like Primer. The latest offering from Sadistik Forest is a quick and efficient bludgeoning death metal record that – while on the surface may feel like a “meat and potatoes death metal album” – possesses plenty of nuance and great qualities that will help it stand out from the pack this year (no apologies required).

The first detail up for discussion is the guitar tone. Listening to Morbid Majesties on my Klipsch S6 earbuds was similar to putting on glasses for the first time, it opened up a whole new world of nuance in the sound that might otherwise have been missed. That. Guitar. Tone. The first few second of “Decades of Torment Then Death” offers an isolated guitar riff to show you exactly what I mean. It’s a delightful intersection point of digital and analog, a sweet spot that I would describe as a moderately filthy crunch riff drizzled with a light quantized coating. The vocal style is often similar to our friends Winds of Leng with the dual-wielding of shrieks and growls — listen to track five “Zero Progress” for maximum enjoyment. The bass work has plenty of character, and is given enough space to shine through; especially on the groovier tracks like “The Hour of Dread” and the nine-minute closer “Bones of a Giant”. Drums are rather loud in the mix, which works quite well in the album’s favor because there’s a plethora of different styles to be found among all eight songs, from the waltz on the opening track to the blast-beating mayhem of “Destructive Art”.

 

Morbid Majesties consistently reminds me of Cannibal Corpse‘s later career output, from Kill on up to the present. The opening track “Morbidly Majestic” wastes no time ramping up speed and even tosses a high-energy guitar solo your way 10 seconds in; all laid over a Mazurkiewicz-ian drum pattern. About half the songs on Morbid Majesties bludgeon at a slower pace, very similar CC’s “Scourge of Iron”. Check out the mid-paced slaughter of “Monsters of Death”, which pulls a 180 and doubles the tempo in time for the guitar solo about two-thirds of the way through:

Earlier I used the qualifier “quick” because these eight songs will only cost 35 minutes of your life; and I used the word “efficient” because there’s not a wasted second. The whole experience is over in a short enough burst that I am thrilled to the replay button right after its conclusion. When an album begs for repeated listens like Morbid Majesties does, without ever overstaying its welcome with filler, all of my attention is free to focus on the details. Combine the musical skill and prowess of each member of Sadistik Forest with an excellent mix that perfectly highlights each of those performances, a no-nonsense attitude to song composition, PLUS the fact that they’re from Finland… and we have ourselves a 5-star album.

Purchase Morbid Majesties here, it releases May 25th on Transcending Obscurity Records (<3).

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