Review: Sadist – Hyaena

Posted: January 11, 2016 in Reviews
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‘Hyaena’ is the long awaited new record from Italian progressive death metal legends Sadist, out now on Scarlet Records. I first got into Sadist, who I’ve always felt were forgotten under the Pestilence/Atheist/Cynic holy trinity of prog death, on their stunning ‘Above the Light’. ‘Hyaena’ is more of the classic Sadist sound, based on the African myth of the hyena, who is supposed to be ridden by the Devil.

‘Hyaena’ is a little bit more experimental than previous releases, incorporating ethnic and tribal sounds into a pounding death metal canvas. Musically, tracks like the serpentine opener ‘The Lonely Mountain’ are stunningly intricate, varied and in parts charged with emotive instrumentation. The sleekly jagged prog death of ‘Pachycrocuta’ is an early highlight, with its graceful synth lines really adding a sense of depth.

Sadist haven’t gone full on prog, like Cynic of ‘Kindly Bent to Free Us’ style. There’s plenty of heavy moments, and whle they don’t always induce severe headbanging, it is hard to argue with the crunch of ‘Bouki’ or the ravage of ‘Eternal Enemies’. But the balancing is superb. For every section of brutality, you’ve got moments like the glacial intro to ‘The Devil Riding the Evil Steed’, or the gloriously laidback ethereal ‘Gadawan Kura’.

‘Hyaena’ is a stunning achievement in terms of progressive death metal. It’s a record that has that classic early 90s sound, but embeds it into a tribal background and creates an ambitious yet fully realised album of progressive, exciting music. Fantastic to see more evidence that Italy is starting to become a hotbed for quality death metal.


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