Sadist – Spellbound
Release Date: 09/11/2018
Running Time 38:44
Review by Chris Galea
Apart from “Tribe” (1995), which I have long considered to be the band’s magnum opus, the output from Sadist has been somewhat chequered. But the band truly has a unique sound – akin to other luminaries such as Atheist, Pestilence, Obscura and Nocturnus, Sadist forge a Death Metal that is highly refined on a technical level but use keyboards to accentuate the music’s heaviness and provide a spruce of atmosphere. Before spinning this disc, I feel a degree of optimism but would “Spellbound” provide a rant-free listening experience? I take a deep breath and dive in….
The first thing that needs mentioning is that each song in “Spellbound” is inspired by a different Alfred Hitchcock film thriller. Some are based on well-known films such as “Psycho” or “Rear Window”. Others are based on obscure films from the silent-movie era, such as “The Mountain Eagle” and “Downhill”. Incidentally “Mountain Eagle” is lost (the BFI is still searching for one copy of it) so I wonder on what material Sadist based their song of the same name.
All these Hitchcockian elements, which Sadist infuse into their songwriting, add a certain intrigue to the album’s music. This is particularly obvious in the opening track, ‘39 Steps’. The album has some virtuoso-quality bass lines, such as in the title-track, which is also an excellent song. “Spellbound” also boasts some top quality guitar shredding – in this context, ‘Stage Fright’ and ‘Rear Window’ spring to mind. ‘Notorius’ is an intriguing instrumental track that enriches the album’s dynamics.
The way many of the album’s songs end abruptly enforce the notion that “Spellbound” was meant to be one distinct entity rather than an album of several songs. The album itself is rather short but I suppose that that is preferable to having weak material mar the album. Ironically, “Spellbound” doesn’t have any track that really stands out from the rest.
So yes, despite some very minor things, “Spellbound” is a superb album and a refreshing take on the Death Metal genre.
1. 39 Steps
2. The Birds
4. Rear Window
5. Bloody Bates
7. Stage Fright
8. I’m the Man Who Knew Too Much
10. The Mountain Eagle
Alessio Spallarossa – drums
Andy Marchini – bass, vocals
Tommy Talamanca – guitars, keyboards
Trevor Nadir – vocals
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