Hailing from Italy, death prog veterans, Sadist released their sixth full length release entitled “Hyena” in October of this year. Expectations were high for this album, considering it was the first release for the band in five years. Unfortunately, the band failed to meet these high expectations. I should preface this review by stating that I’m not the biggest fan of progressive metal, so there may be some bias. That said, I am capable of listening to all musical genres and rating them objectively. Despite my objectivity, however, Sadist still failed to deliver with “Hyena”.
For starters, I fail to hear how this album can be described as death metal. There was little, genuine aggression, no ugliness, and no brutality to be found on this album, (which, to me are the markers of great death metal). The production was all too clean, and the guitars seemed to be tuned to (gasp) standard E. Trevor Sadist’s vocals were more core than guttural, and frankly, kind of annoying, and the guitar solos, though technical, were far from the thrash-y licks you would expect on a death metal album. Calling Hyena death metal is frankly, and insult to the genre.
One, however, cannot deny that this album is progressive. But instead of going the way of early Opeth and producing something truly beautiful, Sadist put a really weird spin on prog and came up with a confusing sound. It’s almost like they messed up and called it prog as a default. Songs like “Bouki” can be described as choppy, with weird Mario Kart sounding interludes and odd samples of people speaking in a foreign language. Guitar solos are overly clean and filled with annoying arpeggios, and the symphonic parts in the background sounded like a soundtrack to a bad 80’s suspense film.
The only praise I can give this album is Alessio Spallarossa’s superior drum work. No, the drums don’t sound mean or ugly, but Spallarossa’s technique is truly exceptional. It’s clear he’s influenced by greats like Neil Pert. Overall, though, I must admit that this album was difficult to get through. Unless you’re a progressive fanatic, pass on this album.