Album of the week 07-2012: Sadus – A Vision Of Misery

Interviewing Metal bassist extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio last week made me reach back to the back catalog of his first band Sadus. And if there’s one particular album that receives a regular spin here, it’s their third album ‘A Vision Of Misery’. Of course, the viciously Thrashing hyper speed predecessors ‘Illusions’ and especially ‘Swallowed In Black’ are mind blowing Thrash albums in their own right, but this is where the Californians truly rose above the average. And not just DiGiorgio, all of them.

However, due to the slightly lower tempos on this album, I do think this is the first ever album where DiGiorgio really shines. He prove his qualities as an unconventional bass player on the previous two albums already, but what he plays here transcends any notion of what a bass player in Thrash Metal should sound like. Often taking on melodies outside of the rhythm and even when playing the supportive role, mixed in much more prominently than on any other Thrash album at the time, this is most likely the album that opened up many doors for Steve DiGiorgio. His tenure alongside my hero Chuck Schuldiner in Death to mention one.

Let’s not forget the other Sadudes though. Darren Travis and Rob Moore are a guitar duo that are probably even tighter an more precise than Slayer and Exodus were notorious for at often even higher tempos and those tempos are always expertly kept by Jon Allen, a better drummer than many much more lauded contemporaries. In addition, Travis’ vocals may sound less frenzied than on the previous efforts, but every bit as powerful and so fucking scary that it’s possibly nightmare inducing sometimes.

Although there’s only two years between ‘Swallowed In Black’ and ‘A Vision Of Misery’, the progression the band has made suggests a much longer interval. Previous efforts at slightly more progressive songs have been relatively successful, but the way the band moves into full-on progressive Thrash with ‘Facelift’, ‘Deceptive Perceptions’ and closing track ‘Echoes Of Forever’ is unbelievable. Or even the still relatively straightforward raging of opening track ‘Through The Eyes Of Greed’. The songs have stronger structures, there’s a build-up in tension that never lets your attention fade and despite every member being an expert at their instruments, the musicianship never gets in the way of the actual songs and – sometimes forgotten in technical Thrash – the hungry aggression.

For a healthy dose of variation, there are songs like ‘Valley Of Dry Bones’, ‘Machines’ and ‘Under The Knife’, which retain the level of aggression displayed on ‘Swallowed In Black’, yet in a slightly more intelligent matter. In other words, this album is sure to please the old school headbanger, but also will inspire the guy that likes the boundless viciousness of Thrash Metal, but longs for something unique and different, like yours truly does.

Despite Steve DiGiorgio’s busy schedule, Sadus is still in existence today, albeit as a trio; Rob Moore has since left the band. They continue to make quality open minded Thrash albums, but nowhere more than ‘A Vision Of Misery’ have they found a perfect balance between speed, aggression, technicality and mature songwriting. As such, ‘A Vision Of Misery’ is the ultimate proof that musically maturing doesn’t necessarily have a boring result. Now be amazed and rage!

Recommended tracks: ‘Through The Eyes Of Greed’, ‘Valley Of Dry Bones’, ‘Echoes Of Forever’, ‘Slave To Misery’, ‘Facelift’

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