I really don’t understand how an album this good, progressively, has managed to escape my notice until now. Considering it was actually released before CYNIC’s “Focus”, it must have been a monumental inspiration for progressive Thrash/Death Metal today! What we have here is not too far removed from CYNIC, in fact, but with the added bonus of somewhat Black vocals, instead of grating robotics that no one wants to hear. And to top it all off, “Above The Light” is SADIST’s first album after having formed only two years previously!
The key word about the songwriting is definitely “atmosphere”, as there is just so much of it floating about, helped along by the original use of keyboards and even a harpsichord, which just manages to fit in so well, without sounding in any way like cheesy Power Metal. The lyrics are pure political thrash right down to the song titles and although that would usually make me recoil and flee for some Satanic Black Metal or more fantastical lyrics, I’m not actually that bothered by them. To be honest you can’t make out most of the words anyway, like you might be able to on a typical Thrash record from ANTHRAX or KREATOR and the vocal style as I mentioned border on Black Metal, as does the production slightly, in terms of the amount of reverb, but of course this makes for a great mood to the album.
To accompany the great scowling and growling and the sweet melodies, we also have some truly awe-inspiring guitar solos, both in terms of technicality and musicality, all punctuated with beautiful ambient acoustic guitar passages that seamlessly blend in to the heavy riffing, demonstrating that SADIST could well have inspired OPETH and I’m not just adding in the name to attract listeners. This album really is piece of historic genius. Highlight tracks would definitely be “Enslaver Of Lies” and also “Hell In Myself”. Overall, I really can’t think of anything bad to say about this album, except perhaps that the bonus tracks really aren’t that special, but it has everything an intelligent Death Metal album should and modern bands of the style owe a great deal of thanks to these pioneers of Metal. (Online March 20, 2006)