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Bloody Brilliant - 96%

moonlapse_vertigo99, July 29th, 2007

My friend introduced 8 Foot Sativa to me when I was 11 with this album, and it marked a landmark in my life: it was the first metal album I ever owned.

At the time, of course, I had never heard anything like it. There was no singing! The vocals range from a mid pitched growl to a high shriek, and are vastly improved from their previous album, Hate Made Me, as I later discovered. The lyrics are well written, and fit in well with the songs rhythm-wise, making them catchy and great fun to shout back at your speakers.

Onto the guitars: the solos are well phrased and not overly technical, and the riffs are just fucking classic! Catchy, melodic, inspired, and well worked together into "regular" length songs, they are the main part of 8 Foot Sativa's music. The bass (the first thing you hear on the record in fact) is solid as it should be, the drums are tight and feature impressive double bassing, and though the guitar tone isn't perfect, the sound on this album is just right for the type of music.

Standout songs include For Religions to Suffer, Destined to be Dead, Season for Assault and Chelsea Smile, the latter two of which I had the privilege of seeing them play live; they're real headbangers.

Over 3 years on and now a metal enthusiast (not surprising when this is the first metal album you hear is it?), I find it hard to categorize this album into a specific genre, but my best try would be Thrash/Melodic Death (not the Gothenburg kind!)

I would definitely recommend this for anyone looking for something not overly different, but heavy, catchy, classic, and unique in its own way. 96/100 from me.

Season For Assault - 90%

Vim_Fuego, August 6th, 2004

In 2002, 8 Foot Sativa produced New Zealand’s album of the year in ‘Hate Made Me’. It was heavy and brutal, and achieved a level of success never seen before in the New Zealand metal scene. How does a band follow up such an album?

These guys decided the best way to follow it up was by making the album of the year for 2003 as well. ‘Season For Assault’ is heavier, more brutal, and more successful than its predecessor, and it has been out for less than a month.

Forget the drug inspired name, because there is nothing laid back or relaxed here, whatsoever. 8 Foot Sativa deal in musical pain and aggression of a sort not often seen in this day and age. Where ‘Hate Made Me’ occasionally delved into hardcore and even nu-metal, ‘Season For Assault’ skirts the fine line between thrash and death metal, something akin to a heavier version of The Haunted or Strapping Young Lad.

Drummer Sam Sheppard is a revelation, hitting harder, faster and more complex than his predecessor. The double kicks are smooth, and the tempo no longer suffers during complicated passages. Gary Smith’s guitar crunches and churns like many an axe wielder can only dream. Brent Fox’s bass rumbles in the background, showing the odd well-placed flourish. The big improver however, is vocalist Justin Niessen. Seen by some in the past as the weak link in this powerhouse outfit, Niessen has strengthened and developed his voice, and now has a distinct and versatile sound immediately recognisable as his own. Vocally, ‘Hate Made Me’ was effective but lacked depth. Niessen has now created a cleaner voice to run counter to his screech/shout.

It is hard to pick a standout track on the album, such is the overall quality and focus of the songs on offer. There are no “Cocktease”-style fillers this time round. Opener “What’s Lost Is Tomorrow” hints at Napalm Death’s “Breed To Breathe”, particularly in the slower passages. Closer “Gutless”, is an out and out, neck snapping headbanger, bristling anger and violence. Far from being over-enthusiastic hyperbole, there just aren’t any crap tracks on offer. To truly demonstrate how far the band has progressed, check the unlisted re-recording of “Hate Made Me”. The original sounds primitive by comparison.

Young metal fans take note: forget pretenders like Slipknot, Disturbed and Staind. 8 Foot Sativa is the way of the future. 8 Foot Sativa is the real thing.