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Nader Sadek is a visual artist that’s known for his collaboration with Mayhem and Sunn O))) that now ventures off into the music world even deeper with his album, In The Flesh. His demented mind provides for the concept and names like Flo Mounier, Rune Eriksen and Steve Tucker provide for the aural assault. Interested?
This is a strange project from a strange man. Nader Sadek is known for his twisted mind and the way he brings nightmares into physical form. Now this same guy wanted to make a death metal album so you can just imagine how that should sound. Surrounding himself by such talented musicians makes his task seem much easier, but as we all know talent isn’t everything as you need to put some soul and thought on songwriting.
First let’s talk about the concept of this album. Using the extraction of petroleum as an analogy for humanity’s greed and self-destructive patterns, Nader sets the stage for a conceptual album that centres on those same thoughts. How far can we go and how much can we destroy in the name of money? The cover art surely impresses as one would expect and the mix of organic and inorganic, alien and human, plant and animal makes for a great album cover. H. R. Giger is the name that comes to mind.
Now onto the music itself, this album is actually pretty short, clocking under thirty minutes and having one intro and two interludes which makes for only six actual songs. And what better place to start than “Petrophilia” with its blackened riff bursting open accompanied by Flo’s brutal drumming. The first noticeable thing here is the very present Morbid Angel vibe, namely of the Formulas era of the band. But you can also hear a bit of newer Behemoth with some Crpytopsy styled drumming here and there. The song twists and turns like the strange beast that it is and Steve’s deep gurgling provides for some good moments. Fans of Blasphemer’s demented playing style will love this song. “Of This Flesh (Novus Deus)” follows ensue and so does the festival that these three musicians give us. They seem pretty happy as if they were just jamming together with all of them providing with something from each one of the bands they played in. The atmosphere during the chorus is really creepy as there are some background chants and Steve’s voice is terrifying.
A small interlude precedes the longest track on the album “Soulless”, which again features a blackened riff and good drum fills before it bursts out into Morbid Angel worship. And herein lies the main problem with this album! It has great musicians, good riffs and songs and a great concept, but it sounds too much like the individual bands of its members. There’s also a very subtle Behemoth vibe going on under the surface which is more evident during the Mesopotamic-style leads. This makes for an interesting combination of sounds as all of those are great bands, but the fact is that this albums fails to differentiate itself from the works of those same bands.
The interludes enhance the dark and eerie feel the album has, sounding mostly like fluid oozing which is much in line with the concept of the album. “Sulffer” pummels you down with more of Blasphemer’s demented guitar work and proves to be one of the best tracks here. I would like to know who does the bass on this album because he really does some great work here, especially during Blasphemer’s leads. The album then ends almost as fast as it started with an unrelenting surge of brutality and dark eerie riffs that are greatly complemented by Steve’s voice. The production is quite good although it seems to be a bit overkill during Flo’s fastest parts where the bass drum loses some definition. The bass is present enough and the guitar sound is amazing.
This is an interesting project and it’s bound to please fans of the already mentioned bands. You won’t find much Cryptopsy or its technicality here, except for some fills and rolls that Flo uses. You won’t find much Mayhem except for some of the more dissonant and crazy riffs or leads that Blasphemer puts out. You will find maybe a bit too much of Morbid angel though, but intertwined with the bits and pieces that the other members bring to the table, and a bit of Behemoth-style riffing, you can actually spend some quality thirty minutes listening to this album. In the end it’s a good rehashing of great bands and has some good ideas in it. Alas it lacks the originality to differentiate itself from the bands of its members, and it loses itself in worshipping those same bands. Don’t expect anything you haven’t heard before as you won’t get it. But if you’re in for a decent effort and you like the names involved you won’t be disappointed because they all deliver.
Originally written for and posted at Riff Magazine