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It's a bad first step... but a first step all the same - 60%

Inhuman_Abomination, October 29th, 2020

Death metal gets lumped into essentially 4 categories for me; life-changing, influential, guilty pleasure, and utterly forgettable. The first EP by Sadistic Embodiment falls between guilty pleasure and utterly forgettable, though leaning heavily toward the latter. The band itself is an amalgam of "status unknown" death metal and melodic death bands Death Toll Rising, Sonorous Odium, and Death Assembly.

One would assume that the original purpose of forming Sadistic Embodiment would have been to create a hybrid of those bands to some varying degree. That is not the case here, Sadistic is more of a stripped-down version of Death Toll Rising; very stripped down. The material on this EP rather points to the main objective of this band is to be more of a Six Feet Under's Maximum Violence brand of death metal. Early Six Feet Under definitely falls into the guilty pleasure folder, mostly because it's was just Obituary riffs with Chris Barns singing, and who really can hate that. Where Sadistic Embodiment quickly lose that quality; is the lack of dynamic undercurrents and crucial subtleties that made those early SFU albums enjoyable. All the tracks have the potential to be groovy chuggernauts, all the pieces are there to build them, but like so many bands early on, they have no clue of how to put them together. Save for the closing track 'American Ill', the band seems to start in second gear and never leave it. The two middle tracks 'Palliative Torture' and 'Self-Perpetuating Collapse Syndrome' are prime examples of tone-deaf song structures and leads. They do nothing to engage the listener; to the contrary, you find yourself wanting to do everything and anything else to escape the banality.

Having seen these songs played live, they do translate a bit better in a live setting, but the pedestrian way of how they constructed the songs still doesn't keep you watching a full set. As time has gone on, they have fixed most of the gaps in the writing department; it's just too bad that they didn't take what they had figured out from their previous bands and applied it here on this release.