Nader Sadek: In the Flesh

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Nader Sadek: In the Flesh
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Nader Sadek: In the Flesh
Black Metal, Death Metal
Season of Mist Records
May 17th, 2011
Release length: 29:54
Website
Nader Sadek is a band that is a little hard to comprehend. Nader Sadek himself was born is an Egyptian-born New York civilian who is known for his conceptual art including sculptures, makes and other elements used by various bands like Sunn O))) and Mayhem. This group is sort of a collaboration with him and a bunch of other well-established musicians including vocalist Steve Tucker (former Morbid Angel), Flo Mournier (Cryptopsy), and Rune Eriksen (Ava Inferi and former Mayhem). Added to that are various guest musician spots including Attila Csihar (Mayhem), Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation), Tony Norman (Monstrosity), Descructhor (Morbid Angel) and Nick McMaster (Krallice). Nader Sadek, however, is credited as the songwriter for this album, and does not make an appearance in the music or vocals, as well as is the producer of the recording. The whole concept of the album, musically and lyrically according to the press release, is “humanity’s relationship with petroleum and how this exhumation of ancient life forms serves as a self-destructive fuel to society’s greed”. Now, with all that established, it is important to also note that Season of Mist Records completely failed to include any artwork for the artist Nader Sadek other then the front artwork, and did not even include the lyrics to the album, which, clearly, become one of the whole focal points of this entire release in the first place! So, without any real way to follow along with the artistic integrity and conceptual stance of the album, how does this album stand up with so much Metal fame behind it?

There is definitely a strong Morbid Angel presence in the music of this album, but it takes on a stronger Black Metal presence, essentially becoming a mixture of that band, and even what some could see as Mayhem, but at times also has a bit of Egyptian geographical musical input in the chords as well. “Petrophilia” is the perfect example of this, as the latter aspect of the song has some more Middle Eastern-sounding riffs coupled against some intense Blackened Death Metal with deep yet commanding vocals one might associate more with Dismember or Morbid Angel, without being too gutteral. The songs themselves often come off a little more chaotic, and sometimes don’t really have much of a structure, feeding off the twisted artistic genius of Nader Sadek himself. This twisted musical logic follows every track on the album, and the many shorter interlude or introductory tracks, like “Awakening”, “Exhaust Capacitor”, and “Rusted Skin”, do their best to distort reality with the music and effects utilized.

The vocals are rather clear, and for the most part can be understood, though sometimes they become deep or just drowned out by the rather loud music. With this, if you don’t have the lyrics, you can quickly become lost in the translation of the events going on in the conceptual piece. Sometimes you can jump back in and kind of figure out what is happening, since this whole this isn’t necessarily a giant story from what I’m gathering lyrically, but it becomes an album that clearly is meant to be followed closely more then just listened to casually. “Soulless” is proof of this. This is the longest track, and while the general idea of corruption from greed towards the supply and demand of petroleum is clearly present and understood in the clearer vocals, there’s clearly more going on lyrically, especially given the track length and amount of vocal work done for this track. The guitar solo is quite impressive as well, and the overall intensity remains true to the impact that “Petrophilia” has, but this one seems to be more of a traditional Black Metal meets Death Metal track, leaving behind much of the chaotic sound and elements for much of the song that made the earlier tracks stand out. They do make another appearance around the half way point of the song, but it’s only for a short time, and only to really push the guitar solo into a far more extreme and impressive existence. This song does transition to the next actual track a lot nicer then others, making the shift between the interlude track “Rusted Skin” to “Mechanic Idolatry” a lot smoother and natural compared to others, making it seem like the tracks are actually conjoined to one another.

Nader Sadek does not utilize any kind of interlude track towards the closing of the album however, and it feels a little naked without it. “Mechanic Idolatry” and “Sulffer” transition into one another nicely, but a small bridge between the two would have worked well considering they had appeared before hand. “Nigredo in Necromance” is a strong closing instrumental, and it seems to end in the same compositional manner it started, two song and one interlude, but overall it’s an intense, faster paced song that hammers away at the listener without letting up, and eventually comes to a cold, desolate outro that slows down the music and, in it’s own right, comes off a little post-apocalyptic and melancholic. Either way, this is more a nitpick towards the general flow of the album, and the songs towards the end feel a little more intense and even slightly stronger in the long run compared to the earlier tracks, but there is also that loss of chaos in the music. There is also a rather poor shift into “Nigredo in Necromance” as it seems to abruptly cut off the fading “Sulffer”, shaking the foundation a bit towards the end. Aside those smaller elements, there’s the overall volume levels. The instruments are much louder then the vocals, and while they can sometimes be audible, as mentioned earlier, if they go too low, they almost immediately become drowned out by the music, especially if it’s chaotic, or just faster in general.

Other then that, the album is great. I really wish the lyrics to this release were supplied considering it’s clearly a driving force behind a conceptual album, but this is one of the problems with today’s digital file service for the press. Despite the lack of some critical elements (though not the first by any label, and most certainly not the last), the overall experience was still great. The music was intense from start to finish, but the vibe of the album felt a little incomplete by the end of the song, as if the music was building up to something that never quite happened. Aside that and the aforementioned stand out and cosmetic issues, the release is a success and really comes off musically twisted. The transitions make the songs flow nicely through each other, and really makes everything with the album sound natural, even the Middle Eastern influences that are more subtle, as well as hidden in the mix. If you’re looking for something that is just solid musicianship, then this is a great place to start looking as this is simply an intense album fueled by legends and truly artistic individual.

01. Awakening – 1:40
02. Petrophilia – 4:18
03. Of This Flesh (Novus Deus) – 3:35
04. Exhaust Capacitor – 0:39
05. Soulless – 6:33
06. Rusted Skin – 0:50
07. Mechanic Idolatry – 4:41
08. Sulfer – 3:39
09. Nigredo in Necromance – 4:01
Overall Score: 9/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records.