Sadistik Exekution - The Magus (1991)Release ID: 12020

Sadistik Exekution - The Magus (1991) Cover
Sonny Sonny / December 26, 2021 / Comments 0 / 1

This is the debut album from Aussie death-thrashers, Sadistik Exekution and although it was recorded in 1988 various issues plagued it's release and so it didn't actually see light of day until 1991. This is a great example of 1980's extreme metal, exhibiting raw aggression and an irrepressible enthusiasm and combining it with decent technical ability for some pretty brutal stuff considering it's year of recording. The production of course is for shit, but that only adds to the charm for me, increasing the underground appeal and ensuring it's adherents remain poseur-free! Anyway, if you can get past the production issues (and I've certainly heard plenty worse) then there is much to appreciate here and a big plus from the production is that it allows Dave Slave's terrific bass playing to rise to the surface and get the notice it deserves, as well as, intentionally or not, lending the whole thing a kind of war metal vibe. It also seems like there is a quite noticable difference in the recording quality of some of the tracks, suggesting at least a couple of different sessions were involved in getting the album down on tape.

In founder and singer Rok I think I have discovered one of my favourite extreme metal vocalists. His savage growl is pitched just perfectly, somewhere between death metal growl and black metal shriek, and sounds fittingly menacing and evil and suits this material astonishingly well. The guitar riffs are another casualty of the piss-poor production, but the Kerry King-ish solos still cut through the mire like a sabre slash. The song-writing is pretty varied, the rules for extreme metal not being written in stone at this point and technically, underneath the murkiness of the production, they seem like a pretty proficient bunch with hints at early tech-death techniques, even employing some synth work for added atmosphere especially during the closing couple of tracks, the weirdly disturbing John Carpenter horror movie soundtrack-like ambient track Spirits Are Komming and the doomy I'll Kill Ya, You Bastard.

I may well be getting a bit carried away with this one and leaving myself open to accusations of being a tr00 kvlt, elitist arsehole, but if you are looking for some early technical deaththrash with proto-war metal leanings and some synthy weirdness - and who isn't - then I would heartily and unreservedly recommend this unto you (and you can call me what you want - I don't really give a shit!)

Daniel Daniel / December 27, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I can still vividly recall the first moment I became exposed to legendary Sydney extreme metal establishment Sadistik Exekution. It was 12th August 1992 & I’d arrived super-early to the Morbid Angel show at the Enmore Theatre so that I could achieve the greatest vantage point for the band that I regarded as being probably my favourite act at that point in time. Surprisingly, I’d managed to situate myself right in the middle of the front row of seats so I was literally only a metre away from the stage. Melbourne deathgrinders Necrotomy opened proceedings & did an admirable job at warming me up for what was my very first international death metal show. What they didn’t prepare me for was the band the followed immediately after them though with Sadistik Exekution giving me a new appreciation for what an extreme metal stage show could be. I’d never experienced anything so completely over the top & it was very hard for a young guitarist like myself not to be left in awe of the pure bad-assery of notorious top hat-wearing shredder Reverend Kriss Hades when he was so close that I could almost touch the blood dripping down his forearms due to the line of bobby pins he’d inserted through them prior to the show, his axe neck looking more like a skeletal spinal chord than an instrument & his fingers flying over the fretboard at previously unrecorded speeds. I’d very quickly realise that the Sydney audience had a love affair with these four nutters that I didn’t fully understand at the time but I’d certainly get my chance to understand it over the years that followed.

Shortly afterwards, buoyed by my experiences at what I still regard as the greatest metal show I’ve ever witnessed, I’d start my very own death metal band & we’d go about building a repertoire & a presence in the local scene. It would be a couple of years before we’d be mixing it with the in-crowd of Sydney metal but I'd eventually find myself being introduced to the Sadistik crew a their entourage of rabid worshippers. You see, Sadistik are an absolute enigma in this country with their music playing second fiddle to the circus sideshow of antics & personalities & young metalheads just seem to lap it all up. Sadistik shows were few & far between but when they did take place you would see all of the old faces coming out of the woodwork with most of them getting completely shit-faced along the way. It was at one of these early-to-mid 90’s Sadistik shows at the Lewisham Hotel that I’d meet bassist Dave Slave for the first time & he’d present me with a copy of “The Magus”, Sadistik Exekution’s debut full-length which was supposedly recorded around 1988 but failed to see a proper release until 1991. It was a release that I’d find was all around me over the next five years given its significance to the Aussie scene &, looking back at it from the outside, it’s perhaps a little easier to see why. My relationship with Sadistik Exekution would become closer during the middle of the decade once I started a three-year relationship with one of Dave Slave’s close friends & I can recall many a drunken conversation with the various band members over the years that followed. They were mostly gentle, lovely guys who were almost unrecognisable from the pure insanity of their music & (particularly their) stage shows.

So... this brings us back to “The Magus” which, if it really was recorded back in 1988, would have to have been some of the most extreme metal music in the world at the time. The production job is generally of demo quality & there’s a fair amount of variation in sound quality between the various tracks so it would seem to be pretty likely that it was recorded in multiple sessions. That aesthetic definitely suited Sadistik’s attack though so I wouldn’t see that as a negative. As with most of the extreme metal of the late 1980’s, the material crosses over between the full gamut of extreme genres with death metal, thrash metal & black metal all playing their part in a result that I think is best described as blackened death/thrash. The remnants of iconic Sydney demo band Slaughterlord are still easily visible in the muddy riffs & rapid-fire lead guitar work of Sandy Vahdanni while Dave Slave’s light-speed bass playing is given plenty of room in the mix to cause devastation. Sloth blasts away on his kit with a rare intensity for the time as the consistent use of blast beats within death metal was still yet to be seen in 1988. It’s ring-leader & front man Rok who steals the show though with his vicious delivery making for the perfect foil for the rough-&-ready Sadistik Exekution instrumentation.

“The Magus” jumps around a bit from a stylistic point of view. The tracklisting opens with a well-executed dark ambient piece entitled “Transneobathasaurikaldelusionsoftheunknown” before hurling itself into a full-on death/thrash frenzy via the very solid “Cautness Darling Blood”. The title track lifts the intensity even further & is one of the best tracks the band ever produced in my opinion. I’d even suggest that it traverses similar sonic territory to war metal bands like Blasphemy & Bestial Warlust which is significant when you consider that Blasphemy’s legendary “Blood Upon The Altar” demo was still another year from seeing the light of day when/if this was recorded back in 1988. “Agonising The Dead” sees Sadistik adding a blackened atmosphere to their death/thrash attack but the quality takes a step back at that point with the production turning a bit thrashier & the band’s death/thrash sound being a little more traditional, if not for the greater emphasis on blast beats. I consistently find myself reaching for comparisons with Brazilian black/thrash metallers Sarcofago during a lot of that material but things take a drastic turn for the final two tracks though with both taking the form of doomy black metal dirges. Interestingly, it’s the hidden track “Spirits Are Coming” that I find to be my favourite on the entire album as it presents an unhinged darkness that seems a little more serious than a lot of Sadistik’s more ridiculous material & leaves me feeling a strangely pleasant & transcendent feeling of squeamish uncomfortability.

There’s little doubt that the 35 minutes duration of “The Magus” is quite an experience for even the more seasoned extreme metaller with a lot being crammed into the relatively short run time. Some of the performances can get pretty sloppy at times but this can easily be forgiven when you consider the sheer intensity on display. The faster tracks leave me feeling like my hair is flying back behind me as my face is attacked by a tsunami of extremity which gives even the less significant material through the middle of the tracklisting more weight than it might appear to have on the surface. All of this amounts to the best Aussie metal album to see the light of day up until 1991 in my opinion & I don’t think that position is being impacted by any past relationships or experiences I may have had with the band as a young, starry-eyed youth. I've often seen the music of Sadistik Exekution playing second fiddle to rumours & legend but, even if many of the stories are true, their music has enough meat on its bones to justify your attention in its own right.


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The Magus
The Horde
The Pit

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