Sadist - Hyaena 01Sadist have been under the weather for quite some time. Once a respectable prog-death act, they did that thing that metal bands did in the ’90s a tad late and released the awful nu-metal Lego in 2000 to critical and fan disgust, after which they took a seven-year break. The albums that followed, Sadist and the cheesy Seasons in Silence, had their ups and downs but haven’t aged nearly as well as the band’s ’90s output. Hyaena is the band’s chance to finally get back on track after fifteen years of waiting and uncertain footing.

Hyaena might not be a, ahem, roaring success, but does prove much better than expected. Cheezy synths and hackish melodeath have been stripped from the mix in favor of bubbly bass and heavy riffs that borrow heavily from ’90s prog-death, whether that be AtheistCynic, or Death. Introducing “The Lonely Mountain” is a riff straight from Individual Thought Patterns followed up by a groove that screams Unquestionable Presence, and the album only gets more referential from there. “Pachycrocuta” (add 1/2 point for reference of extinct taxa) sees the band sinking further down into the pits of anachronistic brutality, but “Bouki” livens up the album with an almost Dream Theater-ish synth line and the album’s strongest melody. Tommy Talamanca really gives the song his all, sounding like a late-era Schuldiner trying to pass a hyrax, and I mean that in the best possible way. His voice is unmistakably grating and full of energy, cutting through the riffage with the ease of a hippo tusk fenestrating some tourist’s chest cavity.

Though the first half of Hyaena makes for a strong comeback, the later songs keep the momentum and carry the album through what I really expected to be a precipitous decline in quality. “Eternal Enemies” and “African Devourers” are energetic and fun and serve to cover up the boring “Scratching Rocks.” However, the back half’s real gem is “Genital Mask,” which I say partially because of its engaging percussion, and partially because you get to hear Trevor Nadir scream “GEN-I-TAAAAAAAAL” a pleasing number of times.

Sadist - Hyaena 02

Despite its surprising quality, Hyaena does come with its share of problems and idiosyncrasies. Foremost, the drums sound awful. Not Bloodtruth awful as in very heavily replaced, but definitely overcompressed, which hurts the material. Hyaena is quite a bit dirtier sounding than Seasons in Silence, but the band can’t quite let go of that perky synth tone, which will surely turn away some listeners. The biggest problem with this album, however, is that it just feels a bit cheap, largely due to its theme. Without getting into the politics of oppression and exploitation, an Italian band making an album about ‘Africa’ – you know, the world’s second largest continent – seems out of place and unfocused to the detriment of their subject matter.

That being said, the complaints here are minor, especially when put into the perspective of death metal as a whole. Hyaena is exactly what the band needed to win back attention from metalheads everywhere and shouldn’t be missed by anyone who considers themselves a fan of ’90s, or even modern, prog death.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: Scarlet Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: October 16th, 2015

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  • I don’t know why they go into seuper cheesy fusion (you are not Alan Holdsworth!!) at the end of that embedded track, because the opening was decent.

    • brutal_sushi

      You’re crazy, the ending is great.

      • The perfect accompaniment to your elevator ride, no matter which floor you’re heading to!

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That´s not Alan Holdsworth, that´s Atheist. Which means it is probably Alan Holdsworth that Sadist got through Atheist.

  • Dr. Scorpion

    I like extinct taxa. Means less compitition.

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Well, I thought this was pretty damn good and as close to an Atheist record we’re going to get this year.

    As my first Sadist record, I was intrigued enough to check their previous stuff out.


      My favorite is Tribe. These guys are kind of all over the place but I tend to like a song or two off of even the mediocre albums.

      Even Seasons of Silence is enjoyable in a Lair of the Minotaur/Fleshgod Apocalpyse kind of cheeseball good-time way, but the early stuff is actually quite dark and thoughtful.

  • Yeah synths! This sounds like Das Ich trying to be Eric Clapton.


    I had no idea this was coming out! I’m excited to see a return to more serious minded material after the record with the four armed killer snowman on the cover.

  • Martin Knap

    The cover is some sort of a Roschach test?

  • Lasse Momme

    Bouki is such a god damn fun song.

  • I loved Seasons In Silence- there are some drum moments on there that make the brain go *pop!*

    I agree this album the drums are lacking, but there is some really interesting stuff going on here,

    You have to plow through this at least 6 times before you get it. I felt the same about the new Myrkur and, ahem *cough!*