Intöxicated – Sadistic Nightmares Review

Nearly ten years to the day Intöxicated blearily burst forth with their debut, the Germans stumble back up to the bar with a new singer in tow for follow-up Sadistic Nightmares. Intöxicated have tried buying Pedialyte in bulk; they’ve tried the greasiest pizza your town has to offer; they’ve tried cocooning themselves on the floor of a windowless bathroom. But the only way to cure this decade-long hangover is with another ultra-tight package of metal, murder, and mayhem.

Intöxicated play debauched blood, beer, and Belial-besotted heavy metal with heavy nods to the likes of Motörhead and Venom and contemporary acts like Midnight and Bewitcher. Debut Röck ’n Roll Hellpatröl married the working-class ethos of Venom with an appropriately substandard but limiting production job. Rather less endearing was the debut’s—to put it mildly—MS Paint mess of an album cover and sophomoric song titles that would make Nigel Tufnel cock his head. In her review, Madam X credited ÄC’s drumming and El Ranchö’s guitar work as the foundation that made the Intöxicated’s sleaze formula work, but did allude to the amateurish elements potentially serving as a barrier for many. While those two remain the bedrock of Intöxicated’s sound, much has changed over the past decade.

A newfound sense of melody pervades the entirety of Sadistic Nightmares. Intöxicated has sanded off much of the rougher Venom-inspired edges in favor of a more accessible style that leans more on their speed metal and NWoBHM influences. Lest you worry that the dirtiest of adjectives means Intöxicated has lost its bite, they have not. El Ranchö’s riff work retains the venerable Tube Screamer-imbued grit befitting his 80s influences, and his ability to weave additional flourishes onto a song’s main riffs demands your attention (“Street Metal Bastards”). Like on the debut, El Ranchö rips through squealing, searing leads that tickle your inner reptile brain and never overstay their welcome (“Howling With the Wolves,” “Sold Our Souls”). Crucially, the addition of second guitarist Christoph has freed the band to tinker much more with harmonized NWoBHM melodies and also makes the rhythm work sound much thicker. This additional melody used to tag songs (“Sadistic Nights,” “Sex, Violence, and Death”, “Howling With the Wolves”) and back choruses (“Merciless”) produces material that sounds much, much bigger than the debut’s tracks. New singer Mariano’s voice also carries a broader snarl than his predecessor, giving Nightmares soaring yet punchy choruses (“Merciless”) that were almost entirely absent on the debut. And while the song titles have been dialed back (no “Metal Porno Slut” in sight), the lyrics remain deliciously centered on id-tickling tales of mayhem and murder.

In general, the packaging and production are also a significant upgrade over the debut. For Sadistic Nightmares’ cover, Dark Dungeons Atelier brilliantly captures the pulpy feel of horror VHS tapes or dime store books with its grainy look and nightmarish demon. Most evident sonically is Jörg Uken’s thicker, punchier production that outstrips the amateurish mix on Intöxicated’s debut. ÄC’s performance behind the kit was already a high point on Hellpatröl, and he benefits considerably from the improved production here. He has a great sense of when to shift feels from stomp, to swing, to drive and power the entirety of Nightmares. While generally quite warm and prominent, the bass mix feels thin at key moments (the bridge of “Sadistic Nights,” the bass intro for “Sold Our Souls”), which is puzzling for a band so indebted to Motörhead. Jacky’s bass work is an understated melodic lynchpin for Intöxicated’s refined style, so hearing him even more prominently in the mix would be well deserved.

Intöxicated’s return after nearly a decade has produced a shockingly good second album. Not aiming to break any new ground for the genre, Intöxicated simply serves up an impressively crushable package of melody, speed, and violence. And lest your local liquor control board fine their asses for overserving, Intöxicated knows to get in and out in well under 35 minutes.


Rating: ​3.5/5.0
DR:​ 5 | ​Format Reviewed:​ 320 kbps mp3
Label:MDD Records
Websites: intoxicated-germany.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/intoexicated
Releases Worldwide​: May 5th, 2023

« »