Finland is not a country I identify with violent crime. High rates of alcoholism, maybe, and depression due to long Winter nights, maybe. But it’s regarded as one of the safest countries in the world otherwise, with high standards of education, healthcare and equality. This, apparently, does not translate to Lahti, the hometown of Sadokist. Sadokist has exhibited a proclivity for shocking imagery and a thinly veiled taste for brutality across myriad prior releases, imagery and a taste also promoted by 2019’s Necrodual Dimension Funeral Storms (Necrodual). How should you break down such a release?
Sadokist self-identify as ‘Evil Sado Fuckin’ Speed Metal of Death!’ What this actually means is a particularly abrasive and depraved form of speed metal. While this represents an over-arching label, its intensity is influenced by a strong streak of black metal and its grooves can be traced back to thrash. I’d compare it to Venom when they were producing extreme metal prior to delineation into speed, black, death and thrash metal. The tremolo-picking and speed ordinarily attributable to the blackened sphere results in a speed metal album which is as indebted to the 90s as it is the 80s.
The ‘Evil Sado Fucking’ Speed Metal of Death!’ stylization is surprisingly not overtly inappropriate. It satisfactorily describes the music but also goes some way to indicate the excessive and arguably ridiculous violence representing the record’s theme. It’s a thrashing, wild release, sounding less like a cold-blooded killer and more like the gleeful slicing of a maniac. It ‘boasts’ song titles such as “Planet of Shit” and “Death Erection,” culminating with the one-two punch of “I Will Fuck Tonight” and “Orgy ov Crime,” which has disturbingly sinister connotations of sexual violence1. Aiding this caustic quality is the production which is lo-fi and sloppy. The guitars are blunt saws and the drums have a palpable thwack. This all contributes to a record which unquestionably has immediate impact; it hits hard and fast, and you will take note on first hitting play.
Unfortunately, once you push through this brutal aesthetic, what remains is a release sincerely lacking in interesting and involving writing. Most riffs are simply not very noticeable or memorable. My attention wanders quickly beyond the opening minutes of a listening session; Necrodual is not a ‘rewarding’ listen as initial impact gives way to a counter-intuitive toothlessness. It only runs for 30 minutes but these are 30 minutes which feel too long on account of their largely sounding the same. While a couple of tracks are better (“Enter the Devil” and “Driven by Disgust”), I struggle with distinguishing the remainder and feel no urge to ultimately return beyond reviewing obligations.
Further, Necrodual is the archetypal example of why fast bands should not use ‘atmospheric’ introductions and conclusions. “Nihil Return” and “Angel Lust” are pointless and go nowhere. In particular, “Nihil Return” doesn’t tonally fit; Sadokist are comparable to an 80s slasher flick with mindless but self-conscious violence, whereas the slower, ominous feel used here is almost too sedate. The most egregious ‘atmospheric’ passage is found on “Death Erection” which is an interlude. It breaks apart the record’s flow, inserted in between tracks which don’t require a breather.
Necrodual is a prime example of style over substance. It has a bold approach and clubs you on first listen but the passing of mere minutes demonstrates an effort which lacks real quality beyond first impressions. I suspect it may find an audience with connoisseurs of violent music and while I’m sure Sadokist would make a fun live show, I can’t recommend them for an enjoyable solo listen. I’ve landed on a 2.0 as I do appreciate the aesthetic created but there isn’t much that’s tangible behind that.