Elements Of Anger

Sadus

Flex Records, 1998

http://www.stevedigiorgio.com/sadus

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/14/1998

It's been a real long time since I was heavily into thrash metal. I still remember the glory days of Anthrax and Metallica, and I got into Slayer long after it was hip to be a fan of theirs. (I also loved Napalm Death - I used to use one of their CDs, played at full volume, to get the drunks out of the dorm at night. Four minutes was usually all they could handle.)

And while metal has continued refining its edge, even while it's languished in the underground awaiting its rebirth, thrash metal, so far as I can tell, hasn't maintained its level of intensity it once had. Many of the old lightning-fast double-bass work is gone, while bands now concentrate more on the songs than the speed.

Sadus was not one of the bands I followed when I was younger, so I do plead a level of ignorance when it comes to the band. However, their latest release, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Elements Of Anger, has both some of the moments that made thrash special and moments that made me long for the good old days.

Guitarist/vocalist Darren Travis is an interesting chap in the field, as he is not always interested in putting his guitar through full shred. Oh, he knows how to trip the power chord fantastic, but his playing, while intense, seems to focus its efforts more on the song than the speed. I'd call this a good move.

Bassist/keyboardist Steve DiGiorgio (who, from what I've read, has also logged time with Death) produces one of the most unique bass guitar sounds I think I've ever heard. I know it's a physical impossibility, but it sometimes sounds like his bass strings are metallized rubber, the way they bounce with crispness. Drummer Jon Allen knows when the time is right for some furious trap action and when it's time to just provide a backbeat.

All this said, Elements Of Anger is a style of metal that you either like or you cringe at... there's no middle ground. Tracks like "Aggression," "Words Of War" and "Safety In Numbers" will please the band's long-time fans, but for the uninitiated like myself, these tracks take some time to get used to. Even though I gave this disc several listens, I found myself tuning out somewhere around "Fuel"; by the time the disc hit the final tracks "In The End" and "Unreality," I was lost, no matter how many listens I gave the disc. New listeners might have the same difficulty.

Oh, it's not that Elements Of Anger is a bad album; it is one of the more intense metal albums I've heard in a while. (I freely admit I've fallen way behind in the metal scene, and it's taken some time for me to get my feet wet with the modern-day metal.) There are many tracks on this disc that brought a smile to my face, and reminded me of why I started listening to heavy metal when I was a teenager. It didn't matter that Travis's vocals were sometimes uncomprehensible, it was pure adrenalin and aggression.

Elements Of Anger will undoubtedly be welcomed by the fans of Sadus as a long-awaited return from the group. For newer fans or those curious for a listen, it's not a bad place to start, but tread lightly, and don't be afraid to keep re-tracing your steps by listening to the disc more than once.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Flex Records, and is used for informational purposes only.