SADISTIC RITUAL “Boundless Aggression”
By Dr. Abner Mality
Thrash metal is a very hard genre to kill. It’s shown remarkable resilience over the last 30 years, with new bands constantly popping up to carry the thrash legacy forward. But one unfortunate characteristic of many of these newer bands is that they just sound like a tribute or rehash of the giants of the past. There’s not that much innovation in the new age thrash scene.
Enter SADISTIC RITUAL from Atlanta, GA...also an unusual location for a neck-wrecking band of speed merchants. These guys have come up with a very original take on the thrash genre, mixing in touches of psychedelia and coming up with technical riffs that don’t just sound like a redux of the Bay Area or German thrash scenes. Their new album “The Enigma, Boundless”...their first for the Prosthetic label...is indeed something of an enigma that the listener must unravel, which each song having its own unique flavor to it.
So, as usual, Yours Truly was hot on the trail of SADISTIC RITUAL. I came up with this brief but potent interview courtesy of drummer Joe Sweat...
WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings to SADISTIC RITUAL! To get the obvious out of the way, give us a quick rundown of the origin and history of the band. Did the members have experience in other acts before SADISTIC RITUAL was created?
JOE SWEAT: SADISTIC RITUAL was actually formed when Charlie (Southern, guitarist/vocalist) was in high school. So the roots of the band go back quite a way.
WC: Coming off of your debut album “Visionaire of Death”, what was the main thing you wanted to accomplish with “The Enigma, Boundless”? In what ways did you want to grow?
JS: Our main goal was to create something weird and unique within “thrash” metal. And, to have a bigger label release. We definitely grew as musicians, the album has more technicality than previous releases.
WC: What does the title “The Enigma, Boundless” refer to? Is it life itself? Or the mystery of human behavior?
JS: Really just life itself, but human behavior is part of that. Maybe one mystery is why we suffer and assimilate to our overlords. And if you don’t think you have overlords, well, you do…
WC: The most striking thing about the album is that each song has its own quirks and sound. In that way, it seems a lot like the earliest thrash metal albums instead of what we’ve heard the last couple of decades. Was it your goal to kind of go back to that sort of individualism?
JS: Yes, we weren't interested in giving people the same style of song 10 times.
WC: The word “psychedelic” is used a lot in connection with SADISTIC RITUAL. In what sense do you understand that word?
JS: It’s obviously more than just having a 60’s influence or strange lyrics. The psychedelic experience is one we believe holds great merit. It drives a lot of people to create, and drives them to be a better person. I think it does a good job of opening people's minds to see how bad we're getting screwed by the overlords.
WC: The most overtly “psychedelic” aspect of the new album is the cover art. I understand the creation of this image was very involved and the visual aspect of the band is really important to you. Can you tell us more about the ideas and creation of the cover?
JS: The artwork was a collaboration/experiment of sorts with artist/occultist Erica Frevel. She gave us the MURMUR sigil and we used that in our space, while sending her early demos of the song to listen to while she created the cover art. I won't go into detail about it too much because our album has a forward by Frevel explaining the process more.
WC: I guess it has to be asked, were psychedelic drugs used for the creation of “The Enigma, Boundless”? Are such outside substances necessary to realize the band’s vision?
JS: Mushrooms and LSD were consumed, yes, but we do not believe it is integral or necessary the creative process nor our vision as a band.
WC: The song “Maelstrom of Consciousness” seems to be a key part of the album’s ideas. Is this kind of description of the process of creation itself?
JS: No, it's more on the absurdity of existence but also being a recusant, or an ungovernable force.
WC: A lot of the lyrics seem pretty dark and pessimistic, which is not surprising in these times. Do you see any sliver of hope in what’s going on or are we just going to get more and more sucked into the world of digital illusions?
JS: It will get so much worse. If you want optimism go listen to brain dead pop music or electronic garbage.
WC: “The Blood of Memory” is a pretty cool instrumental. Was this laid out with precision or was it more of a jam situation?
JS: It was definitely more of a “jam” situation.
WC: What are some of the musical influences on SADISTIC RITUAL? Is there any one band that you draw inspiration from more than any other?
JS: Well we all enjoy bands from across the rock/metal genre. The heavy bands that probably influenced us would be MEGADETH, METALLICA, ABSU, THE DEVIL’S BLOOD, ABYSMAL LORD, SATANIC WARMASTER. If we had to pick a band, probably MEGADETH for the musicianship.
WC: What would you say is an influence that people might be surprised by or maybe not pick up on the first listen?
JS: ALICE IN CHAINS. There’s actually a nod to them in one song on the album…
WC: Have you guys had much live experience? Any touring plans for the new album?
JS: We have done several tours in the past and some southern dates before/around pandemic. We do have a tour in the works to promote the record so keep a look out for those dates.
WC: Are there any books or films you draw inspiration from?
JS: “Natural Born Killers” and Warhammer 40,000/Horus Heresy books for the sheer horror.
WC: If you could have dinner with any 3 people from history, who would they be?
JS: Lemmy, Nick Menza, and the legend Selim Lemouchi.
WC: Has SADISTIC RITUAL ever had a “Spinal Tap” experience where things went wrong that you could share with us?
JS: Our bass cabinet fell over during a show and no one knows how, ha.
WC: Any last words for the faithful?
JS: Fuck the cops, eat shrooms, blast PRIEST. Support underground bands.