SADISTIC RITUAL “The Enigma, Boundless”

By Dr. Abner Mality

This has got to be one of the quirkiest and most entertaining thrash records I have layed ears on in a while. The band is from Atlanta, Georgia and their monicker had me thinking they would be a POSSESSED or KREATOR type band. Thankfully, they are more original than that and not easy to describe. The PR calls them “psychedelic” thrash, but the most psychedelic thing about the album is its cover art. I think fans expecting real hardcore psych influence might be disappointed.

SADISTIC RITUAL does not fit into a neat little box. They aren’t a knock-off of either Bay Area or German thrash...but you can hear some influence from both those traditions here. They remind me of bands in the very early days of thrash, when things weren’t so homogenized and regimented. “The End of All Roads” starts with crunching power chords but not a ton of speed. That comes with 2nd track “And You”, which could almost be by a different band. This is a flatout rager coming close to death metal intensity. And yet there are momentary drops into a semi-acoustic mode. This unpredictability continues with each track having its own idiosyncrasies. The opening of “Maelstrom of Consciousness” really does sound like a maelstrom, a dark and stormy sound which continues throughout the track.

I love the way the instrumental “The Blood of Memory” fades in with hammering mid-paced riffs. Lots of phased guitar sound typifies this one. “Raving Voyeurism” thrashes like a sonofabitch, pure and simple. The title track ends things with one of the catchiest tunes, with some similarities to TESTAMENT in their “Practice What You Preach” phase. The way this one gradually fades out is just so cool and sounds like something from the dawn of the thrash age. The vocals also change up a lot over the course of the album, sometimes raspy, sometimes smoother.

SADISTIC RITUAL has its own sound and personality, something so rare to find in the metal world today. Along with ENFORCED, this is a band that is going to dominate the thrash scene in years to come.