The Shadow Inside

Long-running California thrash metal band Sadus returns with their sixth album, The Shadow Inside.  I was a long time fan of the band’s earlier works and their demos and first three albums, Illusions, Swallowed in Black, A Vision of Misery and they contained the type of technical and hyper-speed thrash that melted face worldwide.

I saw them on the SOS tour many years ago with Sepultura and ObituarySadus were in support of their insane Swallowed in Black album.  I would see Sadus again in 2001 in San Francisco for the Thrash of the Titans festival benefit for Chuck Billy and Chuck Schuldiner.  I am not a fan, however, of their 4th album Elements of Anger, in 1997 and Out for Blood in 2006.  The band goes in different directions with metalcore and more groove-based musical passages.  Again super fan of their older stuff, but these other 2 albums left a bad taste in my mouth.  The band broke up and then reformed in 2017 and this is their first album in 17 years and I was hoping, based on the awesome album cover, that this would be a return to their hyper-speed technical thrash metal of yore….and guess what????

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Forget those last 2 stinker albums.  This is the Sadus you know and love from 1986 – 1992.  This may be the comeback kid album of the year as well.  Picture the first 3 classic Sadus albums thrown into a blender, add some progressive elements and a jolt of Rainbow Unicorn energy drink and out plops The Shadow Inside.  Original members Darren Travis on vox/guitars and Jon Allen on drums are, whelp, the only members.  I would imagine they have some live musicians for gigs….But this gruesome twosome, said ok Sadus wanna see that we can still put out high-intensity thrash metal that will rip your faces off?  Well here ya go mofos.  10 songs in 47 minutes and beginning with the longest song, the close to 7 minute, “First Blood”.  The song opens calm and ethereal and I was like, on first listen, ohhhh noooo, wtf is Sadus doing?  The light-hearted music ends at the 1 minute mark where the build up gets heavier and heavier with some great drum fills and killer drum production!  Then the isolated guitar riff comes in and yep, right into the thrash speed and then a killer slow down and then more drum fills and then Travis’ venomous vocals come in with a killer scream too.  He sounds frickin’ awesome and he can still hit those high screams and his varied vocal attack of the highs, midranges and those snake-like snarling serpentine piss and vinegar vocals shine throughout as does his guitar solo, erupting.  The song title is screamed a bunch of times and the song gallops and thrashes with the progressive moments as well.

After this song, I was like ok…I see you Sadus, but can you keep this up for the other songs?  “Scorched and Burnt” is up next and really could have been on Swallowed in Black.  Remember those heavier and darker passages they did on that album?  That is what comes across on this and this song is heavy and the chorus is catchy and some more killer drums moments.  “It’s the Sickness” has a nice jumpy opening mid-paced section and then right into the thrash and speed and some cool vocal effects towards the end of the song.

“Anarchy” is one of the hardest songs Sadus has unleashed upon mankind.  I only have the promo but there is a guest vocalist I think, unless Jon is letting those deeper registers fly.  Or Travis, I have no clue.  Anyway this song could have been on Illusions in some respect and yes the band throws in a blast beat on this song, with squealing guitar solos on this song.  From start to finish this less than 3-minute number will decapitate you from here to the North Star.  This song is brutal high-velocity thrash metal, Sadus way!

The title track ends the album and it is a darker song and therefore it is slower in nature.  Starting atmospheric and a nice slow build-up before the music and vocals hit and the riff at the 1.29 part that goes into the mid-paced part with the double bass drums is excellent and Jon Allen is eating the drums alive as he pounds the hell out of them and the cymbals. The song picks up the pace towards the end with Travis laying down some awesome guitar solos and the speed is excellent how it comes in then the song slows back down for the rest of the song.  The entire album has slower passages, mixed in with plenty of speedy and thrash moments.

The Shadow Inside has many great things going for it and the production is killer, the best production Sadus has ever achieved on their releases.  The songwriting and musical skills displayed on this album also receive high marks.  I can’t think of another album I would crown as a comeback album of the year, other than this album.  The Shadow Inside would have been a great album to follow 1992’s A Vision of Misery.  Quite honestly this is more aggressive than that album, so even following 1990’s Swallowed in Black, would have been perfect.   If you were hoping Sadus would return to their classic hyper-aggressive technical brand of thrash metal, well your wish has been granted.  This album kicks ass from start to finish.  D.T.P. to the MAX!!!!!!!!!!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
November 20th, 2023


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