Review: “Blood Spell” by Sadistic Embodiment

Conceived in late 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta Canada by Bryan James Newbury (Drums) who you may know from both Into Eternity and  Untimely Demise; Jason Cullen (Rhythm Guitar); Curtis Vieville (Bass); Wally Fischer (Lead Guitar) form Sadistic Embodiment, a band known for creating catchy Death Metal. After a couple of line up changes and a switch to Calgary during three years which saw a trio of EPs in 2017’s Self Titled, 2018’s “Blodörn” and 2019’s “Beloved Imprisonment” the band parted ways with original vocalist Nate Mandrusiak. For this debut full length album they now form a lethal three pronged vocal attack with lyrics often sourced from dark personal experiences of Fischer…

…if the song titles don’t give the lyrical themes of “Blood Spell” away then let’s put it another way. Sadistic Embodiment as a band are named after the track by Cannibal Corpse of the same name on their 2014 opus “A Skeletal Domain“. So that should tell you all you need to know about this record before pushing play. Opening cut “Strangler” is a nightmarish tale that goes for the jugular with an old school punchy hook and some Kataklysm esq moments, not to mention blast beats and oppressive atmospherics more in tune with Black Metal than anything else. “Gallows Hill” then continues that onslaught moving into Blackened Thrash territory with Slayer esq riffs cut with yet more furious blast beats in driven, flesh ripping and relentless style. The solo from Fischer himself is a piece of class as each player brings their own flare to the table with significant input on each track being clear to hear. The sounds of torture bring “Catherine’s Braid” to life, it’s fist pumping gang chanted chorus making it not only an obvious first single but a mid tempo chugger that broods the slow death sentence depicted in the album cover art.

All about nightmares, post-traumatic stress syndrome and hallucinations, “Phantom Tormenter” drives the nails into the flesh with a pummelling rhythmic assault and tortured lyrics while cleverly using vocal layering. Incorporating whispers into the brutal uncleans of two different pitches it gives the haunting imprint of a ghost in the mix. Subtle but it makes all the difference. Album splitting instrumental “Nebulae (Call of the Void)” offers atmosphere in spades with the band testing the waters with something more haunting and less bludgeoning before “Suicide Ceremony” introduces some odd time signatures and interesting interplay between the guitarists.

Injecting fluid into the lower bowl with “Global Enema” sees a Sadistic Embodiment taking a more left field approach, the result being a Melodic Death Metal song built on a meticulously constructed foundation of groove with a sumptuous solo. If that wasn’t left field enough for you, the Crowbar esq opening riff of “Flesh Deposition” is an eye opening moment of unexpected pleasure before the band dive head long into some early 90s influenced Death Metal with a killer drawn out solo of gargantuan stature that is split into two parts by a single vocal line. By the time “Cerebral Termination” hits, “Blood Spell” isn’t a record you want to reach a conclusion. The tracks get better and better as it plays through from high quality starting point and the ideas and nuances just keep coming. Another one with seriously impressive lead work, it fades out all too soon. Ah well, you can always listen again [8.5/10]

Track Listing:

1. Stranger (4:41)
2. Gallows Hill (5:33)
3. Catherine’s Braid (6:03)
4. Phantom Tormentor (4:41)
5. Nebulae (Call of the Void) (2:48)
6. Suicide Ceremony (3:09)
7. Global Enema (4:06)
8. Flesh Deposition (5:37)
9. Cerebral Termination (5:26)

Blood Spell” by Sadistic Embodiment is out 18th September via CDN Records and is available for pre-order over at bandcamp

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