SADUS — The Shadow Inside (review)

SADUS — The Shadow Inside album cover Album · 2023 · Technical Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"The Shadow Inside" is the sixth full-length studio album by US, California based thrash metal act Sadus. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in November 2023. It´s the successor to "Out for Blood" from 2006 and there´s been a significant lineup change since the predecessor as bassist and founding member Steve DiGiorgio opted not to reunite with drummer Jon Allen and lead vocalist/guitarist Darren Travis for the recording of "The Shadow Inside", and as a consequence the latter has recorded the bass parts on the album.

Sadus were a pretty prolific act on the brutal and technical thrash metal scene of the late 80s/early 90s but since they released "Elements of Anger" in 1997 only two studio albums (including this one) have come out of their camp and it´s hard not to think of them as a hobby project these days. Even DiGiorgio who always fought hard for the survival of the band has now jumped ship (probably as a consequence of his commitments to his day job in Testament). Hobby projects don´t have to be sloppy projects though, and although Sadus haven´t exactly toured the world lately or made much of a fuzz about themselves, they still have a legacy and a fanbase who are excited that a new album has arrived.

Stylistically this is the core aggressive thrash metal sound of Sadus, but there are a few changes which need to be mentioned. First of all it´s of course noticeable that DiGiorgio isn´t performing on "The Shadow Inside". His unique and dominant bass playing has always been a key element of Sadus sound, and it´s a bit odd to hear a Sadus album without it. Travis has opted for a more normal way of playing bass and while there´s nothing wrong with the bass parts, they aren´t as unique as before or add anything special to the soundscape. Another feature which is different from earlier releases is the drum tone. Allen always had a natural organic tone but on "The Shadow Inside" the drum tone is more cold and sterile sounding.

When you adjust to those changes the material on "The Shadow Inside" is still unmistakably the sound of Sadus, with sharp, aggressive, heavy thrash metal riffs and rhythms, occasionally faster-paced parts, and Travis sandpaper raw snarling vocals in front. The frenetic high-speed playing of the first couple of releases were already lessened on the mid-90s albums, so it´s not surprising that the pace on "The Shadow Inside" is predominantly mid-tempo and heavy, but Sadus still pack a punch and deliver some crushingly heavy tunes.

There´s no revolution of sound or style on "The Shadow Inside", and of course most listeners will miss DiGiorgio´s busy fretless bass playing, but when all is said and done this is still a good quality release and it´s great to know that Sadus still exist. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
18 days ago
Yeah this might actually be a Sadus album for those who haven´t been great fans of their previous work. It´s a little bit more "normal" and accessible compared to what came before.
Nightfly wrote:
19 days ago
Never been the biggest fan of this band but this is pretty good.


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