Review

8 FOOT SATIVA The Shadow Masters

Album · 2013 · Thrash Metal
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5/5 ·
Kev Rowland
One of the great things about living in New Zealand is that we are at the end of the world; unfortunately that is very much a bad thing if you are a Metalhead, and especially so if you are in a band as it is almost impossible to become the next big thing on the international scene. It is only in recent years that overseas acts have even discovered that there is a thriving scene down here, and many of us were incredibly excited when it was announced last year that Fear Factory were going to play the Power Station. But, that news was then overshadowed by the discovery that a reformed 8FS were going to be the support act, with Justin 'Jackhammer' Niessen back as permanent vocalist for the first time since “Season For Assault’ in 2003. Now, there are few Kiwi bands known outside of their own country, with the most famous probably being Split Enz (or of course Crowded House who are Kiwi and not Australian, whatever you may have been told), but there has also always been a thriving music scene that has produced some great bands, and when it comes to metal 8FS are the kings. Now, I have long been a fan and advocate of Fear Factory, but that night in Auckland they were taken to the cleaners. The sheer aggression and power of 8FS at full power is an incredible sight, and the crowd responded to the band, who then in turn increased the ferocity. But, while my ears were trying to recover, the thought that kept running through my head was what would the album be like? Could they repeat this in the studio?

By the time they released their last album, ‘Poison of Ages’, in 2007 only guitarist Gary Smith was left from the original line-up. But, now in 2013 he has been rejoined by co-founder Brent Fox (bass), Jackhammer (vocals), Corey Friedlander (drums – who was in the band back in 2006 for a while) and new guitarist Nik Davies. So, in many ways this is a classic line-up, and even before putting this into the player I was impressed as the artwork is much cleaner and ‘upmarket’ than what has become before. But, it all comes down to the music so I put it in and waited to be impressed. Some 32 minutes and 10 songs later I was incredibly pleased that the only neighbours close by were the sheep in my paddock, as I had kept turning this up until it was virtually blowing the speakers.

The only word to really describe this is ‘Intense”. These guys have turned up, plugged in, and played as if their lives depended on it. But it is not all about aggression, as somehow they have managed to capture an incredible depth to the music, much more than one would normally expect. Some music comes across as fairly linear, but not this as it is a wave of sound that keeps hitting you time and again. I have to admit that the smile at hearing “West As” will be mimicked by all Aucklanders, although probably people outside of NZ may not get it (let’s just agree that Westies are a different breed to most, and leave it at that). There is a real groove and passion to the music that takes this to a level that maybe, possibly, this is going to take 8FS to a wider and much deserved international audience. I have seen a review that stated that this “will go down in New Zealand music history as one of the greatest metal albums to ever come from the land of the long white cloud.” (www.themetalreview.com) The only thing wrong with that statement, is that I have no doubt that this IS the greatest metal album ever from Aotearoa. You cannot afford to miss this brutal piece of work

8 Foot Sativa. Unless you hail from NZ you are unlikely to have ever heard of them. You owe it to your ears to correct that right now. www.8footsativa.co.nz
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