Nader Sadek is famous for his elaborate stage designs, sculptures, and masks. His clients have included artists like SUNN O))) and Mayhem, whom he helped to construct the stage props for their 2009 tour. Nader is now ready to emerge from behind the curtain with his very own record, In the Flesh.
Perhaps by capitalizing on his connections, Nader brought together quite a cast for this:
Steve Tucker (ex-Morbid Angel)- Vocals
Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy)- Drums
Rune Eriksen (Mayhem)- Guitars
Attila Csihar (Mayhem, Sunn O)))
Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation)
Tony Norman (Monstrosity, Terrorizer)
Mike Lerner (Behold… The Arctopus)
Descructhor (Morbid Angel)
Nick McMaster (Krallice)
For the album's lyrical content, Nader focuses what he sees as the main cause of human conflict, greed, and environmental destruction: Oil. He takes his theme through petroleum's origins in decaying ancient life forms (mostly dinosaurs) and carries it through to humanity's use of the item as a commodity. As a whole, the album's force and brutality is made to replicate the noise and force behind trucks, planes and other machinery. Now to be honest, I was skeptical at first. "Socially conscious" metal, despite its professed intentions, tends to produce mixed results at best. But when I listened to Petrophilia it won me over instantly and I was eager to hear the rest of the album.
In the Flesh did not disappoint. Nader Sadek plays the style of death metal that I have always enjoyed the most: the very low-end, riff-focused type exemplified by bands like Incantation and Drawn & Quartered. For an idea of what I'm talking about, check out Petrophilia and listen for the riff that plays at about 29 seconds in. Unlike many indistinct death metal albums coming out lately, In the Flesh has a lot of memorable moments and you can actually distinguish one song from the other. It's nice to hear a death metal album not totally anchored on blast-beats and other overused standbys. It's also great to have such a wide-ranging crop of veteran musicians contributing to this project. Flo Mounier's dazzling drum playing, combined with the guitars supplied by Rune Eriksen and other guests, makes this album a real treat any fan of their respective bands and of death metal in general.
Other metalheads can find much to like on this album as well. One notices a slight touch of black metal in many of the arrangments and moods that Nader implements. I have to say Nader did a good job expressing his central theme as a lot of the material does invoke chaos and destructive machinery. There a few tapping solos spread across the album as well, which always makes me think of things like bombs falling, volcanoes erupting, or that crazy part at the end of Fantasia with all the demons and stuff.
If I had to name the album's major fault: the second half is somewhat weaker than the first. The first few songs are so exhilarating that the last few seem to run out of air. That and there are a couple short ambient tracks that could have been incorporated into the longer pieces or done away with altogether to make room for another complete song. Overall however, I found little to complain about while listening to In the Flesh. Even if you're not into the topical subject matter of the album, if you like classic, brutal death metal, I'm sure you will like this.
The Verdict? 8/10
Recommended tracks: Petrophilia, Of This Flesh, and Soulless
(PS- Oh, and I couldn't help but notice that you have a guy named Nader writing about the destructive power of Oil on our lives as humans…and you once had a guy named Nader who was the leader of the GREEN Party in the US- it was just his last name that time. Coincidence? Of course, but a very peculiar one.)