Sadus is one of those bands that has always remained a bit under the radar of the general public. Unjustified, in my opinion. The first albums, such as Illusions (1988) and Swallowed In Black (1990) offer nice, rough Californian thrash on the edge of death, somewhere between Slayer and Morbid Angel. The band formally ceased to exist in 2015, although several albums have been released since then A Vision Of Misery (1992) only two more albums, partly because bassist Steve DiGiorgio was busy with numerous other bands and projects, such as Autopsy, Testament (of which he is still a part) and Death.
I must honestly admit that I had lost track of Sadus since the early nineties, also because of the band A Vision Of Misery went into a more proggy death direction that didn’t really suit me (at the time). Until 2023 to my surprise The Shadow Inside came out. Apparently the band reunited in 2017, this time without DiGiorgio. Which becomes clear when you look at The Shadow Inside listens is how big Steve DiGiorgio’s influence was. His contrarian, technical bass runs and hooks formed a large part of Sadus’ sound and he probably also had a strong hand in writing and arranging the songs. The prog element he added to Sadus’ fast and aggressive thrash sound made the sound recognizable and different.
The second element that was so characteristic of Sadus was the angry, clipped snarl of Darren Travis, who now does most of the songwriting and bass playing in DiGiorgio’s absence. He still has that characteristic voice and he roars and snarls as usual, although he no longer has quite the range he used to have. But the band misses Uncle Steve, that much is clear. Because The Shadow Inside is a good thrash album, there is no misunderstanding about that, but it lacks that little bit extra that the group had at the start of its career. And this extra bit of ingenuity is exactly what is missing to turn a good album into an excellent one.
And this is mainly reflected in the lack of variety and surprise, with each song picking up the previous one and giving it a new twist. A good thrash album always teeters on the edge of madness, where you have the feeling that the musicians just manage to keep it all on track, with each song offering just enough variation to keep your attention. The trio of songs in the middle of the album testifies that the band is indeed capable of this: Anarachy, The Devil In Me and Pain. Fascinating songs from start to finish, with their own character, from the pounding Anarchy threatening and droning to the mid-tempo Pain, in which faint echoes of early Metallica can be heard. Except this trio is too Its the sickness It is also worth noting that of all the songs it is perhaps the closest to the death metal colored sound of yesteryear.
Do not get me wrong, The Shadow Inside is a good record, sometimes even a very good record. But without Steve DiGiorgio, the band simply lacks the sharpness and inventiveness to stand out from the crowd. Because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of good thrash being made these days, by new bands and legacy acts that seem to be going through a second youth. But for anyone who likes old school thrash, this is certainly not a purchase you will regret.
1. First Blood
2. Scorched And Burnt
3. It’s The Sickness
4.Ride The Knife
6.The Devil In Me
8. No Peace
10.The Shadow Inside