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Nader Sadek – The Malefic: Chapter III

Judging by the conversations I’m overhearing around the office, I gather that it’s fantasy football season. I don’t play myself, but I understand the gist: fans draft players across various teams and earn points based on the performance of those individuals, regardless of how their greater teams perform.

That’s got to be how New York artist and (sort of) musician Nader Sadek makes his band: scouring his records for his favorite musicians and drafting them into his blackened technical death metal ensemble, regardless of if their career is at a creative peak or valley. It seems absurd at first, but then recall how death metal musicians, particularly of the technical variety, so often compete as if they’re trying to outplay one another instead of gel and then the whole process makes more sense.

On his new EP, The Malefic: Chapter III Sadek has assembled one hell of a team, pun intended. Rune Eriksen (guitarist in countless projects most notably Mayhem) and Flo Mounier (drummer of Cryptopsy) return, both vets of Sadek’s 2011 album, In the Flesh, which I adored. Their playing is bolstered by vocalist Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation and Murder Construct—and yes, he employs his pitch-shifted-wrong clean vocals on a song. On bass, Alex Webster of Cannibal Corpse, Olivier Pinard of Neuraxis, and Martin Rygiel of Decapitated each contribute. Andreas Kisser of Sepultura and Bobby Koelble, who played on Death’s Symbolic supply additional guitar. Carmen Susana Simões, female vocalist of Moonspell and Ava Inferi (not to mention Eriksen’s wife) lends her pipes to one song as well. Take a second to read through that roster again and you’ll know pretty quickly whether you’re interested or not.

Of course, Sadek doesn’t play any instruments himself—he’s always been up-front about the fact that all he does is bring musicians together, write some lyrics, make some art and then slap his name on the end result. His band is more of an art project than something resulting from four guys slamming PBR tallboys in a basement and writing together. Some people might find that a turn-off, but whatever consenting adults decide to do together at night is fine by me. There’s no reason to be close-minded about what does or doesn’t constitute a band. Remember that Devo and The Residents functioned more as art projects or collectives than bands, and that Andy Warhol was instrumental in putting together the first Velvet Underground album.

Which is not to say that Sadek is as masterful an artist as Warhol, or that his band is a death metal Velvet Underground . . . they’re not. But they’ve put together 20 minutes of solid death metal that kept my attention throughout, and spurred me to multiple listens. Opener “Deformed by Incision,” is a hypodermic needle’s worth of heart-saving adrenaline, and closer “Descent” conjures some serious mood and melody.

Sadek’s as well-known for the new ways he presents his music as he is for the music itself—the man sold a copy of his last record which was bound in leather strips made from his own skin. The Malefic: Chapter III is a self-released EP which will be distributed for free by magazines Decibel and Terrorizer. Apparently it will have two prequels in the form of graphic novels. Taken together, the three pieces will form some sort of narrative about a man becoming satan, which, according to the press release, is meant to be read as a political allegory about the corruption of a politician. Simultaneously rote and ambitious, it’s nothing Immolation hasn’t done, but I’m glad that somebody is doing it. We can critique Sadek’s methods when more people are trying to push the way we consume metal into the 21st century. The man doesn’t have too much competition on that front.

For now, we have a free and somewhat pretentious art project that doubles as a sick technical death metal supergroup. In my book that’s a touchdown.

—Joseph Schafer

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