Throughout the history of extreme music, one question has truly stifled the true philosophers of metal. What is the most brutal, heavy, and uncompromising piece of music to be caught on tape? Now, as I was listening to Morbid Majesties through my stereo, I was quite surprised, as I was under the impression that the record had vocals, yet I could hear none. I was even more surprised to find that the record actually did, indeed, have vocals; the gutturals were simply so inhumanely low that my stereo interpreted them as a bass element. They were too heavy to be audible. Case in point: Morbid Majesties is the heaviest metal offering to come out all year, or so far, at least. Out of the most intimidating, disturbing, filth-ridden forest of death, Sadistik Forest have scavenged forth a despicable record of the utmost brutality; from elements of classic death metal, the brutality of modern brutal death metal, skin-shredding leads, a platter of riffs to please the taste bud of any extreme metal fan, and even elements of black metal. I can guarantee that Morbid Majesties will be one of the heaviest records you’ll hear all year.
To fully comprehend the scope of the brutality Sadistik Forest has to offer (sacrificially, of course), it’s best to start with their background. Formed in 2007, Sadistik Forest was the spawn of Markus Makkonen (Vocals, Bass), Antti Heikkinen (Guitar), Vesa Mutka (Drums), and Jarkko Lahtinen (Guitar). Jarkko was later replaced by Matti Salo in 2010, however, in 2012, the band went on a temporary hiatus due to Markus joining the one and only Hooded Menace. In 2016, Markus left his major role of frontman (bass/vocals) with Hooded Menace to focus on Sadistik Forest. With this in mind, it’s already apparent that Morbid Majesties will be a fantastic record, for, what other option does one have when leaving a band such as Hooded Menace?
Transcending Obscurity records recommend Sadistik Forest to fans of: “Funebre, Grave, Bolt Thrower, Demilich, (early) Amorphis, (early) Cadaver, Xysma, Cannibal Corpse.” In addition to being quite the versatile package of extreme bands, this list appears rather ambitious. The listing includes some of the greatest and most renowned artists in the history of extreme metal. Is it really be fair to compare Sadistik Forest to such legends? Here’s a fun fact: Transcending Obscurity never overstep their bounds. Morbid Majesties rips these influences apart and feasts upon their remains, creating a new breed of brutality yet not at the cost of total conformity.
It’s safe to say that Markus’s choice to focus entirely upon Sadistik Forest was not a bluff or an attempt to escape from putting forth effort into the music; it’s quite the contrary. Right off the bat, it becomes clear that the entire record had been created with every detail (detrimental or miniscule to the overall quality) already polished and thought out. The production itself is fantastic, somehow combining the best of both the more old-school production sound and the clarity of the modern death metal sound. That goes for the musicality itself as well. The gutturals are the most apparent; Markus manages to pull off both lows capable of causing earthquakes and exasperated highs that manage to retain character despite their range. Of course, the two guest vocal appearances on the tracks “Destructive Art” (Cris Pervertor) and “Zero Progress” (Michael Dorrian) are fantastic as well, adding even more character to the already masterful songwriting. Markus would’ve gotten away with lazy bass incorporation as well due to the outstanding nature of the vocals, yet his bass is very apparent within the mix, in quite a few areas carrying a song forward.
While the songwriting boasts Markus’s musical brilliance throughout its elements, it also does so for every other musician involved. It is an absolute fact that every single instrumental incorporation to be found is one of absolute brilliance, every piece reeking with ambition and influence. Vesa Mutka (Drums) adds in the perfect balance of musical zest, a perfect accent to any chaos being carried out via the guitars. The six-string shredders Antti Heikkinen and Matti Salo are the main culprits of musical creativity, with both riffs and leads being rooted throughout the history of extreme metal. The strongest songwriting element of the record is its instrumental brilliance, as that is the element responsible for the creative conjoinment of brutality that is the record’s main highlight.
Only one detail can be pinpointed to be of a negative quality within the songwriting, and luckily, it’s quite miniscule. Said detail is the endings of each varying track within the record, or the lack of. Songs simply conclude, without a true form of closure. The songwriting structures aren’t abrupt enough to get away with having none, nor are they able to tickle the fancy of a true conclusion. Most tracks just end and fade out, only to be silenced by the excellently executed introduction of the next track. This problem in itself is only applicable to certain tracks, which takes most of its credibility away by default, and the weak endings, despite them being an element of lackluster songwriting, aren’t of a bad quality, just one of a boring form of closure.
In the end, who cares about a song’s ending when the contents of the song itself are so brutally masterful? Every song is a five-star meal of brutal elements, derived from both the elder elements of the genre’s first light in the late eighties and the mid-life crisis of the genre now. Each track kicks down the door, smashes all of the furniture in the house, and leaves for the next one. The excellence of the songs intros, musical contents, musical origins, and overall songwriting capabilities certainly shines through, resulting in a brutal record. I’ve used the word “brutal” to the point of mental fatigue, yet that word and that word alone describes Morbid Majesties, it’s only necessary to make use of it. If you claim to like death metal in the slightest, Morbid Majesties should be in your record collection. Now.
Morbid Majesties is available now via Transcending Obscurity Records. Go buy it!