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Illusions / Swallowed In Black / A Vision Of Misery
(Displeased Records)
57:09min / 57:37min / 37:01min

Even though SADUS' debut full length album has been re-released before in various different formats already, this is by far the best version of it all! Not only because it features lots of bonus material (the entire 6 song "D.T.P." demo from 1986, the 2 song "Certain Death" demo from 1987, as well as a very cool promo video for the song 'Certain Death'), but also because it is the first time that the CD version is available with the original artwork and album title... Some of you, who only know this record by the name "Chemical Exposure", probably aren't aware of the fact that it was originally entitled "Illusions" when the band released it on vinyl on their own label Sadus Records back in 1988. But when it came to the manufacturing of the cassette version a little later on, problems with the size of the original artwork accured (which didn't really seem to fit the cassette format), so a new design and title ("Chemical Exposure") was chosen... Years later, when Roadrunner re-released the album on CD, they simply went by that packaging, which resulted in the fact that it became a lot more famous than the original "Illusions" version. This new re-issue also offers the alternative cover / title on the booklet's backside, so you can easily decide for yourself which version you prefer. Another small (but fine) detail, which was left out on the Roadrunner version, is the picture collage, which originally came with the vinyl version... Even though it's of course a little difficult to reproduce that in CD size, it is still included here as well now, which I appreciate a lot! Oh, and the music?! Well, to me SADUS always was the most impressive in their early days, mainly because of the amazing intensity they used to set free at that particular time (in a way best comparable to an even more pissed off version of KREATOR's "Pleasure To Kill"). What later on got replaced by matured technical skills was delivered here with so much aggression and ferocity that it still leaves me speechless whenever I listen to highspeed Thrash anthems such as 'Certain Death', 'Twisted Fate', 'Torture' or 'Undead' (to name but a few). The production was certainly not perfect, but very raw and totally fitting (for fans of trivia: METAL CHURCH's John Marshall engineered the record). And even the vocals, that I personally considered a bit too shrieky on the demos, had become a lot better, yet maintained very extreme and tortured sounding on this debut full length. They are still a very strong trademark of the SADUS sound up to this day! So, I guess there's no doubt about it that "Illusions" is a must have item for every fan of raw, high energy Thrash! 1990s follow-up "Swallowed In Black" already showcased a band that sounded more controlled and better produced (this time engineered by Michael Rosen) but despite the still easily recognizable quality of the songs lacked a bit in the uncompromising attitude of its predecessor. But it was pretty clear already that SADUS had found their own unique style by now, which they constantly developed in the following years. And in a live situation the "Swallowed..." songs still shredded in the same way as the old stuff. The bonus material on this re-issue comprises of the 3 songs off the "Wake Of Severity" demo from 1989 (which got them signed to Roadrunner) as well as a video for 'Good Rid'nz'. When album number three, "A Vision Of Misery", reared its ugly head in 1992 SADUS (just like any other Thrash act) were heavily suffering from a new fashion in the music business, known as Death Metal. But let's face the facts: even for a Thrash Metal purist, this album doesn't match the quality of "Illusions" or "Swallowed In Black". In my opinion the band was simply focusing too much on their improved technical abilities and as a result came up with a couple of songs that were a bit too complex for the average Thrasher. Not even the good production of Bill Metoyer (who luckily managed to get the band a rougher sound again) was able to safe this record from being SADUS' weakest to this point... The re-release is still pretty interesting though, because it features a bonus DVD, that offers about 2 hours of classic SADUS live material. While the show in Oakland (from September 19, 1992) is really cool (considering the time it was filmed), the "Live clips & behind the scenes" part from 1990 is rather superfluous and mainly because of its poor quality a total waste of time... Well, die hard SADUS fans might still get a kick out of it and as you're more or less getting it for free when you purchase the album, there's really no reason to complain here. Lyrics to all of the songs (incl. the demo stuff), a discography of all demos and early albums (with covers and tracklists), as well as liner notes by SADUS' bass player extraordinaire Steve Di Giorgio complete all three (remastered) releases. For ordering information check out

Frank Stöver

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