Is there any heavy metal story more heroic and heartening than that of Nader Sadek?
Seriously. Here is a serious connoisseur of extreme music and culture — not to mention an extraordinary visual artist — who came up in a time and place — that would be Egypt in the eighties — where his interests were neither appreciated nor sanctioned; a man who made his way out into the world, mixed it up in the New York City art scene, got a gig as a stage artist for fucking Mayhem before serving as artistic director of his own eponymous death metal monolith manned by current and former members of Cryptopsy, Morbid Angel, Ava Inferi, Cattle Decapitation, Mayhem, Death, Sepultura, and Behemoth.
Ponder that insane journey for a moment.
Now, we’ll never be able to give Sadek the horns-up ticker-tape parade down Broadway he deserves, but Decibel is offering him — and you! — perhaps the next best thing: His band’s upcoming leveller of a four song EP The Malefic: Chapter III will be released as a free CD insert in our December issue (#122). Subscribe here.
We recently caught up with Sadek for a brief chat on Malefic, the inner workings of his musical outlet, and why he chose distribution via Decibel…
So In the Flesh was an excellent release, but The Malefic: Chapter III definitely feels like some next level shit.
Thank you. I’m very proud of it, and honored to have the opportunity to work with the best.
Musically, the goal was to create a very fresh brand of metal. Nothing rehashed or recycled, but also to go for something compositionally a little more “rock-oriented” — not in the sense of riffs, but in the sense that most death metal these days seems to go from one riff to the next, and the riffs often stray and never come back, sacrificing cohesiveness in the structure. It’s not necessarily a bad thing — we were actually guilty of this sometimes on In the Flesh — but this is just a different approach. I think Rune [Erikson, guitar; ex-Aura Noir] and Flo [Mournier,drums; Cryptopsy] were extremely successful in creating this.
Conceptually, it’s a lot more autobiographical, drawing more from emotions and experience. What surprised me most was the mix and master from our bassist Martin Rygiel [ex-Decapitated] — it’s his first and, though upon meeting him I knew immediately that he was a highly talented individual with a strong and focused vision, I was blown away.
From the press release:
The album concept conjures an unknown time and place from which God has withdrawn, and even his arch-nemesis has resigned from his post due to inactivity, stranding all souls in Limbo. In order to rescue his loved ones, and all the souls of humankind, from this limbonic afterlife, a nameless protagonist journeys to the sacred mountain of the divine. Convinced by the righteousness of his mission, he believes that his enthronement on the divine mountain will release all souls to eternal bliss. Yet blinded by his own arrogance, he realizes only too late that he has reactivated and occupied the throne of the devil, condemning all souls, even those of his family, to an eternal inferno.
You said it’s “a lot more autobiographical.” Can you talk a bit about the lyrical concept — it seems to cover a lot of interesting ground, both terrestrial and celestial.
I took the problems in my life and brought them into a fantasy world where they could be personified as beings and transformed into places, temperatures, textures, times. [The story] basically follows a Necormancer on a journey to liberating souls from suffering who gets corrupted along the way and begins to condemn those he was meant to save. This work is actually being turned into a kind of graphic novel. It was extremely interesting — if at first extremely intimidating — as I have no real experience in writing lyrics. I also had a very strong vision of how I wanted it to sound, and so I had to come up with the vocal phrasings as well — I don’t think I can write lyrics without imagining how the patterns and the phrasings will ultimately come out. So the process ended up being, I created the patterns first, made a scratch track that I would be able to listen to over and over, and eventually fit words into it. I approached all of this head on, but had to make sure that musically it was on the same level as the great music presented to me.
The line-up is obviously diverse and amazing. How did that contribute to the way your vision came together?
For me, every decision is quite calculated — the songs conjure a certain type of vibe and this vibe dictates the next step. So, upon hearing the songs, I imagined that the duality of bringing in someone like Bobby Koelble (ex-Death), whose style is at once technical and emotional, and [matching that style with] Andreas Kisser’s warmer, less speed-oriented whammy bar wailings and stretched notes to achieve a different dimension of emotion. Flo and Rune are the architects — I’ve worked with them on several projects now — so it’s no longer a decision I have to make alone. My favorite part in Decapitated old music was the bass, and I thought Martin would really strengthen the songs; make them more solid, so to speak. Recording took place all over the world pretty much. Travis [Ryan, vocals; Cattle Decapitation] recorded in NYC and San Diego, Martin recorded in LA, Flo and Rune recorded in Montreal, Bobby in Florida, and, finally, Andreas in Sao Palo, Brazil.
You’re releasing Malefic: Chapter III in a pretty unique way. Can you talk to me a little bit about your partnership with Decibel on this?
The music industry is at a turning point. I felt like going the label route is going to present the same old problems I and pretty much every small — and big — band on the planet have with their label. So the question is, how do you bring this to the people and achieve the biggest possible exposure without depending on a huge corporation that will fall short on their promises? I could have just blasted it out on the internet, but Decibel has a long history of not only being one of the most refreshing, inventive magazines in rock history, but also a magazine that has the exact same audience I’m looking to reach [and] might not get to otherwise. Hopefully people will appreciate the fact that they are getting a high quality album along with their favorite magazine! I’m honored for the opportunity and must really thank Albert for this.