Perhaps one of metal’s most enigmatic, misunderstood, underrated, obscure, and therefore influential bands is Australia’s Sadistik Exekution. Few bands have suffered through as many bad album reviews as SadEx (as they are commonly known), and yet are often credited as one of the major influences of not only the satanic war metal outbreak in Oz and Canada, but also Euronymous of Mayhem and subsequently the entire Norwegian black metal scene of the early 90s.
The band’s debut, The Magus, was written in 1986 (not released until '91), and at that time there was barely another band as fast, chaotic, or extreme. Sadistik Exekution has suffered the fate of a band way ahead of its time. Though not the most prolific band, with only five proper albums in nearly a quarter of a century, there is hardly another group as rude, sick, or… metal as Sadistik Exekution!
I actually tried to interview these guys back in 1994 when Osmose Productions unleashed their sophmore effort, We Are Death… Fukk You!, an album I thought was one of the most brutal and fucked up albums I had ever heard, but to no avail. They were just too fucking metal to answer any retarded questions back then, or ever really. So I was completely surprised that Rok, the band’s vocalist, was willing to take the time to do an interview with me now as they prepare for a special one-off appearance at the 2009 Australian Metal Awards show on November 7th.
Even though Sadistik Exekution has been around for about two and a half decades, I realize they are still relatively unknown outside of Australia, except to a handful of die-hards like myself. This being the case, I figured I’d start off the interrogation with one of those ‘Tell us all about how the band formed’ cookie-cutter background questions. I had read a couple of their rare interviews, so I wasn’t really too surprised by Rok’s glib response.
‘It's a long fukking story and I couldn't be fukked telling the same fukking shit over and over and fukking over a thousand fukking times. So I will say it briefly. Dave Slave (bass) and myself joined forces to make total fukking death beyond death right from the start. At first we teamed up with Sloth on drums and Sandy on guitars. After a short time Sandy left and we found Rev. Kriss Hades in Melbourne. We were all from Sydney.’
See what I mean? What more could I expect from a band that’s established a reputation on just not giving a fuck? I thought maybe I’d stroke their ego a bit and ask them if it was just a coincidence that four amazing musicians seemed to be in the right place at the right time?
Of course, when Rok’s response to that question was, ‘We are not four amazing musicians, we a four fukking idiots,’ I knew I wasn’t going to win them over.
SadEx’s debut, The Magus, was released 1991 and received mostly awful reviews. Apparently, at a time when most death metal bands were beginning to achieve a clearer, more powerful sound, The Magus’s shitty production, with its mix all over the map, and the band’s faster than fast delivery, was too much for music journalists to wrap their ears around. After being completely blown away by We Are Death...Fukk You! in 94, I aggressively sought the band’s debut and was able to obtain an original Vampire Records release.
This album, though admittedly sounding terrible (guitars, bass and drums actually fade in and out to make room for two seconds of keyboards, while the next song is 666 times louder than the previous!), its crushing riffage had laid the foundations for Australian war metal and was a major catalyst for the uprising of modern black metal as we know it today. The Magus even featured some minimal keyboard atmospheres long before they became a black metal staple.
Knowing what kind of attitude Rok and Sadistik Exekution have towards the metal scene in general, I wondered if he actually gave two shits about the band having such a profound influence on popular Norse black metal bands like Mayhem, or the cult Aussie war metal bands like Bestial Warlust and Destroyer 666.
‘In the end I certainly don't give any sort of shit at all,’ he replied, ‘OK, yes. I did have some contact with Euronymous and some other old Norwegian kunts, but after a while I started not to care about the letter writing stuff that we all did back then. However, I must point out that one person over in that country is different and I have remained in contact with that person for over 20 years now and that is Mr. Jon Metalion Kunt of Sarpsborg (the editor of the legendary Slayer Mag),’ And I was completely taken aback by how humbly he put his next statement: ‘As for being an influence on the bands you mention, yes, I think so, but only a bit. They are all obviously influenced by a few different bands, ranging from Motorhead to Venom to Darkthrone or whatever. As for the atmospheric stuff, that's poofter shit and I always hated it. But what's done is done.’
As influential as their music has proved to be, could it be that SadEx has just been consistently misunderstood by the uneducated masses?
Rok answered this query in the trademark SadEx fashion, ‘Yes of course. This has always been the case and that's why a lot of people and record companies ignored us, especially in the early years. Now, they can all get fukked, because these days a lot of people are following us because they think it's cool or fukking trendy or some other gay shit. Fukk off to all those shit heads. Very few people really follow our band and understand what it is.’
Due to some mistaken information I dug up prior to the interview, I had to ask Rok why it took The Magus so long to be released.
‘It was not recorded in 1986, it was recorded in 1988. That was a mistake printed wrongly on the Osmose version of The Magus. The songs from The Magus were written in 1986 though,’ he corrected.
Ah, never believe everything you read on the fucking internet! Dammit!
Rok continued, ‘The reason it took a few years to be released is that we had no money to release it, as we are poor people. Eventually Dave Slave sold his bass amps and a lot of his old album collection to fund the recording. That's why it took so long, but then along came Danny from Vampire Records and he ended up releasing it here in Australia. We have always had problems. We are not from rich families like some other poofter fukking bands, we are Aussie battlers and on top of that we all have mental problems. Thus everything we ever do is fukked up.’
With only five full-length albums released in the span of nearly 25 years, I asked Rok if this was a matter of ‘quality over quantity’ for SadEx, or were they just a lump of lazy cunts?
‘It's simply the way we do things,’ Rok claimed, ‘What's the fukking point of releasing an album each year or every second year. Who gives a fukk if we've done one album or 10 albums? What fukking difference does it make? Who the fukk cares?’ he added again, in typical the SadEx manner.
‘Have we seen the end of Sadistik Exekution?’ I asked, ‘Or are there plans for another release in the works?’
‘Right now there are no plans to do anything, but you just never know.’
Sadistik Exekution has not only perplexed listeners, but concert goers as well. I asked Rok about a story Proscriptor, of the band Absu, had told me regarding the poor crowd reactions to Sadistik Exekution’s live set while they toured Europe together in 1994. As a huge SadEx fan, I had asked Proscriptor how their live act was and he had informed me that they were completely devastating, but that the crowd didn’t seem to get what they were doing.
‘What happened in the early days is that we were obviously not what people expected to see. We were not cool, we were not black metal and we were not what they were into. We were different and they didn’t know what they were actually seeing or hearing. It was similar to the very first time we played in Melbourne here in Australia. The Sydney crowd knew us and what we were like, but Melbourne people hated us at first because we weren't the grind death sort of band that was popular at the time. We have always been ourselves if people like us or hate us, it really doesn't matter.’
I had to wonder if this was the reason behind the virtual lack of live performances from the band. According to Rok, it’s something entirely unrelated.
‘Basically the reason why we don’t tour or have not played live for many years now has nothing at all to do with crowd reaction. It's due to internal band problems.’
Apparently, the band has been able to settle these ‘internal problems’ long enough to make a rare appearance, as they are set to headline this year’s Australian Metal Awards in November. Do these guys really give a fuck about an awards show? Why would they choose this gig to unleash some ‘kaos’?
‘The reason we are doing this is because from time to time over the years we have thought about doing a show, but for one reason or another it never happens. The people behind the Australian Metal Awards are actually close to Sadistik Exekution and we knew there would be no problem doing a gig with them. So basically, the time and the organisation were right and now it's happening. Of course, we are not up for any awards, they don't award dog shit.’
Sadistik Exekution will be appearing the Australian Metal Awards night on 7 November.