SADGIQACEA
"False Prism"

(Candlelight)

01. False Segments
02. False Cross
03. False Prism
04. True Darkness

RATING: 6.5/10

As evidenced by their otherworldly moniker, SADGIQACEA hail from the war-loving planet of Philadelphia, but you won't find band members, Evan Schaefer (vocals/guitar) and Fred Grabosky (vocals/drums) attending local sporting events to hurl snowballs at Santa Claus, but rather monolithic slabs of terrifying post-metallic sludge at innocent (but mostly grateful) listeners like us.

What's more, you can't even get on Schaefer's and Grabosky's cases over borrowing so many tricks from NEUROSIS, because, as the story goes, 2013's "False Prism" was recorded live, straight to tape, by producer Chris Grigg (of WOE), with minimal overdubbing (cue requisite callouts below), and by this measure its densely textured cacophony is impressive indeed.

And in case you're wondering, the producer's black metal day job barely rears its pointed little head over these proceedings; not until late in the game, and then only dominating the album's uniquely blast-beaten, cyclone-strummed title track.

Before then, things shape up very much along post-metal/sludge outlines, beginning with eight-minute introduction, "False Segments" (lengthy songs being the band's M.O.), which rolls along, crunching and crumbling all in sight via mesmerizing tectonic plate riffing and tortures cries, before cresting with some (overdubbed!) violins.

Next tune, "False Cross", is at first a pure, punishing, protracted doom grind, shrouded in diaphanous (overdubbed!) keyboard backgrounds but it too eventually concedes the floor to more energetic grooves and pummeling, just as melodious, screaming breaks through its intentionally suffocating morass.

Next comes the aforementioned black metal detour of a title cut, after which there remains naught but a fourth and final, fourteen-minute slog named "True Darkness" to drag us across the finish line - but not before making further visits to the blackened pits of hell, taking long strolls filled with slow-building tension and muscular riff contortions through the halls of purgatory, and even catching occasional whiffs of heaven's melancholy, minimalist fumes along the way.

When all is said and done, one can't say "False Prism" really improves upon the ISIS/NEUROSIS templates, but it does add a few new elements that allow SADGIQACEA to carry the baton forward with pride and confidence, so long as one commits to immersing oneself for the duration of its forty minutes, as the individual songs simply don't stand up as well on their lonesome.

Still, "False Prism" is a worthy first effort from this Philly duo.

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