Viking's Choice

First Watch: Nader Sadek's Resurrection Of Death And Decay

A still from Nader Sadek's "Sulffer." i i

hide captionA still from Nader Sadek's "Sulffer."

Courtesy of the artist
A still from Nader Sadek's "Sulffer."

A still from Nader Sadek's "Sulffer."

Courtesy of the artist

As gas prices soar and nations battle over oil, conceptual artist Nader Sadek thinks of petroleum as a "resurrection that fuels new cycles of death and decay." It's the premise behind the Egyptian-born, New York-based artist's debut album, In the Flesh, a brisk-yet-meaty 30 minutes of maniacal death metal. Sadek is less of a musician on these recordings than a director, presenting ideas to an extremely seasoned band: former Mayhem guitarist Rune Eriksen, vocalist Steve Tucker (doing some of his best work since leaving Morbid Angel) and Cryptopsy drummer Flo Mounier.

Sadek has created fantastically grotesque and beautiful costumes and stage sets for the likes of Mayhem and Sunn O))), so it's only fitting that he'll create a music video for each track on In the Flesh. In this video premiere for "Sulffer," Steve Tucker thrashes in an underground cave looking like Glenn Danzig covered in crude oil. The song itself features bassist Nick McMaster (Krallice) and Mike Lerner (Behold... The Arctopus) on a guitar solo that rips through the black ooze. Well, Sadek explained it better to me in an email.

My latest video piece for the song "Sulffer" features a character played by Steve Tucker, waist-deep in the primordial waters of creation. Stalactites hang from the ceiling of the cave like slow-drip syringes. Flashes of yellow crystal embedded in the rock walls suggest a fool's gold, sulphur. A byproduct of the petroleum-refinement plants heard in the opening 20 seconds of the video, down the processing chain sulphur makes its way into food and pharmaceuticals as a preservative. The effort to preserve life through a petroleum byproduct points to the central paradox of my In The Flesh concept album: the resurrection of dead matter through petroleum extraction, a resurrection that fuels new cycles of death and decay (for is not sulphur a key component of gunpowder?). The song's singer-protagonist himself, a prehistoric warrior who has slain the primeval serpent, sinks into the antediluvian ooze only to rise again, a mechanical butterfly emerging from a toxic chrysalis. He extracts sulphur crystals from the cavern-womb and hurls them toward humanity's machine-gun future. As he sings, "Reborn as stone of fire / Man again is sulphur," these crystals violently re-lodge themselves into humankind's waxy flesh, burning off the excess, preserving us as crystalline mineral deposits awaiting yet another resurrection.

'Sulffer'

In the Flesh comes out June 7 on Season of Mist. It's also available to pre-order at Nader Sadek's website. You can watch the music video for "In the Flesh" at Brooklyn Vegan and hear the album in its entirety at Decibel Magazine. And IFC, with whom we co-presented this premiere, has an extended interview with Sadek about the assembly of the band and his set design.

The video for "Sulffer" was funded, in part, by Northern Manhattan arts Alliance, JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.

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