BLOOD VISIONS: Sadistic Ritual’s debut album is an ode to death. Photo by David Parham.

In the summer of 2012, Atlanta was a breeding ground for a raging heavy metal scene. For years, malevolent black metal masters Hellgoat, and death metal slashers Lectures on the Apocalypse, Withered, Death of Kings, and Spewtilator had kept the fires of Atlanta metal burning brightly in the underground. But that year, according to the Mayan calendar, the end of the world was at hand. A new breed of young metal bands and promoters rose to supremacy like thieves in the night and raised the bar high for whiplash fury, blast beats, and searing riffs. The apocalypse never happened, but the psychic tension it created was a boon for headbangers.

“It was a time when there were a lot of touring bands coming through town, and we had this one-two-three punch of Mangled, Sadistic Ritual, and Disfigurement opening pretty much every show, and everyone else got blown off of the stage,” says Charlie Southern, Sadistic Ritual’s guitar player, singer, and founding member. “I’m sorry, but it’s true. Basically, anybody who came through town back then didn’t stand a chance. And they definitely couldn’t hang as hard.”

Seven years later, the world is still here, reckoning with the very real threats of climate change, human overconsumption, poor governance, and species decimation paving the way for the sixth wave of mass extinction in the planet’s history. From that unholy trinity of Atlanta metal peers who, for a time, challenged any and all wayward metal bands, Sadistic Ritual is the only group still standing. Southern is the sole original member who’s stuck with the group since Sadistic Ritual’s first demo recording was released in 2010. “I’ve gone through a hellacious amount of band members since that time,” he says. “It’s purely by my will alone that this group still exists.” Read the full story at Creative Loafing, Atlanta.

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