Suffering Souls is a symphonic black metal band out of Germany, and Sadistic Goat Complex is their third foray into creepy castles and haunted house environments. I kid, of course, the band is a little more serious than that, and this ultimately an enjoyable album, if not groundbreaking. To arrive at their sound, take the more playful black rasping and frenetic organ driven black metal of Dimmu Borgir, Gloomy Grim and perhaps a little Hangman's Hymn from Sigh, and lavish it all in even more use of the keyboards. The material has a tendency towards faster material, but the band does make use of breakdowns and the entire album is paced well.
Most bands today shy away from this style, or simply fail to deliver, but Suffering Souls is successful because they fully embrace all the cheesiness and the sadism required to pull it off. There are some fine songs on the album. Notable is the glorious, broken charge of "Cursed Gates of Heaven", which makes me want to don some awful corpse paint, a plastic barbarian sword from the local Dollar Store, and a cape and run around the woods near my neighborhood howling blasphemy until the cops pick me up. "Resurrected Messiah" is even better, with an incredibly catchy orchestration that sounds like a choir of angels cannibalizing one another, drunk with blood and the stained with the tears of heavens. The vocals of Lord Esgaroth are consistent, though as you listen to them impart their diabolic lyrics they are also quite funny (in a good way). Though the album reaches its high water...err...slaughter mark within the first few tracks, the rest does not disappoint. The bloody "Elegance & Perversion", the thundering "Art of Arrogance" and the closing anthem "Bloodstorm" are all pretty fetching, especially the orgasmic male whispers in the latter.
This is really the perfect album to recommend to fans of Covenant's Nexus Polaris, or Dimmu Borgir's recent material (though Suffering Souls are not as brutal or unrelenting). I was quite thoroughly entertained throughout, and some of the songs here are good enough that they would transcend my ribald fascination with the cheesier aspects of the lyrics and performance. I think a lot of people will hate this because they won't approach it in the proper mindset, but I am fortunate to not count myself among them. If you don't look down upon the few bands that still exercise this form of symphonic blackness, you should probably hear this.
Highlights: Cursed Gates of Heaven, Resurrected Messiah, Elegance & Perversion
Verdict: Win [8/10]