Anyone who has ever seen a live show at The Comet in Northside knows what a close, tightly-packed and intimate audience the venue often generates. That is where I received my introduction to Lousiville's Anwar Sadat. As the band set up their drum kit and amplifiers that were almost as tall as I am, I knew that I was in for a show that would fill the room with sound. The band was brought to town at the invitation of Cincinnati's Gazer, who also invited their friends Mardou to join the bill. What resulted was an entire evening of magnificently loud and powerful music.
From the first song I knew that Anwar Sadat was an amazingly talented trio and that I had to get my hands on their album Gold, their first full-length release from Sophomore Lounge Records.
William Carpenter is stupefying to watch on the drums. Many jaws were dropped and minds blown by his percussive abilities. If there is a single down-side, it is that the recorded material on Gold can not quite capture the fearsome energy that this flailing mass of arms and hair can produce.
Unlike many modern guitar players whose bread and butter is dissonance, Clay Farris does not utilize drop, open or modal tuning. Farris keeps his guitar, in standard tuning, slung high on his chest and he practically waltzes with it as he plays. His discordant sound is generated by the skillful implementation of augmented, diminished and suspended chords.
Shane Wesley leads Anwar Sadat, carrying double-duty on both bass and lead vocals. Wesley's bass playing and vocal timbre remind me a great deal of Canadian rocker Rob Wright [No Means No] while his politically-charged lyrics harken back to that of the great punk poet d. Boon [Minutemen].
Gold opens with "D.O.A.," a slightly-funky, anti-war track that is rhythmically-driven and features the haunting overlay of vocals by both Wesley and Farris.
Overall, all of the tracks of Gold are brief but intense bursts of fury. The longest song in the collection is "Arriver" which clocks in at 2:25. But my favorite track, hands-down, is "Entropy." In that song, Farris' guitar and Wesley's bass take turns laying claim to the forefront while Carpenter's drum lines lead the sonic transition from airy openness to full-fury thunder. It is at this point that the alchemy of the three can be best heard and felt.
"Imperium," the closing track on Gold, can best be described as relentless. It starts fast and strong and doesn't let up until the needle hits the label and you feel yourself compelled to flip the record over and start it all over again.
I know I have said this many, many times but it is just too true too often -- as much as I love listening to Gold, it just can not hold a candle to their live show. The band is on-tour throughout the month of March where they will bring their Midwestern acrimony to places like Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Once they come home, please look them up and find out when you can experience Anwar Sadat for yourself.