Sadistic Symphony is a continuation of Vicious Rumors' 21st century return to the power metal form that led them to their greatest success in the '80s. Like many metal contemporaries, the group tried a more aggro approach during the '90s that didn't exactly ring true with fans. Guitarist and bandleader Geoff Thorpe struggled after the tragic death of long-time lead vocalist Carl Albert in 1996; and even though the group struggled to find a stable replacement, Thorpe and his bandmates found solace in returning to their musical roots, a decision that made 1998's Cyber-Christ and Sadistic Symphony their best offerings in years. A strong Iron Maiden and Judas Priest influence can be detected on Sadistic Symphony, especially on tracks like "Blacklight" and "Elevator to Hell." The aggressive, operatic vocals and crunchy guitar work owe much to the British superstars of the genre, but Vicious Rumors put their own American stamp on the music with hard-edged riffs and purposeful compositions. More than heavy metal also-rans, Vicious Rumors have a career that has lasted over 20 years and released records that many metal enthusiasts consider near-classics. The outfit's popularity in Europe and Japan has always been strong, just as their worldwide reputation for quality material and punishing live performances has been equally steady. Sadistic Symphony does nothing to hamper the band's considerable position and history within the metal movement.
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AllMusic Review by Vincent Jeffries