For their second album, 1990's Swallowed in Black, death-thrashers Sadus decided to lie back a little and tone down their rampant speed and aggression somewhat -- yeah right! Fact is, for any but the most radical and perceptive of metalheads, Swallowed in Black still rages with seemingly endless stores of hate and hostility and, thanks to blazing opener "Black" and numerous short-and-sweet bursts like the riff-tastic "Last Abide" or the self-explanatory "In Your Face," probably still holds a few land-speed records even now. But it also sees the Bay Area quartet indulging in a far greater variety of tempos (see the slow and atmospheric buildup to "Man Infestation," and the wildly varied, extended tour de force "Arise") and introducing additional doses of melody, with guitarists Darren Travis and Rob Moore expertly intertwining many a clean guitar figure into their reliably manic and restless rhythm playing. If there is anything that remains perfectly status quo in comparison to their first LP, it's the way Sadus manage to stand poised, right on the borderline between thrash and death metal. The former, older style's hallmark staccato assault still drives tracks like "The Wake" and the notably Exodus-like "Powers of Hate," even as those oft-slower tempos, Jon Allen's abundant double bass-drum heroics, and the crustier disposition of Travis' lead vocals also qualify for inclusion under the new metallic order. Finally, even though he was hardly invisible on the band's impressive debut, here fretless bassist extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio truly begins to stand out from his nearly as accomplished bandmates. With his blinding and intricate contributions throughout, but especially in "Good Rid'nz" and "Oracle of Obmission," DiGiorgio effectively makes his case for the high demand he would enjoy as an extreme metal session player in years to come. As for Sadus, the band, their standing as favorite sons of the first death metal wave remains secure, thanks to fine efforts like Swallowed in Black.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia