I am, on some level, a sucker for thrash. Yes, this was released in 1988. Yes, it is heavily influenced by the major American thrash bands. No, there isn’t the kind of genre-creating and genre-defining additions to trash that other late ’80s bands were able to create, on this particular record. I don’t care. Its’ great.
The distinct difference from Metallica or Slayer or whomever is the theatrical element, which is, depending upon your outlook, either dark and mysterious or very campy. Either way, it’s the one ting (I’m aware of) that Sabbat add to what is otherwise a pretty damn straight ahead, traditional Thrash record. It does sort of set you up for something else – given that the opening track sure doesn’t sound like Metallica or Slayer but rather something entirely different, theatrical and bonkers – but I’m not bothered by the conventionality of the rest of the record.
That’s because this is really well executed: it’s brutal, it’s fast and it’s well played. Walkyier’s vocals are relatively unique as well, as is his willingness to use tape to manipulate his voice. It’s also catchy enough for a genre and era that can often forget about melody. (This is a relative thing, of course, as this is not catchy music.)
Honestly the only thing keeping me from rating this higher is that it’s just a British version of an American genre.
But I really like this and I am glad it exists.
All songs written by Andy Sneap and Martin Walkyier.
- “Intro” – 2:00
- “A Cautionary Tale” – 4:15
- “Hosanna in Excelsis” – 4:00
- “Behind the Crooked Cross” – 6:00
- “Horned Is the Hunter” – 8:08
- “I for an Eye” – 5:22
- “For Those Who Died” – 6:25
- “A Dead Man’s Robe” – 4:48
- “The Church Bizarre” – 5:07
- Martin Walkyier – vocals
- Andy Sneap – lead guitar
- Frazer Craske – bass
- Simon Negus – drums
- Roy M. Rowland – producer, engineer
- Steve “The Rock” Rispin – engineer
- John Blanche – artwork