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Class 6(66)

Sabbat: History of a time to come

14/05/09  ||  Daemonomania

Released: 1988

Introduction

This album is good. This album is old. And what do we do with good, old albums at Global Domination? We Class 6(66) ‘em, smegmaslurper. “History of a time to come” is most certainly worthy of such an honor. If you’re wondering why, just read the cautionary tale below.

Songwriting

7.5. Given the sheer amount of lyrics and subject matter they had to deliver, these songs had to be a bit long and involved. But Andy Sneap (yep, that Andy Sneap) always knows when to throw in a catchy chorus section or badass riff to help you stay focused. Things drag on a bit here and there. They are forgiven when you’ve got fantastic shit like the chorus of “Hosanna in excelsis,” or the ultra-rad riff during the bring on the clowns section of “The church bizarre,” or even the hilariously awesome courtroom intro to “For those who died.”

Production

8. Pretty thin, this is 1988 after all. I’ve heard that there was some sort of a re-release and possible re-master of this, so the songs may sound a bit more beefed up these days. However, I prefer to listen to it the way it is. Metal from this time period is supposed to sound this way, and it takes away from the charm if studio wizardry intervenes and turns it into Vader’s “XXV”.

Guitars

7.5. Sneapmaster Flex lays down the razorsharp riffs, and does so in quite a competent manner. Maybe he could help Cradle of Filth get a bit more guitar in their sound, who knows? Anyway, Sneap is not the most gifted guitarist ever and not every riff is instantly memorable. And his solos are none too impressive. But for a vast majority of the duration the six strings are hard at work whipping out some innovative, downright nasty action. Guitars are second on HOATTC only to the…

Vocals

9. This is where Sabbat really shines for me. Normally, I’m not a fan of “classic” thrash simply because of the piss-poor vocals. Not the case here, my pagan friends. Martin Walkyier delivers his 28 million lyrics in a blackish snarl that can easily be categorized as extreme. He veers sometimes into a cleaner style and rarely into something close to a growl, but mostly endearing rapid-fire shrieks rule the day. Vocals are the champ on “History”.

Bass

2. Here and there we get a night of the living basshead, but 90% of the time it is pretty much inaudible.

Drums

4. Here comes the MEHtal MEHltdown, don’t bother running for your lives. Drums are there, and they do a good job of keeping what could be very chaotic song structures together. However, the playing is kinda sloppy and nothing too special. Still, drum ‘n bass ain’t the focus here. Sorry if you already took that ecstasy.

Lyrics

10. I am deeply impressed with the amount of effort that went into this category, serious hard work. Poetic descriptions of failed invocations, wacky pagan stuff that I don’t understand, the motivations of Lucifer, the burning of witches, and a greedy hypocritical Church. Not subject matter that you wouldn’t hear on an average death metal album, mind you, but much more intelligent and delivered with conviction.

Cover art

7. A dude. A book. A bird. You figure it out. But it looks pretty cool to me. The “in need of a new wardrobe” guy has got a serious rack of antlers on ‘im. I wouldn’t wander around in the woods during hunting season if I were you pal, whether or not you’re wearing an orange vest.

Logo

9. Thrashtastic, pointy and evil with heaping helpings of the most metal colors ever – orange, yellow, and purple! Ha ha ha, Satan rejoice! And there’s even lightning going on inside the fucken thing. Other bands may have weather on the album cover, but Sabbat has weather in their logo. Eat your hearts out.

Booklet

0. Why a zero? Because I traded for a copy that didn’t have a booklet. So there you go. No fault of the band, no fault of the label. Just my own cruel and unjustified score. Deal with it.

Overall and ending rant

8. If you enjoy old thrash and proto-black metal then you will dig the fuck out of “History”. The atypical, twisting song structures combined with smart, evil lyrics and caustic riffing is quite unique. Plus the whole thing flows well and rarely hits a sour note, so metalheads of all stripes shouldn’t have a hard time diggin’ it. This is definitely one of those bridge albums between thrash and the more extreme hordes that loomed on the horizon, ready to kill. Snag yourself a copy, perhaps even one WITH a booklet, and start kicking it old school (like Salem old school) to shit like this:

We shall show no mercy to heathen such as thee
Who stand accused and have refused the Church’s clemency
Your wicked acts are endless, though the crimes they cannot name
Innocent or guilty proved, we’ll burn you just the same!

  • Information
  • Released: 1988
  • Label: Noise Records
  • Website: www.sabbat-uk.com
  • Band
  • Martin Walkyier: vocals
  • Andy Sneap: guitars
  • Frazer Caske: bass
  • Simon Negus: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Intro
  • 02. A Cautionary Tale
  • 03. Hosanna in Excelsis
  • 04. Behind the Crooked Cross
  • 05. Horned Is the Hunter
  • 06. I for an Eye
  • 07. For Those Who Died
  • 08. A Dead Man’s Robe
  • 09. The Church Bizarre