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Sacrilege: Behind the realms of madness

30/04/12  ||  Habakuk

I found this via a great, great video – basically, a video collage of eighties hardcore. Don’t you wish your favorite genre had something like this? Unless it’s of electronic nature, it probably won’t have anything like it, sorry. And if it does, it most probably won’t be as meticulously assembled and supported by visual alterations of the album covers. So anyway, I actually went through the whole damn thing, and it paid off. For amidst the tons of unproduced punk outbursts there was a tiny bit that sounded (and looked) metal enough to get me interested right away. And with all my last three reviewed albums featuring a skull or skeleton of some sort on the cover, why not go for an especially ugly specimen swinging its scythe across the black and white graveyard of dess?

Rhetorical question. This band used to be knee deep in the primeval soup of British extreme metal, mirroring the genre’s evolution in its own history. What started out as a crust punk outfit quickly turned to a thrash metal band and transitioned into doom metal later. As luck would have it, the early stage of crust meets thrash is also where the band met its heyday and where the debut, “Behind the realms of madness” is located. It deserves mention that later on the way the band would feature members such as Frank Healy and Paul Brookes (both Benediction) and Mitch Dickinson (Warhammer, Unseen Terror) – Not bad for your generic punk outfit. It also deserves mention that not only the cover reeks of ”In battle there is no law”, but the music as well, in tone and partly execution, is more than reminiscent of early Bolt Thrower. And they too have a girl in the band. On vocals!

Admittedly it takes a bit to get used to Tam Simpson’s barking, can we say “ballsy” delivery, but if you know Znöwhite (despite Lord K’s Class666 review having vanished), you might just have an idea of what you’re in for. Anyway, the real gem here is the guitar playing. Rarely does one find a band that has the dirty filth down which made Bolt Thrower what they were, and I reckon that it’s even more seldom that you find a band that influenced them so clearly in that respect. Damian Thompson’s guitar is a thick string of wool running through the album from start to finish, kicking out the jams in the form of scraping killer riffs and supported by d-beats, d-beats and d-beats, or slower pounding such as in “At death’s door”, where the intertwining of strings and skins comes to a culminating high. The low tone as well as the wailing lead sound are 90% “In battle there is no law” , where the guitars simply had been made faster and attempts of blast beats replaced the more “traditional” drumming from “Behind the realms of madness”.

The album features a mere six songs in 26 minutes, but those are damn worth checking out if you are more than casually interested in the late eighties British scene around Earache records – if this album had been released on that “cult” label, I believe it would be a lot more widely appreciated for what it is: A big step forward from crust towards death metal. In reality however, it falls slightly short of classic status – which should not deter you.


  • Information
  • Released: 1985
  • Label: Children of the Revolution
  • Website: Sacrilege MySpace
  • Band
  • Linda Simpson: vocals
  • Damian Thompson: guitars
  • Tony May: bass
  • Andy Baker: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Life line
  • 02. Shadow from Mordor
  • 03. At death’s door
  • 04. A violation of something sacred
  • 05. The closing irony
  • 06. Out of sight out of mind