Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sabbat - The Devil's Sperm Is Cold (1989)

Sabbat's fourth E.P. release, The Devil's Sperm Is Cold, raised the bar to a whole new level. The songwriting and musicianship, coupled with the overall level of intensity, destroyed anything the band had previously offered up. This 7" was released via Evil Records and limited to 500 copies, which was unfortunate given that there was little possibility of this becoming as well-known as it should have been. How a band like this languished in relative obscurity, without recording a full-length album until 1991, is difficult to comprehend. All of the elements were present, from great musicianship and excellent songwriting to the filthy production values and the old school mentality.

With each release, Sabbat got better and better, in just about every respect. Gezol's vocals became a bit harsher and more evil, suiting the music better, while still possessing the same attitude that was present from the beginning. Elizaveat's guitar playing, here, exceeds anything found on the previous efforts. The songwriting displays a shift from Speed to more all-out Thrash, at times, which increases the fury and violence conveyed by the music. Some of the riffs are reminiscent of that of Slayer's Haunting the Chapel. In addition to this, the lead solos are absolutely incredible. They are haunting and really draw the listener in. Rather than brief, throwaway bits that do little to help the atmosphere, the solo work on The Devil's Sperm Is Cold is well thought-out and meaningful. This is especially true of "Immortality of the Soul", though the shredding of "Hellfire" (the more straightforward of the two songs) sounds very inspired by Kirk Hammett's playing on Kill 'Em All. That is rather fitting, since the music sounds like something that would have been released about five or six years earlier. The galloping riffs and killer guitar solos of the second song are very much inspired by Mercyful Fate. In all actuality, this song is one of the best ever recorded by Sabbat.

For anyone interested in Black / Thrash from the '80s, this E.P. is essential. The Devil's Sperm Is Cold may have an odd title, as well as the weird artwork that accompanies it, but the musical content is beyond criticism. It goes without saying that all Sabbat fans should possess this release, which played a significant role as the band continued to lay the groundwork for their debut L.P.