Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sabbat - s/t (1985)

Sabbat's self-titled debut E.P. was released on Evil Records in June 1985. This 7" was limited to 300 copies and features only two songs. Despite clocking at ten minutes in length, this recording is quite memorable. The material shows a influences from the likes of Venom and Mercyful Fate, utilizing an oldschool style that definitely betrays the time period during which the music was created. For some listeners, it is more important that a release possesses a timeless quality yet the primary charm in these songs is the fact that one can really sense the mid-'80s feeling that characterizes the songwriting.

"Mion's Hill" is a brilliant song that starts with an eerie clean guitar before launching into a murky riff that could have easily come from some old Mercyful Fate recording. The sombre lead solos are brilliant and show the level of skill that this Japanese band is capable of, while the dismal riffs create a dark atmosphere. The vocals are somewhat harsh, but not nearly to the level of early Bathory, for example. There is a real epic feel to this mid-paced track, and the main guitar riffs are absolutely haunting.

After beginning with a rather ominous riff, "Black Fire" speeds things up quite a bit. This track is almost reminiscent of some Punk, such as GBH, especially regarding the vocal delivery. Here, a cleaner voice is utilized and it works to the detriment of the atmosphere, as there is a much less-serious feel. The riffs, while thrashier and more intense, are a little forgettable when compared to the previous song. Surprisingly, this one made it onto the band's first full-length album, Envenom.

All in all, this is a very solid debut effort and established Sabbat as a band to pay attention to. It is a shame that they were not from Europe, as their work probably would have gotten a lot more attention, as it rightfully deserved. While not the very best of the band's 7" releases, and hardly essential since both songs were re-recorded, this is still an interesting recording and should appeal to fans of the First Wave of Black Metal.