Sabbat - _Svart Eld_
(Monster Nation Records, 2003)
by: James Montague (6 out of 10)
Those wacky chaps from Japan's Sabbat are not averse to a gimmick or two -- and _Svart Eld_ may be their dorkiest stunt ever, as they take one of their early songs, "Black Fire" (1984), and sing it in Swedish. Personally I think this is a rubbish idea, as part of Sabbat's appeal is Gezol's, um, unique take on the English language. I expect I am in no small majority when I say I wouldn't know poetic Swedish from hilariously mispronounced Japanese-Swedish, and thus the whole concept is lost on me.

Anyway, what you get is a gritty blackened thrash song, not dissimilar to what Slayer was doing around the same time. Gezol's vocals (whose moods must be dictated by Swedish weather patterns, because you never know what you're going to get) are distinctly gruffer and lower in pitch than usual. They're not really up to his usual standard, and I do miss those deranged kamikaze yelps. However, the riffs are classic thrash at its finest, albeit with a slightly flat production.

On the B-side, the boys remind us once again that you can't have too many Bathory tributes, as they pay homage to Sweden's finest son with yet another rendition of "Sacrifice". It's not a bad one, but does anyone still care? The sound quality is again quite poor, although unlike the original it at least has an audible bassline.

Although _Svart Eld_ is a fairly enjoyable little taster, it's far from the band's best work, and is completely inessential for all but the most rabid of vinyl junkies.

Contact: Monster Nation Records, c/o Thomas Hedlund, FjÀrdngsstigen 20.s 302 51 Halmstad, Sweden

(article published 31/8/2003)


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