Picture of Sabbat

History of a Time to Come

Sabbat - History of a Time to Come ©1988 Noise Int.
1. Intro
2. A Cautionary Tale
3. Hosanna in Excelsis
4. Behind the Crooked Cross
5. Horned is the Hunter
6. I for an Eye
7. For Those Who Died
8. A Dead Man's Robe
9. The Church Bizarre

While Great Britain is known far and wide for the proliferation of tea, crumpets, imperialism, and NWOBHM, its status as a hotbed for thrash metal was clearly reserved for a tiny cadre of bands in the form of Xentrix, Onslaught, and, of course, the mighty Sabbat, among a few others. While Xentrix and Onslaught were workman-like in approach, not to mention rather uninteresting and often times downright boring, it was Sabbat who would elevate the genre to new heights and put a great big British stamp on a genre that had up until that point been occupied largely by bands out of the Bay Area of California. Characterized by the dark, buzz-saw riffing of Andy Sneap and Martin Walkyier's ferocious and spiteful delivery that sounded like absolutely no other thrash vocalist of the time, Sabbat's first album was a bit basic in its approach, rarely wandering outside of the speedy riff-o-rama blitzkrieg template set by early Exodus and Nuclear Assault. What gives the album its identity, however, is the presence of Mr. Walkyier. While he did not display the tunefulness of his work in Skyclad or The Clan Destined, his gruff, crystal-clear delivery and his always-erudite lyrics were rife with so much character that it elevates what would have been a rather ordinary thrash album to near-classic status.

While I largely prefer their second album, Dreamweaver, History of a Time to Come is a worthy starting point for a band who would never get the attention of the Big Four, although they most certainly deserved it.

Note: Look for the 2007 reissues of both this and Dreamweaver, both of which tack on a handful of live tracks that show just how vicious of a live band Sabbat was capable of being.

Review by Alec A. Head

Review date: 08/2010

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