SABBAT Mad Gods And Englishmen (4CD+DVD, box) Review

SABBAT Mad Gods And Englishmen (4CD+DVD, Box) Review

SABBAT Mad Gods And Englishmen (4CD+DVD, box) BMG

At the forefront of the UK thrash scene (one of the UK’s Big Four back in the mid to late 80s), Nottingham’s Sabbat were a solid highspeed intense outfit that featured guitarist Andy Sneap, now a much in demand producer. The band are an important part of the British rock and metal scene.

A fair amount of material, a reformation or two, and BMG have here compiled some of their early works in a lovely box set. 5 discs all in card sleeves (LP replica style).
And while the gatefold card sleeves are pretty albeit not the most substantial, the box they come in is pretty solid.

Kicking off with the band’s 1988 debut, it is pretty brutal but well produced. Lyrical themes took in religion and philosophy, although the band were labelled Satanist at the time. Chords and riffs, screams and growls, it’s a good start. And brutality aside, the lyrics and riffs show cohesion and intelligence. Homegrown talent to look out for.

1989’s second album, Dreamweaver is a concept album based on Bryan Bates’ 1983 book Way Of The Wyrd, and showed the band’s interest in Anglo Saxon Spirituality. Widely considered essential listening within the genre. Solid, brutal and consistent too, well worth checking out.

Disc 3, again in a gatefold card sleeve, is a live show from East Berlin 1990 (disc 4 a DVD of the same show, originally released as a video back in the day). Selected tracks had made up bonuses on earlier reissues of the first two albums, so for fans it’s good to have a quality audio and a video too. The band are energetic and on form, and the festival crowd love the band, even those who hadn’t heard of them soon warming to them. It’s a nice t-ouch to the box having both the audio and video.

The final disc features 3 tracks originally broadcast by Tommy Vance on the Radio in 1987, and unavailable since. A rarity and a bonus.

A bonus is the (mini) poster and thick booklet with all the lyrics. Sadly info on the band is limited, we just don’t get sleevenotes like we used to, no band history or context, stuff one likes to read, especially when listing to a band or box full of so much material unfamiliar to me. And no mention of the band’s 3rd album from 1991.
So on one hand, sleevenotes, other bonuses and an album, a missed opportunity or two, but so many positives in packaging and sound. Fans will love, and not a bad place to start for a novice either.

Joe Geesin | Now Spinning Magazine

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