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Sabbat were truly a great band, and one of the final bands to blast out a record in the true spirit of thrash metal. "Dreamweaver", released in 1989, is both a very entertaining and fun album to blast from your speakers, filled with great riffs and amazing vocals, but also an intellectually sound album - supplying the listener with extremly well written, poetic lyrics (courtesy of soon-to-be Skyclad frontman Martin Walkyier), and extremly complex and progressive song structures that are able to allow the tracks to last between six to eight minutes without feeling half-baked and forced, which is a feat in and of itself, as not even the genre's most famous band, Metallica, were able to make music that at least had such a seamless flow in their late 80's, so-called "progressive" years!!
The riffs on this album...holy FUCK! The band makes good use of the expansive track lengths by thrashing out killer riff after killer riff, some of which lock into a killer groove, others of which jump into the background as Walkyier spits out clever metaphors in the same pattern, most of which jump out and dice the listener's ears to bits in a rabid, blood-crazed shred-a-thon. Of course, solos are no forgotten art either, with the ones presented here shredding along the edge of the band's music, delivering a note of melody here, an ounce of harmony there, but otherwise they mirror the non-stop extremity of the music itself to the T, and yet, remain interesting and fun to listen to as opposed to a mess of unrelated notes (unlike *ahem* some bands).
Now it's time to talk about the vocals, which are done in Walkyier's trademark deep, rough snarl (though he utilizes clean vocals on "The Advent of Insanity"). It's not the vocals themselves, however, which are so mind-blowingly awesome, rather, it's the patterns. As a vocalist myself, I can't even begin to imagine singing these songs, and the thought of doing this every night scares the living shit out of me (yes, the shit inside me is living). What's so interesting and extremly clever about these patterns is that, instead of simply following the riffs or the general idea of the riffs, he'll take his lyrics and break them up along certain, individual notes of the riffs, making something that fits the riffs, yet doesn't mirror them exactly.
Even crazier, practically every riff features some clever, intricate working of patterns. And the lyrics themselves, once again, holy FUCK! These lyrics are utterly beautiful, as well as working extremly well on a poetic level, making sense on an intellectual level, and sounding cool as fuck, are once again extremly clever and are linked together by a truly unique concept of a Christian missionary from Northern England travelling to Southern England to learn about the Pagans, as to decide the best means of converting them to Christianity, only to experience an esoteric spiritual journey which can simply be summed up in one word: badass. I'm a fan of concept albums, generally, but this one tramples all over any King Diamond, Blind Guardian, Queensryche, or otherwise concept album I've come across, and considering the quality of some of these bands' concept albums (particularly King Diamond), that's saying alot.
There are so many memorable moments on this album, as well, such as the part in "Do Dark Horses Dream of Nightmares?", after the solo, where the guitars lock into a killer groove and Walkyier spits out in a machine-gun like pattern: "Shapeless form around me casting shadows in the light, I feel their breath upon me, catch their faces in the light, Somnambulistic hunters come to prey upon my fears, as peals of psychotic laughter echo in my ears!!" followed by an evil, psychotic laugh from Walkyier. Also, let's not forget the onimous, acoustic break in "The Best of Enemies", which is torn out in favor of a brutal breakdown riff, followed by a sweet solo, which flurries along with the band as they grind out a tasty thrash riff before settling back into the song's main riff. Trust me, you'll have an extremly hard time keeping yourself from aquiring a monsterous neck-ache from this song. Oh, and have I forgotten to mention that the third track on this album, "The Advent of Insanity", is an acoustic song, in which Walkyier lays out some of his beautiful clean vocals? If so, I apologize, as this song is utterly beautiful. I could go on, but that would only be spoiling it for you. This album is just written so well, with many, many memorable moments that will come to you in the most random or instances or places and cause you to drop whatever you're doing and headbang vigorously! Everything flows together perfectly, with each instrument complimenting each other perfectly, all lending a hand to steer the wheel of awesome in the direction of Sabbat's "Dreamweaver". This album is an extremly underrated masterpiece.
Now, here's my conclusion: While Sabbat's "Dreamweaver" isn't my favourite thrash metal album, it's a truly magnificent adventure of monsterous replay value, and I'm at a loss as to why this album isn't lauded by the metal scene world-wide as a genre-defining piece of art (even though it was released at the end of the genre's heyday, so maybe that has something to do with it?). If you enjoy deep, poetic meanings behind your metal, yet also are in love with classic, balls-out thrash tunes, this record is for you.
Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any neck-aches induced in your listening experience.