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Well, not all debuts are legendary, I guess. Canadian thrash output, Sacrifice, sees to this. "Torment In Fire" is their brutal debut, an excursion in punchy, harsh mini-thrash attacks that for all intents and purposes should have left me reeling. Such is not the case, though. This album is all wrong - the production is atrocious, a number of songs seem half finished, and from what I understand it was done on purpose. Yeah, Sacrifice tried an homage album to the likes of Venom, Possessed, and early Slayer, but the final result is sadly very sub-par and messy.
Like I mentioned, the production is utterly a mess, one of the worst I've ever heard. The bass and guitars are mixed in such a way that half the time all you're hearing is a distorted mish-mash of white noise. The guitars of Rob Urbinati, who also provides the vocals, and Joe Rico are solid enough, I guess. They manage to spit out some pretty good riffs when so inclined, but half the time, especially in faster attacks, their work just gets melded into noise along with the bass, which is nowhere to be found. The drums of one Gus Pynn are the opposite problem, being mixed too high, especially the cymbals, which give off an irritating over-loud distortion. His actual drumming isn't much to sneeze at either, for it's really rather basic thrash drumming. Easily the highlight here are the vocals of Rob Urbinati. He's one of those vocalists that practically makes a band, much like Bobby Blitz in Overkill or Rob Halford. His style pays homage to the gruff harshness of Cronos or Jeff Beccera, but he manages to throw in a number of really nice pounding shrieks that I really dig.
The songs are a mess, often sounding the same or not sounding too great at all. They very much feel unfinished or a few, like "Possession" and "Decapitation", just feel like fucking half songs. Be as brutal as you want, but Slayer did the same crap on "Reign In Blood" and that turned out like crap, too. Sometimes when the guys do try to come up with more structured songs, it still winds up a bit short, like the overlong and repetitive "Burned At The Stake" or the slightly superior time changing stylings of closer "Beyond Death", which probably is one of the better numbers on here if not by much. A few other numbers on here worth merit include the self-titled riffy crusher "Sacrifice", the booming, nasty "Turn In Your Grave", the decent, moody instrumental "The Exorcism", and the catchy, memorable "Infernal Visions".
Overall, I don't think Sacrifice were quite ready for their first full-length studio endeavor. "Torment In Fire" is a haphazard mess of poorly thought-out songs and a really awful production. Some decent moments can be dug up here and there, but you're really gonna have to dig deep into Hell to find 'em. It's a miracle this didn't kill Sacrifice's career, but thankfully it didn't. These guys would improve so far beyond this album in their next that not only does it totally wipe the memory of this one clean from the slate, but equally delivers an unrivaled thrash classic.