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"Temis made his style in SABBAT"- Gezol - 90%

6Toxic6Beer6, November 20th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2013, 12" vinyl, Iron Pegasus Records (Limited edition, 4 colors vinyl)

Black Up Your Soul was my main gateway into the extensive discography of Sabbat. I found my own copy while searching for records on a summer-long journey in Japan, and only purchased it because I knew Sabbat's Evoke. When reading the inside of the record, I learned that the point of this 1994 compilation, although made in 1993, was to pay tribute to Temis Osmond, who would join the band on guitar and keyboards after Elizaveat had left earlier from their first full-length Envenom. A bit strange, since the cover art was created by Elizaveat even though this entire album is after his departure, so I assume he left on good terms. But anyway, the question remains: did Temis fill the shoes of Sabbat's main guitarist?

Well, probably the best part of this record is actually Temis' guitar work. The beginning song lets you know that there will be a lot of bobbing of your head as you listen to an awesome mid-pace riff and low vocals that hound above the guitar work. In fact, all the riffs are more of an homage to bands like Slayer, Venom, and other thrash bands than any sort of black metal. The solos have a sort of dizzying-ness to them, seeming to hover around a chord while also subscribing to some really incredible melodies at times. To me, it sounds closest to early Slayer, however, the riffs are more in vein with Venom but play at a greater speed. There is a lot of variety in the guitar work as well, I believe Poison Child starts off with an acoustic display that at first made me think that I was listening to the Beach Boys, only for the guitar to go wild and to tie me back down to earth. Never does the guitarwork stray far from the tempo of the drumming or the vocals, and actually, some of the solos amazingly are played without feeling like they are speeding beyond that of the drumming. I must criticize Gezol then because his high yells, as much as I do love the sound of adults shrieking, they sometimes seem to accidentally precede the drums without sounding in sync to the beat.

The second half of the record, I just have to say, starts with a riff in Satan's Serenade that is perhaps the coolest riff in thrash next to Black Magic. It's an awesome interlude of two guitars, one playing at a higher octave than the other, of what reminds me of a sort of demonic All We Are from Warlock, with a solo that follows that is utterly breathtaking. Again, it's the melody that just screams energy and technique; in fact, the riff is so catchy, Gezol cannot help but sing to it towards the end of the song. It's also just great to hear the riffs and to be able to attribute them to various artists during the 80s. Mion's Hill, for instance, really seems to have been born from Dave Murray's work in Iron Maiden, and all it takes is less than 30 seconds of that song to hear why. I think some may argue that sounding like legendary guitarists may be uncreative and unoriginal, but in my eyes and ears, many of these riffs actually surpass the greats; perhaps the student has become the teacher. Unlike many guitarists at the time, the riffs also seem to largely play with the drums, in that they kind of sound like each one is trying to up the other; I can only think of Exodus that does anything close at least back then.

All in all, this is probably my favorite compilation of all time; it's a whole lot of fun and truly is impressive for its time and its origins. We forget how difficult it was to find bands without the help of the Internet and the hours it took to search carts in record stores for cover art that looked interesting. I can 100% say that I never once found music from Asia in an average record store, so props to this band for finding so much inspiration to write from at the time. And finally, if you have not realized already, yes, Temis filled in the shoes of former Elizaveat with shoes ten times the size. He would remain in Sabbat for another 15 years before departing, and it's easy to see why Gezol kept him for so long. Check this compilation out whenever you can, you will not regret it!