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Skulls for the throne of Khorne! - 73%

Pyrus, January 9th, 2006

So, a little background info: White Dwarf is the magazine put out by Games Workshop to accompany their various tabletop gaming products like Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Warhammer 40,000, and other games played with a surfeit of plastic and metal models that are a monstrous drain on bank account, free time, and self-respect alike. And I have to say, if Games Workshop still did things like "Buy this issue of White Dwarf and get a free Sabbat single," I would still be playing Warhammer. In fact, this song makes me want to dig up all my badly painted Dark Elves from the basement where they've been languishing since I was 16 or so, and go unleash the Thrash Fucking Terror on my local gaming store. This is just about the coolest thing ever in the sense of "not cool at all."

Anyway, so this is Sabbat's little salute to classic fantasy gaming, the battle cry of the greatest of the malevolent Chaos Gods. It's got some goofy little keyboard work at the beginning, which would probably do a far better job of setting atmosphere with better production–as is, Mercyful Fate this is not. All is forgiven when the riffs kick in, though, with an intro similar to "Behind the Crooked Cross" off of Sabbat's first album.

This is very obviously the work of a fairly raw band, a year before History of A Time To Come would be released; Martin Walkyier's vocal patterns are a bit jerky in places (as opposed to the measured rapid-fire delivery of later material) and the guitar transitions are hectic and rushed. But the chaotic death march riffage is there, and when he's not fouling up his timing, Mr. Walkyier is as menacing and savage as ever, with some truly fiendish shrieks. The speed metal break over the "DIE! Chaos claims thee!" chant is a highlight.

The song gets a little silly at 5:40, with some more tinny-sounding Casio keyboards fucking up Khorne's monologue in an ill-directed attempt at epic evil–Sabbat, at this point, hadn't mastered atmosphere the way they would on Dreamweaver. But again, as long as they're just thrashing merrily away, all is well, and if Sabbat were to have re-recorded this song in 1989, it would have been fucking brilliant. Definitely recommended if you can find the mp3 or the (very rare) 7" itself, both as a solid, enjoyable tune and an interesting bit of thrash history.