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Spellbinding - 90%

Felix 1666, March 23rd, 2016
Written based on this version: 1989, 12" vinyl, Noise Records

Leaving the brief atmospheric introduction out of consideration, the first two tracks of this concept album are really amazing. Both are absolutely perfect and that alone is already highly exciting. But it gets even better. They are also completely different. What an unbeatable start of this album.

After the intelligently designed, slightly complex tracks of the debut, Sabbat surprised the thrash metal community with a straight torpedo at the beginning of the romantically titled "Dreamweaver (Reflections of our Yesterdays)". "The Clerical Conspiracy" rushes by like an express train. Martin Walkyier performs relentlessly and his bitterness accompanies very furious guitars that do not lack of ferocity. The flesh-tearing sound of the six strings fight a merciless battle with the hissing vocals of Walkyier, while the whole band seems to be totally uninhibited. The explosive solo part crowns a mind-boggling yet ingenious opener. Attention, my dear friends of beautiful scenarios, this is nothing for aesthetes. Back in 1989, all these self-declared high sophisticated "thrashers" that had worshipped the debut were gasping for air.

The second track delivers the most brutal contrast while being ironically anything else but brutal. "Advent of Insanity" fascinates with its unique mood. A calm song with atmospheric background sounds that illustrates the mind-expanding trip of the main protagonist in a vessel. A calm song, indeed, but no ballad in the usual sense. Any kind of cheesiness does not occur. As said before, this is truly a unique piece. I am not able to mention a comparable track, although I am familiar with a certain part of the heavy metal history. By the way, "Advent of Insanity" makes clear that the concept of the album is highly interesting. The story about Christianity and religious conversion, based on a British novel, lends the album a special flavour and emphasizes the intelligent and exceptional approach of the English formation. I still do not know how Walkyier managed to perform the excessive lyrics on stage.

Although the thoughtful intermezzo deserves the highest praise, it is a matter of course that the surprisingly harsh approach of the opener dominates the remaining tracks. Sabbat do not hesitate to storm the barricades and the bone-dry sound underlines their almost stubborn attitude. Soft parts do not play a role, the band attacks restlessly. Raging thrash monuments such as "How Have the Mighty Fallen?" or "Wildfire" embody the vehemence of a deluge, not least because of their smooth flow. Despite the overwhelming harshness, Sabbat are clever enough to provide tracks that do not suffer from ill-defined twists and turns. Well, before some executioner start a smear campaign: I admit that the band was not able to create only tunes which reached the ultimate tier of quality. The opener remains unrivalled. Nevertheless, even slightly weaker tunes like "Mythistory" shine with their craggy appearance and offer captivating riffs in abundance. Anyway, when looking at the big picture, the full-length leaves nothing but a trace of devastation. But the autonomous group possesses the admirable ability to demonstrate a "fuck off attitude" without showing any signs of vulgarity. The combination of the raw musical direction and the reflective lyrics has its own specific charm. (Only the German RockHard magazine did not realise the fascination of the album, but this was not really surprising. Excuse me for this little side blow.)

The optic design of the album is the final building block of this monumental output. Maybe it is true that Sabbat did not write a predictable successor for their excellent debut. Nonetheless, they did not betray their musical ideals. Instead, they demonstrated their integrity and courage at the same time. No doubt, "Dreamweaver" constitutes a brilliant second album and it is still an intriguing document of the rather small British thrash scene of the eighties.