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Canadian Carnage - 80%

Roffle_the_Thrashard, January 20th, 2015

Toronto's Sacrifice is one of the most criminally underrated thrash metal bands of all time. Often over-looked, but never duplicated. "Apocalypse Inside" is very much the same as its creator. When I first listened to this record in the winter of 2012, I thought it was okay and that I had heard better. Then a year later I revisited the album and realized that I had been far too hasty with it. "Apocalypse Inside" is a all consuming, well-rounded album, full of intricate drumming, catchy riffs, and cold, cruel vocals. Urbinati and the guys show off yet another solid, electrifying album.

This album's songs are strong have a good delivery. "Apocalypse Inside" has been and always will be one of my favorite thrash metal records due to its on-point and unyielding tracks. Full of powerful and meaningful lyrics these songs tie you down and force you to listen to what they have to say. Inner demons and tales of misfortune are examined and spouted out with a corrosive snarl that you can't get enough of. The riffs are well planned out and have a very clear sense of direction. Rob Urbinati and Joe Rico seem as if they have a better grip on their sound on this release as compared to "Soldiers of Misfortune." The rhythm section comprised of Scott Watts on bass and Micheal Rosenthal beating the skins, is super tight and are on the same wave-length when they play, as a proper bassist and drummer should.

Production that does every member of the band justice and is enjoyable to the listener is very important to me and other metalheads. This is where this review may start to get sour, stale, you name it. Watt's bass lines are supportive and forceful, but can barely be heard. But on this record they are hidden away from view. I feel that all bass players deserve the credit that they need and Watts didn't get it this time around. The sound clarity of this release is fabulous at times and then somewhat disappointing in some instances. For example, on "Beneath What You See," Rosenthal's hi-hat sounds looser than it already is, to the point where it's hard to figure out the rhythm his right hind is playing. On some tracks the vocals seem like they have no "bottom" to them and seem to lack some gusto as a result of this. Despite all of this, the guitar sound is awesome. One has to search and search till they find a weak moment regarding the guitar sound.

A nice sense of appeal in the album artwork, song titles and overall vibe is also very crucial. This album has all three of these things. The album cover is one of a kind, the song titles fit their respective songs perfectly and I love the good mixture of slow to very fast tempo tracks, the best ones being "Apocalypse Inside," "The Lost" and "Ruins of the Old." It's an album that I will happily defend.

I give this record an 8/10. Okay production, great songs, and even greater musicians. Add this to your collection as soon as possible.

Mid-Paced Mayhem. - 86%

Metal_Jaw, March 7th, 2013

A little more than two years later after their solid, strong 3rd studio album, Sacrifice returned to the studio with helpful funding from Metal Records. The result was album number four, "Apocalypse Inside". Unlike the fairly straightforward thrashing of the last few albums, "Apocalypse Inside" is a little different. The songs on here are primarily of a mid-paced nature, rarely reaching the classic Sacrifice style of beating you fucking senseless with riffs. The songs also feel somewhat raw in nature and stripped down, with lyrics, while not so far as to be avant garde, are cryptic and tense; seemingly they talk about the human mind and body from a macabre point of view. It is these factors that make "Apocalypse Inside" an interesting listen, even if it's not as satisfying in a straightforward manner as their previous works.

It is interesting to note that this is the only Sacrifice studio effort without the original lineup. Yes, the man out is drummer Gus Pynn, replaced by one Michael Rosenthal. No, not "let me tell you a story of me mum, dad or teacher" MIke Rosenthal, but another more obscure Michael Rosenthal who only drummed for this album. His efforts are solid, workmanlike thrash drumming comparable to Pynn's, but lacking the technicality. The bass of Scott Watts is sadly very understated in the mix, so I can't speak much for him; sad considering the more raw tone of the album. Joe Rico can spit up some nice leads and particularly some good solid riffs when so inclined, though on "Apocalypse Inside" he seems to scale down his efforts into more of a type of thrashy noodling at times. Rob Urbinati's rhythm attacks are still pretty solid, though again he scales back his efforts into a more groovish crawling. His voice is still that harsh and venomous tone, but again for the album's style he restrains himself, particularly on those nasty screams and screeches he likes to let loose.

When I initially listened to this album, I mistakenly thought to myself that Sacrifice where creating something to compete at the time with groove metal, without actually going groove. In sense maybe they were, but maybe it was a genuine stylistic change. Who knows; I sure as doody don't. The album begins decently enough with "My Eyes See Red", one of those short, primarily instrumental openers Sacrifice likes to start their albums with, though this one doesn't hold my interest even for its minute 2:24 run time. The pace picks up stronger in the title track, one of my favorites on here for the faster pace, a handsome solo and the addictive main riff. The album shows its true colors in the chugging, catchy "Flesh", and most of the rest of the album stays at this gloomy, mid-paced style of thrash. This tends to make the songs run together a little, and some aren't as interesting as they could be, but most fare well. "Salvation" and "Beneath What You See" offer a bevy of tense, booming grooves, slicing solos and dark, psychological lyrical content. The fearsome "Incarcerated" and the rhythm-heavy, charging closer "Freedom Slave" offer us faster content in case we were getting bored with the slower stuff. The only song I don't fully recommend is "The Lost", a too-slow half groove number that feels like it wants to let loose but never does.

Overall, from its indecipherable cover art to the stripped own style of the music to the dark, morbid lyrics, "Apocalypse Inside" is probably the most unusual record in Sacrifice's small discography. It's not my favorite of theirs, but like "Soldiers of Misfortune" I will recognize it as a solid, well-done album. The bandmates put forth good efforts and show great maturity in restraining their abilities, and most of the songs are quite interesting to hear, if not overtly memorable. I recommend "Apocalypse Inside" if you're interested, in slower, less traditional-sounding thrash metal.

Impressive mongrel thrash - 79%

OlympicSharpshooter, April 14th, 2005

There's a scene in the movie "Sideways" where the main character, a wine connoisseur, is explaining to a friend how to properly taste a glass of wine. After a long examination he tastes the wine and begins rattling off all of the things it tastes like including cheese, broccoli, a farmer's market's worth of different fruits, and an assortment of other increasingly bizarre flavours. Sacrifice's final album, Apocalypse Inside is a lot like that. I hear Death Angel, Megadeth, Metallica, Heathen, and Slayer here. I also hear Carcass, KoRn, In Flames, Pantera, Entombed, and Godsmack. Don't confuse me for a minute, this is solid and intense as all get-out from start to finish but Sacrifice demonstrates a remarkable range and mastery of forms both newly forming and unshakeably established. Its as if all of these sounds have all been funnelled through Sacrifice's big thrashy sieve leaving only big squishy chunks of the very essence of their sounds.

There are really only three tried and true through and through thrash songs on this thing, and even these demonstrate some new blood. "Incarcerated" packs some beautiful dreamy psych riffage bookending an intense trad-thrash blaze-out that starts out somewhat weak but builds up to excellence by its end, and "Apocalypse Inside" reels you in with its catchy standard speed riffery before sucker punching you with a killer melodic death chorus riff. In fact only "Freedom Slaves" manages to contribute absolute nothing outside of the realms of standard thrash, and it just kicks ass.

Now, you may have noticed that I said 'melodic death riff' in that last paragraph. Well, that's where this record gets really interesting. Apocalypse Inside was released in the year o' our Dark Lord 1993, which is the same year Carcass owned the world and began the genre proper with their seminal masterwork Heartwork. Thus, while Sacrifice cannot quite get full marks for laying the foundations, they do get the very special title of 'clever monkeys'. See, this record actually has as much melodic death as it does thrash and it is melodic death of the Carcassian 'heavier-than-Gothenburg-can-imagine' variety although it isn't quite as intense as the shit on Heartwork.

Furthermore vocalist Rob Urbinati has perfected the type of scratchy caw that melo-death is known for. He even injects a few clean vocals here and there, such as the Godsmack-ish chanting in "Ruins of the Old". The vocals have a surprisingly hardcore/metalcore flavour at times, but tastefully consistent (i.e. no angst breaks here). If you want to hear this violent screaming at its best, skip directly to the complete ownage calling itself "The Lost". If Sully Erna (Godsmack), Jeff Walker (Carcass), and Tom Araya (duh) mated this might be the result.

I'm actually a little surprised that my fellow reviewers haven't commented on this (but I must thank Abominatrix for pointing out the jaw-dropping drumming!), because kids, the melo-death is staring you right in the face half the time. "Flesh", "Ruins of the Old", "Beneath What You See", "Salvation", "The Lost"... these songs are a fascinating dance of thrash, groove-thrash, melo-death, and even thrashified nu-metal.

"Beneath What You See" is an example of the latter, basically a nu-metal structure and lyric sent through the Sacrifice-sieve and coming out a swinging Death Angel-like bit of funk-thrash experimentation. Tons of open architecture, the first verse or two featuring Urbinati in isolation singing cleanly with a definite eye toward the coming StoRm. Thankfully it is handled passably and they later begin filling in the gaps with some mathematically tight bridging riffs that pad out the space between that circular main mosh riff.

My personal favourite song on here is "Salvation", which charges out of the gates with a Megadeth-style swinging thrash riff (think "Polaris") before opening things up a bit with some Death Angel (we're referring to Act III-era) drumming before further extending the Bay Area get-together with some Heathen licks in the chorus... what follows is pure '93 Sacrifice, melodic death riff-stravaganza, focused mid-tempo power giving way to some subtle riff changes in the middle en route to a fucking amazing solo. Joe Rico is a superb player (see also the drool-inducing lead on "Ruins of the Old" THE BEST SOLO OF 1993) and he has got plenty of room to shine. Back to the point, "Salvation" proceeds to return to its intro riffery and as it did the first around rules the school.

So, what keeps this record from a 90? I mean, so far I've been pretty liberal with my praise. Well, it really comes down to one big problem. Yeah, there's a bit of fat, we could've maybe done without, say, "Flesh" but none of the songs are actually bad. No, the problem is the 'borrowed riff phenomena'. Other than perhaps "The Lost", every song has at least one riff that sounds like a riff I've heard before. It being 1993 I'm sure new thrash riffs weren't exactly growing on trees, but even so the theft can really interfere with my enjoyment of these songs. "Flesh" is the main culprit here, because it opens and is built upon Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" riff, and despite a slight groove feel and some serious melo-death riffage elsewhere pretty much fails to overcome the considerable anchor it's plagiarized riff set around it's neck. That damned sieve can also hurt it appears.

Basically, this is one hell of a record and I got the bastard for $0.99 at Metal Blade so if that sale is still on and this is still available, well, run (don't walk!) over there and pick it up. If you have any interest in well-produced, professional thrash buy this. If you love melodic death metal in its purest (read: Heartwork-era Carcass) form, then BUY THIS NOW. It may not have influenced At the Gates or Arch Enemy, but it has got characteristics in common with them without BEING them. If you dig mallcore and nu-metal, maybe this thing can get you into metal that doesn't blow. I can even imagine a black metalhead getting something out of this. Highly, highly recommended for Joe Rico's brilliant solos, Michael Rosenthal's stupendous drumming (he's at least as good as Lombardo), and Urbinati's vox and riffs.

Stand-Outs: "Salvation", "The Lost", "Ruins of the Old"

The old masters give it one last shot - 71%

Abominatrix, October 24th, 2003

This is the final (comeback) album for these legendary thrashers from my home city of Toronto, Canada. In the 80s this band attained notable status along with fellow Torontonians Razor and Infernal majesty for being some of the heaviest thrash bands around. Sacrifice's debut album, "Torment In Fire" is recognized throughout the world as a milestone in extreme metal and may have been just as influential to the bands of today as Destruction or Sodom. A little patriotism on my part? Maybe...but this band deserves it.
So in 1993, Razor was more or less out of the picture, Infernal Majesty was trying to record new songs in the face of jailed vocalists and drummer problems, Sacrifice decided it was time to reintroduce the world to Canadian thrash. And they did a damn fine job, though frustratingly, no one seems to have taken notice. This album has everything a fine thrash album needs. The riffs are powerful juggernauts for the most part that make the head whip and the arms flail, the vocals are a bit unusual but very cool, the songs are memorable and to the point, and the drumming...wow! This guy has got to be one of the best skinsmen ever to play on a metal album; his control of the kit is jaw-dropping. There are lots of cool rythm shifts and the band is able to stop and start on a dime, which shows their years of eexperience playing this kind of music. Mostly, great as this album is, it isn't very experimental or groundbreaking...it's just a very fine example of an old formula worked to perfection. The band does play around a bit with slower sections and some clean vocals in one song, but I honestly prefer it when they are simply playing balls-out thrash. The difference between this and the old material is that the playing is tighter, the drumming is loads more busy and the production is thuroughly crystaline and modern. A lot of things might be said about this: that it's dated, that it's four years too late and completely irrelevant in 2003. But damnit, if bands just out of their diapers like Guilotine, Witchery, Swordmaster, etc, can get away with unadulterated and shameless thrash worship, why the hell can't a band that was there in the beginning show everyone how it's really done. If you like well-produced, professionally done and tight as hell thrash, buy this!