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Please ignore the cover - 87%

Felix 1666, November 10th, 2017

Canada had always very exciting bands. Today the separatist dudes from Quebec set the bar high, but already more than 30 years ago, the Canadians scored with very charismatic formations. Razor, Piledriver, Voivod and Exciter, great names that melt on my tongue, fabricated fantastic albums. And, of course, Sacrifice. Admittedly, their debut remained mostly ignored. In times when every week saw the release of a new soon-to-be-classic, mediocrity was not enough to enthuse the masses. Sacrifice's second album was therefore all the more amazing. "Forward to Termination" distinguishes itself from the debut in every respect. Glorious riffs, ingenious song structures, an almost perfect mix between aggression, attitude and atmosphere and, last but not least, brilliant melodies. The guys of Sacrifice showed the world and themselves that they had the potential to become a paragon in terms of highly efficient thrash metal - but the world never understood how to handle this promising situation.

Already the opening riff of the eponymous intro lends the very well produced "Forward to Termination" a pretty cool touch, even though it does not lack of sharpness. Casual riffs are a speciality of Rob Urbinati and his crew and they occur periodically. Of course, Sacrifice are very energetic and can raise a proper storm with great ease. "Terror Strikes" with its fast and swirling lines makes this obvious. On the other hand, the musicians also give the listener room to breathe, for example at the beginning of the epic "Flames of Armageddon". Speaking of this monumental number, it bundles the strengths of the quartet impressively.

Almost airy mid-tempo sections introduce the listener. The song grows steadily in terms of power and density, comparatively long instrumental parts give the song an unholy aura. The band hits the brakes and an eerie intermezzo is the harbinger of another high speed eruption that adds a straight feeling to the track. Yes, there are many twists and turns, but they do not push the song into the confusing region of incomprehensible heterogeneity. Quite the opposite, "Flames of Armageddon" appears very coherent and full of powerful ideas that match each other perfectly. (By the way, the closer of the B side, the straight, fast and short "Pyrokinesis" comes as an explicit alternative to "Flames of Armageddon".)

The entire A side of the vinyl must be described with words such as excellent or outstanding. Great drums open the door for "Afterlife" and prepare the ground for fiery guitars. "Re-Animation" is even better, a more or less bombastic beginning leads to abrasive guitars that roll over the audience without taking care of high velocity. Nevertheless, the band changes into a higher gear and increases the intensity successfully. In view of these gems of the first half, it is almost logical that the B side fights a losing battle. Don't get me wrong, its opener, for example, is quite strong. A drilling, jerky riff segues into a flowing speed part and due to further twists and turns, "The Entity" is almost on a par with the titles of the first half. But its predominantly mid-tempo approach does not provide this mega portion of energy that constitutes an important feature of the album's first half. A good, but not a titanic tune. Only "Light of the End" meets the A side songs on an equal footing.

As indicated above, the album, which is defaced by the garish artwork, scores with a clearly defined, punchy and vehement production. This is clean thrash, free from filth but not free from aggression, vigour and robustness. Sacrifice's songs profit from this mix, because it underlines the fine, precise approach of the group. The guitars do not slay the listener with their pure massiveness. They rather impress with accuracy and sophistication. Hence follows that Sacrifice offer a full-length with a certain individuality. Indeed, "Forward to Termination" has soul and spirit. It is not the best album from North America which was released in the eighties, but it tramples a lot of other works into the dust. Guess you are not surprised about this summary. As mentioned earlier, "Made in Canada" was and is always a promising feature.

Canadian Quality - 92%

StainedClass95, July 9th, 2014

I'm always rather surprised when I'm reminded that bands like Sacrifice are Canadian. I just don't associate this kind of raging fun with Canada. I can associate progressive and technical acumen with them: Rush, Voivod, Cryptopsy, and Gorguts. These bands are all renowned for their quirkiness and technique. Cryptopsy might be more known for their brutality, but the skill is there whereas Sacrifice is essentially just straight-ahead fun thrash. This isn't to say they can't play, but it's not a major feature.

The production on here is a little rough, but not seriously. Torment in Fire was much rougher. This is more like Darkness Descends with less of the fuzziness. I would say that this production works well for the album at hand. The band still has this wild energy to them and the less than perfect sound compliments this well.

The guitar players are quite clear in the mix as every riff can be enjoyed to their fullest. There are quite a few enjoyable riffs in here. They're not especially technical, but their not trying to be. The riffs are forceful, fast, and as heavy as they need to be. Thankfully, there is a good deal of variety in their riffing, so none of the simpler riffs overstay their welcome. The solos aren't anything wonderful, but there's few of them so no harm done.

The drumming is pretty good for thrash. He can go pretty fast, he has good fills, and he hits hard enough. Surprising for a recording of this quality, the drum sound is very good. It can get a little buried from time to time, but it is a pretty ideal sound. The bass is submerged for most of the album except for Forever Enslaved and then it is very loud. He tosses in a few nifty fills, so when audible he's not bad.

The vocalist is somewhat unusual. He reminds me of Don Doty or a young Schmier. He's definitely unpredictable with his wild screams approach to the music. I like it, and it's not uncommon for thrash. Could I envision a metal fan not liking it, of course, but probably one who isn't big into thrash anyways.

Considering the nature of the record as a fun romp, this does the job quite well. It is a very nice, brutal thrash record that I could just put on and enjoy. The reason for its high rating is that I can't think of any really legitimate complaints. The reason it's not any higher is because Dark Angel essentially outdid this album the year before. I would recommend this album to anyone who likes thrash.

Hands Down, One of The Best Thrash Albums EVER! - 94%

Metal_Jaw, March 2nd, 2013

Once in a long while along comes a heavy metal album that will completely and totally annihilate poor little me. Sure, there's quite a lot I enjoy and I don't mind throwing around higher ratings for some records; I like what I like, but some of them I forget about in due time. Sacrifice's sophomore effort, "Forward To Termination", is one that no matter how many times it fails to come to mind, still returns with a vengeance anyway. This album is goddamn fantastic! It does everything right the debut did wrong and manages to improve upon it 666 fold, thereby making the sloppy "Torment In Fire" seem like little more than a silly afterthought. This, my friends, is how thrash metal should be: loud, clear, brutal, yet melodic, and with more killer riffs then you can toss a Sepultura album at.

One of the highlights is the incredible production. Every instrument is given its dues and then some. Everything is so clear, and the whole record just feels HUGE, booming and larger than life, not to mention wholly evil. The guitars feel gargantuan, with so much weight on them you'd think they were gonna crush you into dust while the drums pound out with a pummeling dryness and a tad bit of distortion for effect. The bass is surprisingly clear and has a fuzzy, but intense sound to it. Everyone - Gus Pynn (drums), Scott Watts (bass), and Joe Rico (leads, I think) - perform pretty fucking effortlessly as though this album where surely their last. And of course we have Rob Urbinati giving his all on vocals, sounding like a Canadian Zetro sans the more nasally approach, but still this man's 100%, field-clearing screams and unforgiving mid-range barks make him a force to be reckoned with.

From beginning to end, "Forward To Termination" isn't totally perfect, for there's still a few songs that don't click with me. "The Entity", for example, is for all intents and purposes a good song with loads of fierce time changes, nice riffage, yada-yada, but the song never sat well with me. I always found it a tad uninteresting. The short closer, "Pyrokenesis", is always found to be kinda generic as well as likeably furious as it may be. But most everything flat out will fucking KILL you. The brief, furious opening title track slices right outta nowhere before jumping straight into the bloodthirsty speed and aggression of "Terror Strikes" where harsh hooks and licks abound! The mid-pace of "Forever Enslaved", with a few melodic guitar lines, is quite strong as is the screeching fury of "Cyanide" and the lengthy guitar-driven verses of the tense "Light of the End". Then we have a pair of masterpieces. "Re-Animation" is one of the greatest thrash metal songs ever recorded. The verse riff is unforgettable as is the vicious riff in the song's middle break and Urbinati's jaw-dropping, poseur-slaughtering vocal delivery. Hear this song NOW! The epic "Flames of Armageddon" is one of the OTHER greatest thrash songs ever made. The main riff will drill itself into your skull, helpless against its power! The mood changes in this song are incredible, starting as a rushing thrasher before moving into more mid-paced territory, and at last at a short, spooky bass and atmosphere-driven middle part, then back again. Definitely a goddamn masterpiece.

Overall, if you even have a passing interest in thrash, there's no reason you shouldn't own or at the very least hear this album. The bandmates give it their all and then some, the production is one of the best I've ever heard, and some of these songs just have to be heard to be appreciated. Forget "Torment In..."...uh, you know what, Sacrifice never did an album before this. Hail "Forward To Termination"! "Spirit world sends back my soul!!!"

Closer to the fountain of youth than the debut - 88%

Gutterscream, August 26th, 2005
Written based on this version: 1987, 12" vinyl, Diabolic Force

“…the wheel of life turns forever, a horizon begins to each that dies…”

If the band’s debut hasn’t been killed by time, then their follow-up to it is over at the tattoo parlor getting ‘time is on my side’ across its back.

In the two years separating the disks, a few things happened. The band unearthed tightness for their bombastic, yet crude sound. In the same hole in the ground they found an unlocked metal box, which they opened and discovered the blueprints for a more potent aptitude in songwriting and musicianship. Focus floated out of the box like a spirit and possessed the quartet, showing them cohesion of their ideas. The guys who carry the tools handed them a better, less-tinny production and with that, they threw that galling cymbal hiss into the hole and covered it over. One thing that didn’t happen is that no one in the debut’s line-up took a walk, a difficult accomplishment in 730 days. The aural invasion of Sacrifice didn’t just keep in practice, it learned a few killer moves along the way.

You already know the decimation of non-believers is on their hit list, but instead of immediately hurling headfirst into the heart of aggression, they let the brief title cut tenderize them a bit with a slew of badgering breaking riffs, then with a twiddle of a solo and one of Urbinati’s tree-splicing screams, “Terror Strikes” slices them to the bone. Raging speed surrounds tempo changes that were already there, but lacked the confident finesse to really drive them home. “Re-animation” mood swings with a volatile chorus that gives way to slower, near diabolical riffage, setting up the squealing birth of “Afterlife”. The chorus trounces like a starved praying mantis, straight to the throat, the solo resembles the victim’s shrieks of pain, and the creature is up and hunting again. The lengthy “Flames of Armageddon” slow burns at the start, building with a frothing turbulence to the forest fire that includes the main riff and chorus, bridging an unexpected, semi-silent break near the track’s center, then oxygen hits the flame again; basically the kind of song they wanted with the debut’s “Beyond Death”, but couldn’t manage.

Throwaway track “The Entity” ingloriously starts side two, meanwhile a strange and brief scale-like rhythm doesn’t hinder the mid-pace wander of “Forever Enslaved”. Even slower yet are double bass-powered moments of “Cyanide”, but speed comes in bursts that enrapture the dramatic chorus, and even the end of the track can’t halt the offensive as “Light at the End” sprints maniacally onward. Velocity and rhythm diversity is the song’s strong point, meshing moods together like a musical seamstress. Saving a brute for last, “Pyrokinesis” is an almost outright head charge that finishes the lp on a note nearly opposite of how it began.

Yep, the two years did Sacrifice’s body good, and is the reason why the record has fared better in time’s acid test. It’s just a more mature, progressive effort where mentioning ‘classic’ in the same breath doesn’t seem as out of place as the debut. Their next endeavor, Soldiers of Misfortune, will see the band transcend the adorable ‘80s.

“…your mind is silenced now, screaming souls await…”

Feel the rush destroy your mind! - 94%

radicaleb, May 16th, 2005

This album will basically tear your face off. After ODing on their first album (which cuts through the terrible production better than it should) and hearing "Re-Animation" a million times I didn't think the rest of the album could live up to my expectations but it totally surpassed them and thrashed me to death. Sacrifice are, along with their Diabolic Force labelmates Slaughter, Canada's main contribution to that north-eastern extreme thrash scene that gave way to death metal, without being death metal.

Rob Urbinati's vocal style is among the most unique I have heard in metal, super jilting and rough and sick. It has that growled-but-not-roared Tom Araya quality (as mentioned, early Slayer is an obvious influence throughout) but in a much more staccato and aggressive way that seems more suited to the insane riffing that is, of course, the main attraction of this album.

And what fucking riffs!!! With the exception of the last two songs, this album just absolutely destroys, piling one headbanging riff onto another. They have a tendency to introduce a riff and then after a few bars change the accents in it, or speed it up, so that you're already familiar with the rhythm when all of a sudden you want to thrash ten times harder to it. These subtle changes add a tension to the album as a whole that could sometimes be thought of as "repetitive" but seems to me more to represent Sacrifice's uniqueness and distinction as songwriters.

For me the highlights are the obvious choices of the opening track, "Re-Animation," and of course the absolutely brilliant "Cyanide." Not to mention Cyanide's follower, the opening riff on "Light of the End." But my favourite track is "The Entity," whose intro and totally brutal middle section are highlighted by the intensity of Scott Watts on bass. He plays less like a rhythmic backbone and more like a fucking headbutt, providing HUGE bass riffage to deepen the hell that the guitars are putting you through. Watts is one of my all-around favourite metal bassists and this album is one of the main reasons why.

If you're looking to get THE essential Canadian metal album, or just want to stiffen your neck from hours (and hours!) of headbanging, this album is a must-own. Terminaaaate!