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Classic Review: Sabbat - Dreamweaver

Label: Noise Records
Year released: 1989
Duration: 44:06
Tracks: 9
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: October 23, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 4.28/5 (85.6%) (50 Votes)

Before there was Skyclad, before Andy Sneap became known as a producer, there was Sabbat – the real Sabbat. After the killer riff-fest of their debut people wondered if they could produce a decent follow-up, and here it is. No sophomore slump here, as this is one of the very best thrash albums to come out of the 80's – which means, basically, ever.

For "Dreamweaver" Sabbat changed nothing about their sound or approach, they just cranked up the complexity, musicianship, intensity, and even the speed. "The Beginning Of The End" is just ambient crow sounds and a short, intoned evocation, and then "The Clerical Conspiracy" fires up with fast and furious riffs and Martin Walkyier's signature vocals. The sound of Sabbat is almost impossible to describe, and apparently impossible to duplicate. Andy Sneap wrote long, complex riffs that shift time and drop into acoustic passages without warning and he strung them together into long, rumbling epics of songs. Walkyier is really at center stage here, with his distinctive raspy shout. He's much less raspy on this album than on the debut, and his delivery is lower-pitched and more muscular. And no one has ever written and delivered lyrics like this guy. He packs in tons of lyrics and yet they are so well metered, rhymed, and syncopated, that they flow relentlessly. He works in endless time shifts and metric variations within a single song, so that he is always doing something apart from following the riffs, and yet he is always locked in and right there with the music. You will never hear another vocalist like him. Here and there he even sings a little, as on the all-acoustic "Advent Of Insanity." This album is all of stellar quality, but especial standouts include "Do Dark Horses Dream Of Nightmares?", "Wildfire", and "Mythistory". Out of nine tracks, only six are genuine thrash tunes, but they are all so long and richly detailed you won't mind at all.

The cover is a classic bit of metal album art. But the booklet (at least the one I have) has no lyrics, which should have gotten someone at Noise executed. The album is based on a book called "The Way Of Wyrd" by Brian Bates, which I actually own. I have to say if you are curious: don't bother. It isn't a terribly good book. The story concerns a young Xtian priest who is sent to Dark Ages England to learn about the pagans so as to better convert them, and his spiritual experiences there. It's very new-age-hippy, and I don't recommend it. If you want something cool, get this album instead. This can be hard to find, as there has never to my knowledge been a reissue, but if you can find it, get it. And if any label folks are reading this, get off your asses and get this fucker released again. "Dreamweaver" is one of the top-five thrash albums ever made.

Other related information on the site
Review: Dreamweaver (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: History Of A Time To Come (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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