Label: Evil Records
If you want to empty your bank account in record time, there’s worse ways to do so than by trying to collect records by Japan’s Sabbat (originally known as Evil, and not to be confused with UK band Sabbat). They have released an absurd number of splits, EPs, live albums, and studio records – some of those records, confusingly, even have the same names as each other. It would take a soul truly dedicated to first wave black metal to listen to them all, but if you want a place to start, then first album Envenom is the perfect place.
Originally released in 1991, Envenom is black-thrash from a time before black-thrash was really a thing. There’s a lot of Venom and early Bathory in Envenom, but also a hell of a lot of NWOBHM. ‘Satan Bless You’ has the same kind of blasphemous feel as Venom’s ‘Black Metal’, but is faster and nastier; ‘King of Hell’ moves with doomed tempos, its guitars and drums rising and falling in dramatic fashion; whilst ‘Carcassvoice’ comes across like King Diamond fronting Hellhammer. It’s not a perfect album – ‘King of Hell’ in particular isn’t as gripping as it wants to be – but when it’s good, as on ‘Satan Bless You’ and stand-out track ‘Deathtemptation’, Envenom is up there with the best of them.
The latest reissue of Envenom is available from the Nuclear War Now! webstore, and can be streamed via Bandcamp. Given that it has been reissued by multiple labels on multiple formats, it’s also worth looking on Discogs for copies.