I was unaware that International Talk Like A Pirate Day had come around again (not really, you dullard) until Achren’s set. “You are a sorry excuse for a crowd compared with Bloodstock!” barks vocalist Scott, in his best buccaneer tones, to which he receives the sage response, “It’s the same fucking crowd, ya baw!” It’s true, looking around Ivory Blacks, about half of the crowd were packed into the New Blood tent on Saturday morning. It is also true that the crowd were a good deal less enthusiastic but that might have something to do with post-festival malaise.
None of this stops Achren blasting through the Immolation-esque Forgotten King & the crushing The Way of the Twilight or the Aura of Flies. For all their sound & fury though, it seems the crowd aren’t the only ones feeling rough. Closing with the undeniably catchy Bastards (On the Gallows or Bastards on the Rack), there is a consensus between crowd & band that we’ll call this one a draw & come back next time with a bit more energy.
Last time Sabbat played in Scotland I was shitting in my own pants and drinking sweet, sweet boob milk. Last night they returned following their reunion and very little had changed, only this time I simultaneously shat and jizzed myself, and my mum no longer allows me to suck her milkers. If anything, Sabbat have changed even less, still able to thrash to within an inch of their lives – thrashing almost too far given Martin Walkyier was nursing a bad throat which, according to the man himself, was brought on by the rigours of touring in a minibus in your 40’s.
Luckily for the assembled fanatics – some of whom had been waiting for 20 years to see them – medical problems and any advancing years were brushed aside by a face full of ball melting, warp-speed riffs. Proceedings began with a savage rendition of The Clerical Conspiracy but the crowd seemed slow, sluggish and a little subdued, which had me thinking we were in for another cringe worthy Scottish date where people are seemingly only in a gig to get out of the rain, having no desire to actually hear any music, which is something I have witnessed in this very venue on many occasions. Maybe it was just that everyone was in a state of shellshock or had possibly joined me in massively soiling myself as when Behind the Crooked Cross began, people were thrashing as if possessed by the ghost of Baloff himself and my fears of a damp squib were quickly allayed.
Seeing as Sabbat have only 2 ‘proper’ albums to draw upon meant that almost everyone got to hear their favourite song, the set drawing evenly from History of a Time to Come and Dreamweaver, and duly The Best Of Enemies, I For An Eye, Blood For The Blood God, The Church Bizarre and an almighty Do Dark Horses Dream of Nightmares? blasted the crowd into sweaty submission. By the time the band returned for an encore, Walkyier’s urging people to rub their bodies together to create the necessary heat for a Wildfire was as plausible as it was fruity and when they ended with the giant hooks of For Those Who Died, it was a fitting memorial for the ‘bangers that had foolishly, yet amusingly, stage dived straight onto the unforgiving concrete.
The gods may not have wanted this gig to happen; Sabbat’s tour with Shart Enemy being cancelled due to volcanic activity, vocal health issues and the fact that they had to play with only one support act, but they delivered something that was well and truly worth the effort. Now they just need to make sure they don’t leave it another 2 fucking decades to come back or next time I’ll be shitting in my pants with old age.