Charisma / 25 Years of Black Fire - A Tribute to Sabbat
Style: Thrash/Black
Release date: December 12th 2009

Sabbat is one much exploited name in metal. Although the Japanese band exists from 1983 we could easily get wrong with their colleagues from the Philippines because of the style. But this is another topic. Although they pay homage to the classics in metal, the Japanese bands have the property to mix the genders in one strange world perception. In my mind appears the memory of the black/hippies Sigh. But this is also another topic.


This anniversary release includes 2 disks: the first one is with new stuff of the band, and consists of 7 songs and 3 rerecorded and rereleased bonus tracks; the second one contains Sabbat cover songs played by bands from the deep underground. The Japanese Sabbat have always played self-original black/thrash, which roots are Venom and Bathory. Without overdoing the speed they put into their music lots of heavy metal, especially in reference to the guitar solos.


In their new songs the quantity of the heavy metal has increased and except the solos there are plenty of harmonies with lighten the black metal basis. In the most part of the vocal lines there are characteristic falsettos. It seems that the three musicians have decided that their growing up passes through the creation of epically long compositions. The second song “Harmageddon” with 10 minutes time duration has been made longer by slowing down the rhythm. This makes it close to Hellhammer. The 12’ epos “Den of Hades” (the fifth track) is filled with heavy metal composing among the black metal verses, which is more than it has been necessary.


In fact the thrash is mostly in the beginning of the album (Samurai Zombies). It slowly steps aside, for heavy metal to come, and the last new songs remind of cover songs of Venom, but played by Judas Priest. Of course the primary black metal is added, as well as Celtic Frost passages.


The first bonus track “Necromantic” lasts for 14’. Acoustics and moderated noise are the basis above which the pure vocal line amazingly reminds at the same time both Fish and Jim Morrison! But Sabbat cannot produce such an elementary mix and this is the reason for which in the middle of the track there is a military march which goes to a funeral one with elements of Mozart.


The 3 minutes long pseudo-finale combines speed jostle and not quite refined solos. Then the epos returns to its primary idea, to its end. Fortunately the other two bonus tracks are more conventional miniatures lasting not more than 5’. One of them is heavy/black and the other is in the style of Bathory. I wrote “fortunately” not because the stuff is not good for listening (it is quite pleasant), the reason is because it is difficult for description. The album “Charisma” is produced in 1999 in English and Japanese version and the bonus tracks are especially for this vinyl release.


The second disk with cover songs begins with the early recording from 1985 of the track “Black Fire” by Sabbat themselves. The style of the band from those times is with clear vocals and verses in Japanese. The complex interventions of Sabbat modified by a walk thru four continents are more appropriate for a scientific research.


Furthermore the participating bands are not from those which you will hear early in morning on the radio. A good omen is that they have answered the purpose in a rectilinear approach. The whole disk is in black metal style and even the true thrashers Guerra Total have not escaped from these frames. Almost in every track there are heavy metal influences. And you could feel the spirit of Venom in every song.


This release is an interesting piece for collectors and people who appreciate unconventional black metal. Fans who consider that the modern big black metal names start to unify will be happy to listen to this music.



01. Samurai Zombies
02. Harmageddon
03. Orochie

04. Valley of Ogre

05. Den of Hades

06. Okiku Doll of the Devil
07. Japanese Revelation
08. Nekromantik (Bonustrack)
09. Black Magical Circle of Witches (Bonus track)
10. Seven Crosses of Damnation (Bonus track) 

25 Years of Black Fire - A Tribute to Sabbat

11. SABBAT (JPN) - Black Fire
12. BATALLION (CHL) - Mion's Hill
13. DEATH HAMMER (NOR) - Black Metal Vulcano

14. GUERRA TOTAL (BRA) - Hellfire
15. HOLY DEATH (POL) - Flower's Red


17. LABATUT (BRA) - Kamikaze Bomber

18. MORDANT (SWE) - Rage of Mountains
19. SERPENT SAINTS (DNK) - Darkness and Evil
20. STIGMA (NED) - Bird of ill Omen
21. SUPERCHRIST (USA) - Black Magical Circle of Witches
22. METALUCIFER (JPN) - Bloody Countess (Japanese Version)

Label: Pure Steel Records
Distribution: Twilight
Artwork rating: 69/100
Reviewed by: Maria D. S.
Date: January 4th 2010