Sabbat is not just the band Martin Walkyier introduced himself to the masses, before creating the by far more intelligent metal band ever (….Skyclad folks!!!). And neither the band the later famous producer Andy Sneap had as a teenager. Sabbat is (with Onslaught) the greatest Thrash Metal band, that Britain ever gave birth to. Top notch riffs, excellent vocals (oh that voice…); impressive occult lyrics and speed/thrash tempo, are some characteristics of a totally brilliant release. “History of a Time to Come” is the debut full-length album by the totally underrated Sabbat, and got out in 15 January 1988 via Noise Records, was recorded at Horus Sound Studio, Hannover/Germany in September 1987 and was produced by Roy M. Rowland.
Some interesting trivia that I easily found on the internet or The Story Behind the Songs:
“A Cautionary Tale” that is one of the band’s oldest songs, is based on the classic German tale of the scholar Faust, who makes a bargain with the devil’s representative Mephistopheles, which permits Faust to enjoy the devil’s powers, but ultimately in an exchange for Faust’s soul, which sees Faust eternally damned. “Hosanna in Excelsis” is another early Sabbat song, that describes the last fight between Heaven and Hell and is based on the bible, referring to the subject matter of the Book of Revelation. The title of the song is a reference to part of the Sanctus hymn, which traditionally forms the fourth part of a Mass in Classical music.
“Behind the Crooked Cross” is based upon themes raised in historian and biographer Gerald Suster’s book, “Hitler and the Age of Horus”. The book includes an exploration of Adolf Hitler’s mystical and occult influences, creating a connection between philosophies expounded by Aleister Crowley, namely, the rise of Nazism as evidence of the fulfillment of Crowley’s prophecy of the imminent Age of Horus. This exploration includes a consideration of Nazi symbolism, represented most potently by the Swastika, or “crooked cross”. Speaking to Metal Forces magazine before the album’s recording, Walkyier stated that the song addresses “the question was Hitler a madman or a magician?… I think he was obviously a madman.” “Horned Is the Hunter” is actually the song that in February 1987, Sabbat’s BBC session had included as song called “The 13th Disciple”, but with altered lyrics. Reflective of Walkyier’s burgeoning interest in paganism at that time, the song bemoans the fate of paganism, symbolically represented by the horned ruler Pan, following the arrival into Western Europe of Christianity.
“I for an Eye” tells the biblical story of the fallen angel, Lucifer. “For Those Who Died” is about the inquisition in the Middle Ages. In particular the song addresses the Catholic Church’s persecution during the Medieval Inquisition of those it considered guilty of heresy. Finally “The Church Bizarre” has an really interesting story. Speaking to Kerrang!, shortly before the album’s release, bassist Frazer Craske explained that he and Walkyier had attended a sermon by evangelist Billy Graham. Craske described Graham “as an extremely dangerous American, who makes his living spreading the word of God”. Martin Walkyier stated that “I went with an open mind… but what put me off was all those millions of people watching him and he’s standing there with a massive stage-show and loads of money. If that is what his religion’s about, then I don’t want anything to do with it. It was really centred on money.” This disillusionment is apparent in the lyrics of “The Church Bizarre”, a cynical story of evangelism and its pursuit of material gain.
*The contract between Noise Records and the band could not be signed until Sneap (the youngest member of Sabbat) turned 18 years old in July 1987.
**On February 19, 2007, “History of a Time to Come” was re-released. The new edition features an expanded booklet with extra photos and liner notes, a remastered sound (done by the band’s own Andy Sneap), and five bonus live tracks, recorded in East Berlin in 1990: “Hosanna in Excelsis (Live)”, “Behind the Crooked Cross (Live)”, “I for An Eye (Live)”, “For Those Who Died (Live)”, “The Church Bizarre (Live)”.
Andy Sneap/lead guitar