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Live Report: Sabbat, Antichrist, Natur, Villains

Sabbat Japanese black metal band
Photo by Dorothy Fong

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Disclaimer: If you cannot appreciate the delicate beauty of a little Japanese man’s bare rear-end as he shreds his bass guitar through some black/thrash classics, this may not be the live report for you. Making their first NYC appearance in eight years this Sunday at the Webster Hall Studio was none other than Sabbat, the early Japanese blackened thrash metal pioneers who were welcomed by a raucous crowd who traveled from near and far.

Sabbat’s tour joined forces with the “Zorched Beyond Recognition” US tour, featuring Swedish throwback-thrashers Antichrist, along with the hometown heroes in Natur playing their brand of self-proclaimed “old-metal.” Be sure to pick up Natur’s long overdue vinyl release of their debut Head of Death LP out on Earache Records, and you can stream Antichrist’s newest Burned Beyond Recognition 7” out on Electric Assault records. Rounding out the lineup was the Brooklyn-spawned sleaze, Villains, supporting a shoe-in for album title of the year, their Never Abandon the Slut Train LP out on Nuclear War Now! Productions. (Stream their latest single “Drinking Double, Acting Single” here.)

Not to be confused with the UK’s thrash metal Sabbat, where Andy Sneap got his start before (over)producing many mainstream-ish metal acts, Japan’s Sabbat were essentially the far east’s answer to Venom, and are considered by many to be part of the first wave of black metal. The influence of Venom is very apparent in their raw sound, their imagery, and their stage garments. Vocalist/bassist Gezol’s trademark spiked leather ensemble that leaves much of his posterior exposed was certainly good for a few laughs throughout the show. Sabbat threw in a handful of newer numbers off their latest full-length Sabbatrinity for good measure, but their set consisted of plenty of classics from their prolific 28-year career, closing out the set with a bang with the timeless classic “Darkness and Evil.”

This past Sunday’s show was one of only two US dates and the only East Coast show of Sabbat’s tour before they headed down to South America for a string of dates. Be sure to check out HD video of the full set courtesy of Dennis Jernberg.

Matthew Achstatter

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