- Sabbat (band)
: "For the Japanese band, see
Sabbat (Japanese band)".
Sabbat are a Pagan
thrash metalband from Nottingham, England.
Infobox musical artist
Name = Sabbat
Img_capt = Sabbat in Derby, 1988 (From L to R: Fraser Craske, Martin Walkyier, Andy Sneap, Simon Negus)
Background = group_or_band
Years_active = 1985-1991, 2006-present
Label = Noise Records
Associated_acts = Skyclad The Clan Destined
URL = http://www.sabbat-uk.com/
Andy SneapSimon Negus Martin Walkyier Gizz ButtSimon Jones
Past_members = Neil Watson Wayne Banks Richie Desmond Richard Scott Frazer Craske
The origins of the band started in June
1985, with vocalist Martin Walkyier, bassist Frazer Craske and guitarist Andy Sneap. The arrival of former Striptease and Fallen Angel [History of a time to come,re-release sleeve notes] drummer, Simon Negus (replacing Mark Daley, who left at the same time as second guitarist Adam Ferman) coincided with a name change to Sabbat. [Metal Hammer magazine January 2007 - page 89]
"Let me shed a bit of light on things here. Martin and Frazer had this band called Hydra back in 84/85. The most impressive thing about the band was the fact that Frazer had already printed some 2 colour t shirts and he had a car! I met Frazer at a local Hell gig in
Long Eatonand it turned out they were thinking of getting a second guitarist. I heard a tape (which I still have, it's priceless) of a show they did in a pub in Nottingham and decided to have a jam as I was wanting to get some experience playing, after all I was the ripe old age of 15. Hell, two weeks after I joined, the original guitarist quit (i think this was on the cards) and the drummer left (thankfully) after we did our first demo a couple of months later, I think due to me having a go about his girlfriend being in the studio (you see, good work ethic back then!). It was Tim Bowler (the drummer from Hell) who introduced us to Simon Negus. The name Sabbat came from a book on witchcraft, but I actually found some old school books of mine with ideas doodled on them so I'm sure I had some doing in suggesting it, but I do remember we liked the way the word looked in the scrawly type of writing so we went with it. Yeah the flexi disc for white dwarf was an odd one, John Blanche, the art editor painted our first cover so it all came about quite easy, it does sound shockingly bad though." [Andy Sneap interview for wickedworldrecords.com]
After rehearsing for nearly a year they released the "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" demo, which was very well-received, with immediate interest from several record companies and a two-page spread in
"Martin and Frazer were really into
Venom, I was really into Mercyful Fateand Slayer. I remember the day we recorded 'Fragments...', Frazer had that Venom, Exodusand Slayer video from New York and we decided that's totally what we wanted to be doing." [Andy Sneap interview for wickedworldrecords.com]
"we did 'Fragments of a Faith Forgotten' on a little four track, we did it in two afternoons just threw it down. We didn't think much about it but off that we got a deal with Noise, two pages in Kerrang! and a Radio One session. It just snowballed. After the session the label were even more interested and then we got the Kerrang! cover after that." [Terrorizer Magazine Xmas 2006]
After releasing a
Warhammer-inspired Flexi-discon the front cover of White Dwarf magazine, the band penned a deal with German Noise Records in mid 1987(signing had previously been delayed because Andy Sneap was under 18 years of age and not legally an adult).
In September 1987, the band travelled to
Hanover, Germanyto record their debut album, " History of a Time to Come". This generated lots of media attention amongst journalists and fans alike for its unique lyrical approach and its difference to the "Big 4" approach at the time during the 1980s metal scene.
The second album Dreamweaver (Reflections of Our Yesterdays), was a conceptual album, based on the book "
The Way of Wyrd", by Brian Bates. The album demonstrated Walkyier's deep-held beliefs in Wyrdism, Anglo-Saxon spirituality, Celtic mysticism and paganism.
"Well, we made the decision after our European tour [to add a second guitarist] . We had taken Richard Scott with us on tour for the extra sound and it had really worked out great. But Richard said he wouldn't join us full time because he wanted to continue with his other band, but we had to get another guitarist because of the improvement in the sound." [METAL FORCES No 31, September 1988]
The introduction of new guitarist "Jack Hammer" – Simon Jones – made a vast improvement on the guitar attack, as acknowledged by Andy Sneap, in his interview with Renee Ackerman of Rockworldtv at his back stage studios in 2007. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmo2WVhgw90]
Jack, as he was known professionally prior to joining Sabbat, and indeed is still referred to as in the band [www.sabbat-uk.com "Hammer & Tongue: Simon "Jack Hammer" Jones assesses the damage from 2007" 01 Jan 2008] ,previously played in Holosade, and was brought in mid way through the recording of Dreamweaver as a rhythm and lead guitarist to compliment Sneap's contribution.
Tensions within the band began to mount, most of them revolved around money. The band were developing a very good following and selling a lot of merchandise, however they were victims of poor management and with a label (Noise) that did not seem to care what the band did. Martin Walkyier:
"With the Noise contract, people were telling us 'Don't sign it,' but we did. Bands who were doing well at the time -
Celtic Frost, Helloween, Kreator- were all on Noise. We had complete artistic freedom, but not for the right reasons. It was because they didn't give a flying fuck." [Terrorizer article #152 - Xmas 2006]
The band almost split up during the Dreamweaver sessions , but re-grouped to finalise the recording and move on and accept their differences. Andy Sneap observes with hindsight in recent interviews that it is great that he and Martin Walkyier are able to function within Sabbat again without the arguing about money, musical direction and clash of personalities he and Martin experienced. Martin Walkyier:
"There are stories that I quit Sabbat because the rest of the band didn't like my pagan lyrics. That's not true. All of us shared an interest in paganism. The paganism was never a problem; I was always left to get on with the lyrics the best way I saw fit. No, the truth was that I could see that the music was going to get even more complex. Andy was writing 11 minute musical epics and I couldn't even begin to see how I'd write lyrics for something like that. I wanted to bring in other musical styles, to bring in violins for instance. That would never have worked with Sabbat." [Metal Hammer magazine January 2007]
Martin Walkyier commented in late 2006 that Sabbat were in severe financial distress in 1989 and that he was living on government state benefits, such was the stark financial situation the band faced. Walkyier commented that he felt that they were becoming "like
Rush" due to the overtly technical nature and length of their songs – combined, these issues forced tensions within the band. [http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=98266579]
"All the things that went wrong with Sabbat in the old days were really nothing to do with me and Andy Sneap, even though we had our disagreements in the days when we were young. That was largely to do with record labels and management and things that were happening around us – the fact that we were selling hod-loads of records and not actually seeing any money at all and having to live on benefits at the time."First to jump ship was guitarist Simon Jones during their 1989 UK Dreamweaver tour with British thrashers
Xentrixsupporting. He left the band only moments before the gig at Sheffield University refectory on November 15th 1989, Sabbat did finish the gig though with just Andy Sneap on guitar. Andy Sneap has stated that this was a drink related departure and Jones himself has said he regrets his departure in a recent video on Andy Sneap's [http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=98266579 MySpace] .
Guitarist Neil Watson was brought in for guitar duties, and with only 2 weeks to learn all of the tracks, appears on the live video The End of the Beginning. Walkyier left in
1990along with Craske, with Walkyier going off to form Skyclad. Fraser Craske left the music industry completely at this time. Andy Sneap and Simon Negus overhauled the band and brought in vocalist Richie Desmond and bassist Wayne Banks. In 1991 they released Mourning Has Broken- but it did not go down well with fans or critics and the band performed a final show in Derby soon after then split up.
In Terrorizer magazine [#152 - Xmas 2006] Andy Sneap has stated:
"(emphatically) "I don't listen to this (
Mourning Has Broken). There is some mad guitar playing on there, some of the shredding is ridiculous, but it sounds thrown together, which it was it shouldn't have had the Sabbat name on it."
Simon Negus went on to join a band called the Glory Boys. Andy Sneap and Wayne Banks went on to form the group Godsend. Andy Sneap is now best known as a successful Grammy winning producer with over 100 albums produced at his Backstage Recording studios in rural Derbyshire.
Martin Walkyier initially wanted to reform the band as Sabbat in 2001 with Fraser Craske and Simon Jones, however, this was blocked by Andy Sneap at the time.
"The way I originally heard about (the reunion) was from one of the guys at Earache (Records), who called me up to ask me about it. I knew nothing about it so I called Martin to ask him about it. The conversation got a little heated and I explained they couldn't do it under the name SABBAT as both he and (bassist) Frazer quit, leaving me and (drummer) Simon (Negus) with a lot of debts and financial problems to clear up. This was the reason we carried on as SABBAT and did a third album. Obviously we wanted the new line up to work out but it didn't … simple as that. What it came down to though was Simon Negus and myself, in theory, own the business and name as they left. If you left your employee, you couldn't go and start that business somewhere else under the same name." [blabbermouth.net April 18th 2002]
Walkyier, Jones and Craske performed under the name Return to the Sabbat for 2001-2003, Skyclad drummer Jay Graham played on drums,after Simon Jones left (replaced by Andy Newby), the band continued for a while playing at Bloodstock indoor festival and a gig in Camden, London after which Return to the Sabbat disbanded. [Metal hammer January 2007]
2006the band re-united with the "Dreamweaver" line-up to support Cradle of Filthon their UK tour in December 2006 at the following venues:
*Dec. 16 - Nottingham Rock City - The Rig venue - warm up gig, without Cradle of Filth
*Dec. 17 - Manchester Academy
*Dec. 18 - Birmingham Academy
*Dec. 19 - London Astoria
A warm up gig for this short tour was played at "The Rig" in Nottingham, England on Saturday 16th December 2006, and as such was the first time since 1989 that the Dreamweaver line up had played live together. They received much press attention and rave reviews for their support slot and confirmed that were to release their first two albums in a remastered format with additional bonus material.
They then played festival appearances at the "Keep It True Festival", Germany - April 15th 2007 and the '
Day of Darkness' festival in Co. Laois, Ireland, which took place on the July 6th and 7th 2007.
Andy Sneap and Martin Walkyier said in interviews that the reunion is "a bit of fun" and there is no long term plan.
On February 27th 2007 Sabbat re-released
History of a Time to Comeand Dreamweaver. The re-releases feature new packaging, bonus live tracks, and a remastered sound. Sabbat's final album, 1991's Mourning Has Broken, was not re-released.
Sabbat were initially labelled as "Thrash" and "
satanic" in the Midlandsmetal scene. Fraser Craske: "We're not Satanists. It's more theatrical. We're interested in religion and philosophy and it follows that we write tracks about things like that." [KERRANG! No 140, March 4, 1987]
The late Dave G. Halliday was the singer/guitarist from the band Hell, the Derbyshire band who in the mid 1980s were a big influence upon and inspiration for Sabbat.
"We are heavily influenced by Hell and don't mind admitting it" Andy says with obvious admiration. "The singer even taught me how to play guitar! We're not a deliberate copycat of Hell in any way though. They were a great band and it's a mystery to me why they never got anywhere. To be compared to them we don't mind in the least, we would take it more as an honour than anything. We've just done a charity show at Trent Poly dedicated to Hell's guitarist Dave Halliday who committed suicide in January. All the money went to his favourite charity, Cancer Research." [METAL FORCES No 25, August 15 1987]
Martin Walkyier has left a fitting tribute to Dave G. Halliday within the sleeve notes of 2006 The Clan Destined release, "
In the Big Ending", which reads:-
"These recordings are dedicated to the memory of Dave G Halliday. A man who was literally decades ahead of his time, but who tragically never had the chance to witness the enormous & positive influence he had upon the worldwide Metal scene. Whilst i still have breath in my body, you will never be forgotten."
Sabbat had some personnel changes during their active period from 1985-1991, with guitarist
Andy Sneapand drummer Simon Negus being the only founding members to appear on the ill-fated Mourning Has Broken release, after the departure of Walkyier, Craske and [Simon] Jones.
Frazer Craske has recently left Sabbat once again, for personal and work related reasons. He was replaced at the D.O.D. festival by
Gizz Buttwho is playing full time in the band.
Simon Jones from official Sabbat website, January 2008:-
"First up was the Keep It True Fest', southern Germany April 14th. If anyone can recall, spring 2007 was particularly warm and boy we sweated a few pounds off thrashing to a sold out venue. It was great to share the bill with Laaz Rocket and Diamond Head too. After this gig Frazer broke the news that he wouldn't be doing any more gigs. Gizz Butt would take his place from now on. There was no pressure laid on Frazer; it was his decision and the rest of us respected it, after all we had got back together to play metal and enjoy it. If it wasn't working for him then so be it. Miraculously Gizz breathed new life into Sabbat as a band and brought a new perspective to the songs."
Martin Walkyier- vocals (1985-1990, 2006-) (ex-Skyclad, The Clan Destined)
Andy Sneap- Guitar(1985-1991, 2006-) (Godsend, ex- Fozzy)
* Simon Jones - Guitar (1989, 2006-) (ex-Phantom, Holosade)
Gizz Butt- Bass (2007-) ( The ProdigyEnglish dogs)
*Simon Negus - drums (1985-1991, 2006-) (Fallen Angel!, Striptease)
*Fraser Craske - Bass (1985-1990, 2006-2007)
*Neil Watson - Rhythm Guitar (1990-1991)
*Wayne Banks - Bass (1990-1991) (Blaze, Messiah's Kiss, Godsend)
*Richie Desmond - Vocals (1990-1991)
*Richard Scott - Rhythm Guitar (1988, live only) (No Excuses)
History of a Time to Come" (1988)
* "Dreamweaver (Reflections of Our Yesterdays)" (1989)
Mourning Has Broken" (1991)
* "Blood for the Blood God" (Flexi-Disc in White Dwarf) #95 (1987)
* "Wildfire/The Best of Enemies" (1989)
plit singles and compilation albums
* "A Cautionary Tale/And the Brave Man Fails" (1988)
* "Doomsday News III - Thrashing East Live" (Live) (1990)
* "Magic in Practice and Theory" (1985)
* "BBC Sessions (Sabbat)|BBC Sessions" (1986)
* "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" (1987)
* "Stranger Than Fiction" (1987)
* "The End of the Beginning" (1990)
* [http://www.sabbat-uk.com/ Official Sabbat Homepage]
* [http://www.myspace.com/officialsabbat Sabbat official myspace website]
* [http://www.rockdetector.com/artist,7594.sm Sabbat history at Rockdetector]
* [http://www.bnrmetal.com/groups/sabb.htm Sabbat at the BNR Metal pages]
* [http://www.theclandestined.com/ The Clan Destined - Martin Walkyier's solo project]
* [http://clintjcl.wordpress.com/2008/04/18/review-musicbook-sabbat-dreamweaver-reflections-of-our-yesterdays-the-way-of-wyrd-favorite-thrash-metal-album-ever-and-the-book-it-was-based-on/ Analysis of Dreamweaver album]
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