Ritchie Desmond - Vocals
Andy Sneap - Guitars
Neil Watson - Guitars
Wayne Banks - Bass
Simon Negus - Drums
The Sabbat Story, Part One
It all began on one cold February night back in 1985 when a local band by the name of "Hell" played a gig at a small club near Nottingham. In the audience was one Frazer Craske, a young guy from Nottingham, who played bass in a band named "Hydra". His schoolfriend Martin Walkyier was the singer with "Hydra". The two had recently had some problems with their guitarist who prefered the melodious side of Metal where as Martin and Frazer wanted to play the music they both listened to: fast and hard Metal as played by Metallica, Slayer and Mercyful Fate. At this very concert Frazer ran into one Andy Sneap, a guitarist who was on the lookout for a new band. They got talking, discovered their mutual interests and exchanged phone numbers.
In May the time had come to part with their guitarist and Andy Sneap took over. The first SABBAT line-up was soon completed when drummer Simon Negus joined. The four found an old deserted ballroom where they met three times a week for rehearsals. This proved perfect until the winter when they found out that the temperature in their comfortable ballroom dropped to below freezing. Out came the socks and thick jumpers and rehearsing went on. In May '86 their first demo which cost them just Â£10 was recorded at this very venue.
From then on things got moving: the demo which the band had sent to various mags and record companies brought home euphoric reviews, even KERRANG! Did a 2-page colour feature about the new great hope for British Metal and BBC 1 invited them for a Friday-Rock-Show. This in turn caught the interest of the monthly Fantasy-mag "White Dwarf" team who were happy to include a SABBAT Flexi Disc in their magazine.
NOISE Records were the first to wave a contract in their direction and after Andy had happily celebrated his 18th birthday their signatures completed the deal. In September '87 the band packed their bags and travelled to Hanover in order to record their debut album with producer Roy Rowland.
The Sabbat Story, Part Two
Renowned music journalist Paul Miller could not believe his ears: this inconspicuous piece of black vinyl going round and round on his turntable made him gasp. It didn't look like anything special, just another ordinary record, but that extraordinarily wonderful sound escaping from his speakers was truly breathtaking. Who would have ever expected such a masterpiece from a young band whose average age was just 19?
Granted - their demo "Fragments of a Faith Forgotten" from May '86 had been promising indeed but this simply surpassed all expectations! Martin Walkyier's lyrics led him off into the land of mystery and imagination, soon the dwarfs, fairies, goblins and wizards were leaping through his head and all over the room. Paul pulled himself together, sat down and picked up the cover. The SABBAT logo decorated the sleeve like a banner on which you looked into a dark sky, thunder, clouds and lightning. In a bloodred surrounding below sat a mysterious horned creature on a moss-covered rock, an open books of spells in front, its arms raised bewitchingly, the clothing in rags and its full white hair flying in the wind...
Who knows how long he'd been sitting there conjuring up dark forces for his rescue?
It was pure captivating magic and our journalist had to pinch himself before he could get down to writing his review for KERRANG!