Album Title: Sabbatical Gorgonslaught
Label: Witchhammer Productions
This is a split live CD from Sabbat (black metal), and Gorgon (heavy metal), both of Japan. The sound is a bit better on the Sabbat side, but both sides of the split sound very good for live recordings, quite clear and crisp. I'd give the sound on the Sabbat side an A, with a B+ for the Gorgon side.
Sabbat's unique brand of black metal is both frantic and precise, with wild solos, heavy bass, and insane vocals. They're a little bit thrash, a little bit horror metal, and a lot of first-wave black metal -- in short, great music. As always, Sabbat is particularly fine live. The tracklist here is a good mix between their older stuff ("Darkness & Evil", "Hellfire") and their more recent works ("Charisma", "Yoochuu"). The performance is solid, and the vocals are especially inspired.
Gorgon has an entirely different style. Their stuff is traditional heavy metal through and through. They play a lot of diverse NWoBHM covers live (like the Black Axe and Trespass covers captured here), and their original songs have that sort of flavor as well... I'm not exactly a NWoBHM encyclopedia, but they sound a bit like Angel Witch to me, which makes sense given their band name. This live show collects about half of the original songs from their singles, making this CD the easiest way to check out their sound. The energy of this show is quite infectious -- the German audience was really into it! As a bonus, the final track has Sascha Maurer of Ritual Steel on vocals.
There are piles of live Sabbat CDs in release, so their side of this split isn't essential, but if you've any interest in traditional heavy metal you must get this for the Gorgon side! Their songwriting is top-notch, and the vocals (while somewhat difficult to understand) are wonderfully varied and engaging. Better still, most of the songs here sound even better than the studio versions! "A Fool In Love" is especially great, performed with tons of energy. This side of the split is so good that it's made it into my permanent "driving music" file. If you like Japanese metal, or traditional metal in general, don't miss this. Highest recommendations.
Standout Tracks: "Darkness and Evil", "Charisma", "A Fool In Love", "Bright Lights"