Here’s a juicy bone plucked from the death/thrash/black metal cauldron of 1985. Toronto quartet Sacrifice were nearly as fast and lethal as any other band on the planet when they spewed forth this highly impressive debut demo. They had quickly absorbed all the nuances of Slayer’s Hell Awaits, and pressed the accelerator pedal to climb to D.R.I. Dealing With It speeds. The panic and energy never relent. The hyper instrumental title track makes Death Angel’s “The Ultraviolence” sound as old-school as Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of the Opera.” This demo version of the cut “Decapitation” is still one of the craziest thrash outbursts I’ve ever heard–intense as hell, and sick with evil. While thrashing with insane abandon, the band’s shared lineage with early death metal is undeniable. The semi-epic “Beyond Death” sounds like a matched pair to “Blood Runs From the Altar” by Tomas Lindberg’s old Swedish death metal band Grotesque — but that was years later.
This demo is Diabolic Force 002, the second release on the label best known for unleashing the Canadian band Slaughter on the world. In fact, I bought my copy of the tape on that basis, snatching it from the small demo rack at the legendary Record Peddler in Toronto during a family trip there in late 1985. (My mom found us cheap lodging on the top floor of some kind of insane asylum/hospice where they locked us in at night!) For a little historical perspective on the environment that spawned Sacrifice: every bootleg T-shirt stall on the main strip Yonge St. — and there were dozens — sold Venom and Metallica jerseys, along with a bizarre design popular with Canadian punks that read “Destroy!” above a crucified Jesus with a giant red swastika in the background. Venom’s Possessed and C.O.C.’s Animosity were in every record store window. And the Record Peddler had the Mentors’ You Axed for It and Oral Sex hanging on the wall. For Anvil, Slaughter, Razor, nearby Exciter, and Sacrifice, Toronto deserves a lot of credit for forming underground metal as we know it today.
If you’ve never heard this early Sacrifice stuff, it’s like watching Cannibal Ferox for the first time.
Thanks to Sacrifice frontman Rob Urbinati for giving thumbs up to this post. By the way, I asked him what they thought about “Decapitation” after laying it down, and he said: “Hmmm, “Decapitation”? I just remember we thought it was the fastest ever!”
The band reunited for shows in 2006 and 2008, following a massive high-quality reissue campaign by Brazilian label Marquee Records. Those South American lunatics have repackaged Sacrifice’s classic Metal Blade albums Torment in Fire, Soldiers of Misfortune, and Forward to Termination, adding tons of bonus tracks including this demo and others. Visit the official Sacrifice site built by Marquee for info, along with extensive band history, videos, vintage photos, and yes — guitar tabs, to help you thrash with real diabolic force.