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Hatross Overlord

Joined: 30 Jan 2003
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:14 am    Post subject: SACRIFICE - FORWARD TO TERMINATION Reply with quote


(Diabolic Fringe/Metal Blade Records, 1987)

Mention Canadian thrash metal and one immediately thinks of Voivod, Razor and Sacrifice. One can dig deeper, but it's a sad fact that the Great White North didn't make it huge on the global scene as their southern cousins barring these three bands. But what Canada didn't have in quantity they made up for in quality, such as this colossal release, Forward to Termination.

In 1985 Toronto's Sacrifice released their debut, Torment in Fire, a cult favourite in some circles. It has its moments most definitely but personally, I didn't get it; the album sounded a little rushed and generic, bogged down by a muffled production and its own unoriginality. Slayer was perhaps making too much of an impression at the time, something the band themselves admitted in an interview with Don Kaye for a 1987 issue of Mega Metal Kerrang: "On the first album, Slayer probably rubbed off on us a little too much," stated guitarist/vocalist Rob Urbinati. "(And) we still like them, but on this record, if one of us had a riff that sounded even barely like Slayer, we would say no."

So two years later Sacrifice returned with Forward to Termination, a far more complex and satisfying album than their debut, and unbeknown to them at the time a thrash metal classic that still thrills and astounds to this day. "We just want to keep getting more complex in our writing, more progressive, yet still keep it super heavy." added bassist Scott Watts. "We're not just out for speed - there are a lot of changes in what we're doing now."

To sell the album to the curious thrasher browsing in the import section the record company had attached a sticker onto the album sleeve that boasted Sacrifice's second album was the perfect cross between (the speed of) Slayer and (the complexity of) Destruction. Inevitably the Slayer influence was still there, but in 1987 it was all-but impossible for most bands to escape the Slayer comparison - see Possessed.
But what changes there were! The first thing to hit you was the production, courtesy of Brian Taylor and the band; crystal clear, a vast improvement over Torment ... (though granted, that couldn�t be too hard). Forward ... sounded huge for its time, it sounded almost professional for an underground metal band from Toronto. The band, completed with Joe Rico on guitars and Gus Pynn on drums were rightly gushing, and the reviews were more than favourable, too.

But it was in the song-writing department that the band excelled themselves. First track Forward ... was a menacing riff intro (no acoustic pleasantries here) that steadily built to the thrash fest Terror Strikes, and suddenly it's blatantly clear that Sacrifice are a different beast indeed. Afterlife and surprise hit Re-Animation bring up the rear with confident, determined thrash, the musicianship excellent, yet it was Flames of Armageddon that made people sit up and take notice. Here was a 7-minute plus track about Revelations, divided into 4-parts with time changes galore, this complex, Master of Puppets-like song proved that Sacrifice could play ball with the major league.
Side B had the sinister The Entity, Urbinati's excellent vocals (somewhere between Tom Araya and Millie Petrozza from Kreator) howling the words Go back to hell at the ghostly apparition haunting him. Elsewhere, Forever Enslaved, Cyanide and Light at the End reeked of maturity; it was difficult to believe that this was the band's second record. And album closer Pyrokinesis was a two-minute race-to-the-finish ditty that left the listener reeling.

Sadly, due to record label disinterest and fuck-up's Sacrifice were unable to promote Forward ... as much as they'd like, and due to one delay after another it wasn't until 1991 that they released their third album, Soldiers of Misfortune. This was a natural progression to FTT, but by then the public's interest in thrash was waning for the more extreme sounds of death metal and alternative rock. Had Soldiers ... been released a year or two after Forward ..., what things could have been..?

As it stands, Forward to Termination is a solid, timeless piece of thrash metal history, and worthy of a place in your metal collection.


1987 Sacrifice TV interview & Re-Animation promo video:
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