On the surface Saboter seem happy to offer themselves up as a no nonsense, heavy as you like Metal band. It’s a shrewd move in some ways, let people discover you for themselves and hear what they hear in their own way accounting for personal taste, and that way there are no preconceptions to muddy a new listeners experience. But as this second album from the Greek Metal band further proves, there’s much more to the band’s sound than is immediately obvious. But then when a Metal band is formed by 3 ex-members of Thrashers Overcast, along with the drummer from Thou Art Lord (etc…) and a guitarist from Rapture, it’s a fair bet you’re not getting a Power Metal album full of Elves and Dragons! Or are you…?
Well, no, you’re not (just trying to build a bit of intrigue there), if you take a starting point of Judas Priest in their various guises and work from there it’s a pretty safe place to begin. Personally, it’s all the other little additives that I find interesting – mainly the liberal doses of 80’s Speed Metal (bands like Abattoir, Liege Lord and Agent Steel spring to mind) that shines through with the urgent riffing and drums along with the mid to high vocal range that also has touches of King Diamond and David Wayne as well as Jon Syriis and Steve Gaines.
There are plenty of intricate time changes and the whole album is littered with fabulous guitar lines, rounded out by full-bodied, Metal-to-the-core vocals. This is all driven by a tight, powerful, relentless rhythm section. There’s a little theatrical progressiveness at times (‘Golden Owl’ for instance) that keeps the listener guessing and puts me in the mind of more class 80’s speedsters Meliah Rage and Realm, and adds to Saboter’s repertoire nicely. With hints of Helstar-esque Power Metal and dashes of Manowar you really don’t know what each track has in store – and it’s all arranged and performed so damn well with not a ballad in sight!
The more you delve into Saboter, the more their nod to classic Speed Metal becomes apparent and they run with it. Never ones to shy away from an impressive, involved lead break (the title track is a great example), the musicianship is both retrospective and current. The Speed Metal end of the 80’s thrash spectrum was never an immensely crowded area, but there are many bands from that era who have reformed and are gigging again, but not wanting the bill they play on to be a total nostalgia trip, they might be looking for some new blood to spice things up. Step forward Saboter, ready to drag new fans into a trusted genre.
(8/10 Andy Barker)