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Sacrifice – Torment In Fire [Re-Release]

sacrifice – torment in fire [re-release]


While Germany had their Big 3 (Sodom, Destruction, Kreator) and the USA had their Big 4 (Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax) Canada had their Big 5: Annihilator, Exciter, Razor, Voivod and Sacrifice. Although in the case of the Canadians, perhaps less can be said about ‘big’, these bands all brought their own sound and each of them has their classics, but never managed to reach the same levels of popularity of their American or German counterparts. All debates aside whether Exodus or Testament belong to the American top, Tankard to the German and the Canadian Infernäl Mäjesty should be mentioned instead of Annihilator, all of these individual bands were invaluable to their (local) scenes from which many new acts sprung and gave Thrash Metal its unprecedented boost in the late 80’s. And although Canada’s Thrash Metal scene might have been smaller and less popular, it definitely had a lot of great bands to offer. One of those definitely was Toronto based Sacrifice, a rock ‘em, sock ‘em kind of aggressive Thrash Metal act that equals a bare knuckle fist to the teeth.

Sacrifice’s debut album, ‘Torment In Fire’ from 1986 was one of the very first Canadian Thrash Metal albums and was originally released through Fringe Product, an independent Canadian label that was releasing Punk records of bands such as Dead Kennedys and Black Flag in the early 1980’s but also turned to metal as well, giving birth to various bands such as Slaughter, Razor, Onslaught and Suicidal Tendencies. While Sacrifice never had the intricacies or complexity of, say, Voivod or the hookiness of Exciter or Annihilator nor the ferocity of Razor, the band’s influence was heard on more than a few bands that would later get into the biggest regions of the extreme metal genres. Best example might be Birmingham’s Napalm Death, whose buzzing sound is pretty much taken from a mixture of the guitar tones of both Hellhammer and Sacrifice.

Musically ‘Torment In Fire’ is best described as a mix of both the straightforward sound that was typical for Thrash Metal at the time and the more blackened side of Thrash Metal of the earliest Sodom and Sepultura recordings. It features remarkably little melody and is clearly based on a riff-heavy sort of pummelling. The frantic pace and the maniacal vocals gives the album that irresistible charm that a lot of those primal classic 80’s records have. While not entirely comparable, I would say that this has a bit of that same ambience of those early records of bands like Hollows Eve and Rigor Mortis. Those records all have that same sort of production, not all too polished and free from all kinds of modernity and just raw enough to preserve its pure energy and to give it that violent intent.

On its subsequent albums Sacrifice would go for a different approach, both musically and production wise, and create their own classic record, but on ‘Torment In Fire’ we get the very most of the band’s unpolished, ugly and stripped down form. If you have a weak spot for 80’s Thrash Metal, it won’t get much better than ‘Torment In Fire’, but if you are still reading this, chances are you already knew that.

In 2022 both Shadow Kingdom Records and High Roller Records gave this album a much deserved reissue. And judging from High Roller Records’ releasing history, they will most likely keep this one in print for the new generations to pick up.