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Interview: Sabbat Talk Black Metal, Split Releases and Stage Attire

Interview: Sabbat Talk Black Metal, Split Releases and Stage Attire

Fluffy / Wednesday 9th May, 2018 1:30PM

Japan's black thrash masterminds Sabbat are storming Aotearoa's shores this month, bringing with them a fearsome and ruthless back catalog that spans more than thirty years. In anticipation of their impending visit, our resident distortion warrior Fluffy conversed with the band's bass guitar commander and vocal war chief Gezol via email on matters concerning split releases, playing at the ancient Nagoya Castle, and being metal in their native Nihon...

Sabbat is often credited with helping to usher in the first wave of black metal. What was it that first made you want to write riffs dedicated to the darkness?

In case of… “the first BM was Venom / Bathory and some bands,” we were from the second wave, we’d be the follower. I like such bands and more traditional heavy and power / speed metal bands… so I thought I wanna mix all various metal styles. Later, I named “Blacking Metal” to our metal! So, you can feel such music in our song 'Black Fire' and 'Mion’s Hill' in our early releases.

Sabbat has been playing tunes since 1983 a whopping thirty five years. Would you care to share some secrets on your longevity?

Usually, Japanese have long life, it’s the top class in the world cheat. We need to get a relax in nature and to get various good foods and work at hard and drinking and fucking and play METAL!!

Your recorded output is absolutely unparalleled, having dropped more than forty releases over the course of your career. How have you managed to stay so prolific over the years?

Forty over? But, regular albums are only nine albums. So, it’s not a lot. Maybe, 7” EP and other singles or small special release are a lot… and live album is also a lot… So, we’re not so different from other long living band.

Anyway, the answer is simple. Our Nagoya area has no real metal scene. We could not have so much live shows over here… I could take my time to create composition and lyrics, and we could afford to record. That’s all. But now, I’ve received a lot of live offers from all over the world… I’ve changed the direction of our activity into LIVE show or tour, so now, as you see, our release pace is very slowly. Moreover, in 2005, last guitarist escaped. And, then next (last) guitarist lives in Tokyo (400 kilometres far from our area). So, we had a problem on “rehearsal”. It’s also one of some reasons that I changed the direction of our activity.

Some of these releases are hard to obtain outside of Japan, with many of them being released on labels such as Evil Records in the days before the internet. Did you feel it was necessary to establish yourself early on by writing as many tracks as possible?

Sure, but, it’s original version of Evil Records? So, time has gone. Nobody can do anything. Now, our all albums are available from other labels. So, that’s OK?! Well, I wrote the reason of my many releases of the past onto above. Of course, I like to create composition a lot, and also recording. I wanna do right now. And actually, I still have more evil blacking metal idea for our new songs. But maybe I can do it when even if I live over sixty years old. “Live tour in overseas” were one of my dreams. I wanna continue the activity the best possible.

Your split releases alone number more than twenty, my favourite of which being Headbangers Against Disco with Gehennah, Inferno, Bestial Warlust and yourselves. What’s your favourite split that you’ve contributed to and also your favourite split of all time?

Ya, that four way split was really great! I especially like Split 7” EP with CASBAH!!

What do you think about split releases these days? Are they still a product of necessity for underground bands or are they more a novelty collaboration for like minded groups now that distribution is so accessible via the internet?

As I wrote, nowadays we can not afford to record new songs so, I offer live track when guys are okay! I give the live tracks to the label or band. I don’t care finally about the cover design or other thing so much even if it’s with fuckin’ Holy Sacred Shit! I can not afford to care of those “work”. So, I always write “Do it freely. ” Also, as you write, nowadays everything very convenient with internet. But, conversely, so sometimes, RIP-OFF men appears… guys get the tracks from me… but, no release forever… guys escape… That’s oaky! but, I’m angry to such guys since I wasted time that myself spent for the work!

One of my favourite Sabbat tracks is ‘Samurai Zombies’, particularly the stringed instruments at the start. Is it a traditional Japanese instrument playing the introduction? If so, tell us a little about that instrument?

Ya, you’re lucky if you come to see our show in New Zealand. We’re gonna play the song. But, we can not bring the instrumentalucifer. It’s called “Koto”. However, I don’t know about Koto in the details although I know it’s JPN’s original one... I had an idea to put the sound into the album Karisma since the album’s concept was with “Japanesque”.

Your stage attire looks fearsome and ruthless. Do you craft it yourself? It conjures up images of Attila The Hun on a bloodthirsty rampage. Who or what inspired your mighty leather loincloths?

About this costume, you’re unfortunate this time.. ‘cuz, I can not bring it this time on some problem. You will see really normal metal player on the stagevil! Haha! I sometimes buy, I sometimes make it with myself. I’m small like AC/DC. I sometimes need to make my size with myself. It’s quite hard to play with too heavy and hard leather and rivets. So, I sometimes make. Anyway, I needed to make my costume since I’ve started SABBAT, and I wanted the evil, black, satanic and filthy and wild and powerful and etc… such image onto band… and I wanted to make such different image from other thrash metal bands. I thought it will be an big image like this band has “original anything”. So I’m inspired from Sumo wrestler!

The live clip of you guys playing your timeless track ‘Black Fire’ at an outdoor festival in 1986 is excellent. Was the crowd receptive to your playing? I imagine many people may not have seen such furious riffing back in those days.

Is it mean live under Nagoya Castle? It was on stage of one contest. In those days, people did not know heavy metal… so, naturally, such persons did not know our Thrashing Blacking Metal. So, the people opened a mouth and were dumbfounded!! Kkkk—K! We’re not going to be accepted!! Never!! We were thinking so like people that never listen to metal is stupid! So, we won a Satanic victory!! Haha!!!

We’ll be seeing you play in New Zealand this month. Will this visit be your first time here? Many metalheads are getting very excited to see you play!

Ya, I appreciate. I wanna say thank you for supporters who bring us to your naturevil island from our fuckin' island!! We’re looking forward to seeing you guys fuckin’ Metal Heads!

You can catch Sabbat's "blacking metal" in the flesh on Tuesday 22nd May at Valhalla in Wellington and Wednesday 23rd May at Whammy Bar in Auckland. For tickets and more info head over here.


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Sabbat New Zealand Tour 2018
Tue 22nd May 7:00pm
Valhalla, Wellington
Sabbat New Zealand Tour 2018
Wed 23rd May 7:00pm
Whammy Bar, Auckland