Monday, January 03, 2011

Sabre - Sabre (Pact Ink Records, 2010)

Sludge metal in its purest forms rarely appeals to me. Sabre, however, rise above the mire and capture my attention with prodigious riffs, elephantine grooves, diverse velocities, and a curiously jubilant atmosphere. Sabre feels like a guiltless pleasure; when I hit play my neck instantly hooks itself up to the album's drive-train. Sabre convey a cleansing combustion, inciting a comforting metal bliss and unabashed headbanging.

“Astral Convergence” starts the proceedings with some laid back drumming and a lumbering but memorable riff. As this tank revs up its engine, the satisfying, rumbling guitar tone will commandeer your consciousness. The instrumental track is a solid warm-up for the bombardment to follow.
“Unearthly Body” cuts you down with a spray of shrapnel and a sweet stuttering rhythm. Brian Ross's howl makes its first of several brief appearances on the album; he is not a man of many words. It's not long before we're seized by the first shockwave of groove, powered by Tyler Jameson's tectonic drumming. Yes, you'll be motoring through the filthy slop of muddy trenches, but this is a victorious advance. Before you know it, we'll be tearing across cratered battlefields and driving the enemy before us.

The guitar tone on “Condescension” crackles like electrical discharge from high-tension wires and brings to mind glorious visions of Autopsy. Tyler Jameson's thunderous, tribal percussion evokes Chris Reifert's ecstatic rhythmic wreckage. The track registers high on the headbang-o-meter as riffs slip and slop like a mudslide. “Black Water” sounds a bit more somber; we've taken this battle to sea and the drumming is pushing us to row for dear life. Having reached the open water, the track settles into a heaving tempest of riffs. Brian Ross's voice sinks to deathlier depths, matching the track's descent into death metal motifs.

The production here is unassuming and organic, giving ample space to the album's fathomless bottom end. Neal Hunter's bass playing shines brightest during the album's more absurd rhythmic expositions. Although the bass frequently competes for space with Brian Ross's molten guitar tone, its force is critical to the album's ear rupturing nature.

“Josiah” launches with a jocular punk vibe, moving with the killer swing of a Discharge jaunt. The sentiment is brief; it's not long before we return to a lurching dirge. Chords ring out with a satisfying distortion and hang in the air like a fetid cloud, paving the way for the oddity to come. “Automaton” breaks ranks with the spirited proceedings by way of an extended ambient/doom instrumental. The song is dipped in outré arpeggiations and smothered in sepia tones. It could easily serve as a soundtrack to a Lon Chaney silent film (“The Phantom of the Opera” comes to mind.) It's the kind of long-winded indulgence that would normally cause my attention to wander, but the track keeps me strangely transfixed.

“WhoreInstinctsDefined” caps off the album with style. I adore the guitar tone here as the thing stumbles through a drunken cascade of ear-razing riffs. The track then rips into another ode to Autopsy, tearing along at a brisk trample. The careening penultimate riff will induce incredible headbanging that might just burst your skull. To finish you off, the band unleash an absurd, gargantuan swing before fading into the distance.

Sabre have put together a rampaging debut, showcasing keen riffs and a knack for substantive composition. I think I put on a couple of pounds of muscle with each listen.


You can stream the entire album below or purchase a CD from the record label here.

Sabre: Facebook | Official | Encyclopaedia Metallum

Full disclosure: The record label provided me with a copy of the album.


Bastard Sloth Records said...

You can now get Sabre's full length CD and tape for $11 PPD in the US!

SABRE said...

Thanks for the review! Shirts available @