Black Widow

Return to the Sabbat

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Few albums have undergone such a dramatic transformation in their fortunes as Black Widow's Sacrifice. Best known for so long on the strength of one track ("Come to the Sabbat") on an early-'70s CBS sampler, Sacrifice was for so long the guilty secret of a mere handful of prog fans that it felt like it might never be rediscovered. But it was and, today, no less than three full versions of the seven-song opus are available on CD, the original LP, a spellbinding live version recorded for German TV (with accompanying DVD!), and this, the band's initial 1969 demo. Cut while the group was still known as Pesky Gee!, and working toward the follow-up to its Exclamation Mark debut, it features additional vocalist Kay Garrett alongside the familiar Kip Trevor and, while the lyrics and arrangements are unchanged, there's an urgency to this performance that the vinyl simply cannot match. Added emphasis on sax and organ pushes things hard, while every song is taken just a few beats faster than listeners are accustomed to, to bring a delirium to the performance that is perfectly in keeping with the subject matter. Not even the presence of a little surface noise (the CD was mastered from acetate) can detract from the magnificence of the performance and, if you've spent the last however many years marveling at the Sacrifice that fans know and love, this one will take you even higher.

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