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Reviews » [Review] Sabbrabells (Jpn) - One Night Magic (1987)
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  • One Last Night of Magic - 95%

    Sabbrabells were a name that should have been mentioned alongside Japan's greatest metal bands, they were a mainstay of Japan's Kanto metal movement, with a small but dedicated fan base, though, despite being more than talented and capable enough to achieve great things, they disbanded after their debut on a major label (this release) and eventually disappeared into history, forgotten by nearly everyone who wasn't part of that fan base. Holding a very high standard in the music they put out, their final release One Night Magic manages to not only match, but exceed that standard of excellence.

    All guitar work on this album, both regular guitars played by Junichi Matsukawa and Hiroyuki Sano as well as bass by Keiichi Miyao are played to perfection with brilliant fast and slow riffs, as well as hyper fast guitar solos. There are no cheap riffs to be found anywhere on this album, they're thought out and written carefully and in unison with each other, as well as the other instruments and are also extremely catchy and heavy, their complementing each other is best demonstrated on the tracks Black Iron Horse, Last Survivor, Black Hill, November's Mystery, and Darkness World, and is further enhanced by the energetic drumming of Shigeo Ishibashi.

    Sabbrabells' strongest point is arguably the vocals of Kiichi Takahashi, whose voice has an extremely unique rasp to it, unlike any other enjoyable vocalist I've heard (think along the lines of Masaaki Yamada of EZO, with a way less nasally and a higher pitched voice, and at least twice as aggressive). I would deem it something that either you will either like or you don't, and for me the vocal aspect's likability grew with every listen to this album, because they blend with the instrumentals flawlessly. This guy is literally the best possible vocal match for Sabbrabells' ridiculously heavy and dark style of heavy metal. This man adds heaps of character to the music and completes the band's unique identity.

    This album is chock full of style, variety, creativity, and fun music. There's everything from lightning fast songs to extremely heavy slow songs, bluesier rockers such as Foolish Street and even a super heavy ballad in The Mist. Though it's a shame, perhaps it's for the better that this wonderful band broke up after their finest work, rather than potentially go into a musical decline as so many other bands do, having crafted some of the eeriest, most memorable Japanese heavy metal I've ever encountered, as dark and sinister as something you might hear from King Diamond (It's a very different sound though.), with a unique feel of beauty and great flow throughout the album. I just wish Sabbrabells' members stayed in the music scene in some aspect. Vocalist Kiichi Takahashi ended becoming G.I.S.M's bassist for around two years but hasn't sung since Sabbrabells, and the others went on to do quite literally nothing. Before vanishing into obscurity though, I'm very thankful that this collection of great musicians gave us what has to be one of the finest heavy metal albums to ever come out of Japan to remember them by.

    Written by TadakatsuH0nda, re-posted from the Metal Archives.
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