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Biography

SABBAT, A Nottingham based 'Satanic Opera' quartet, formed in June 1985 from a previous act titled HYDRA. The line-up for HYDRA featured vocalist Martin Walkyier, guitarist Adam Ferman, bassist Frazer Craske and drummer Mark Daley. This quartet soon added second guitarist Andy Sneap, but Ferman and Daley quit and a name change to SABBAT was agreed. Simon Negus, previously of local Glam band BRAZZEN HUZZY, then enrolled.

SABBAT were noted for their onstage theatrics (heavily influenced by another Nottingham act HELL) and the creative lyrical talents of Walkyier. The acts first recordings came in the shape of the May 1986 'Magik In Theory And Practice' demo, recorded in their rehearsal ballroom for the princely sum of ten pounds. The first, enthusiastic, review of the band came with Garry Sharpe-Young's demo spotlight in US magazine 'Aardschok America'. The band debuted live at a young offenders institute in Doncaster before recording their 'Fragments Of A Faith Forgotten' demo that gained the band much critical praise and ultimately led to a deal with Germany's Noise Records. Once offered the deal SABBAT had to wait for guitarist Andy Sneap to turn 18 years old before they could sign the contracts.

The first commercially available record was a flexi disc for Games Workshop's November 1986 'White Dwarf' magazine entitled 'Blood For The Bloodgod', this track produced by ex-HELL and PARALEX guitarist Kev Bower. SABBAT's debut album 'History Of A Time To Come', recorded in Hannover during September 1987 with producer Roy Rowland, launched the band onto the forefront of the British Thrash Metal scene with Walkyier's distinct pagan themes interwoven into its impressive epic songs. The album went on to sell in excess of 60,000 copies.

SABBAT played both Dynamo and Eindhoven festivals in 1988 as part of a very successful European tour. Shortly after, SABBAT added second guitarist Simon Jones, previously known as Jack Hammer from HOLOSADE, to replace touring guitarist Richard Scott (on loan from London band NO EXCUSE), who accompanied the band on the European tour.

The group's second album, 1989's 'Dreamweaver': Reflections Of Our Yesterdays, produced by Roy Rowland, was an opportunity for Walkyier to really let his imagination fly as SABBAT launched the crucial release in the form of a concept based on the Brian Bates book 'The Way Of Wyrd'. SABBAT subsequently toured Europe heavily, including British dates backed by XENTRIX and support dates to MANOWAR in Spain. This same touring combination hit the UK in December 1989.

Surprisingly, Walkyier and Craske quit after internal disputes and the vocalist went on to form the highly successful and industrious Folk Rock act SKYCLAD, whilst Craske opted out of the music business returning to a printing career. Sneap auditioned for a new vocalist, including HYDRA VEIN's Mike Keen, but it was to be American vocalist Richie Desmond, who had previously auditioned as guitarist for CELTIC FROST, who joined SABBAT in 1990. The band's line-up at this point comprised Sneap, Desmond, guitarist Neil Watson and bassist Wayne Banks. However, both record company and fans were not impressed with the resulting album 'Mourning Has Broken', which sorely lacked Walkyier's more innovative input.

Noise Records dropped the band and, after two disastrous British dates, the last in Derby, Sneap pulled the plug on both the tour and the band. Negus joined local act GLORY BOYS whilst Sneap and Banks went on to form GODSEND. As GODSEND dissolved after a batch of demos, Sneap began carving out a niche for himself in the production role making quite a name for himself with some high profile bands such as STUCK MOJO and MACHINE HEAD.

In 1995 there were rumours of a SABBAT reformation between Walkyier and Sneap, but this came to nothing. SABBAT reared its head again though in 2000 when Britain's leading Black Metal exponents CRADLE OF FILTH covered 'For Those Who Died' with Walkyier providing guest vocals.

As 2001 dawned an announcement was made that a band entitled RETURN TO THE SABBAT, the SABBAT title had during the interim been made prominent by a Japanese band founded in 1983, was planned for a one off live show comprising of Walkyier, Craske, Jones in alliance with former TALION guitarist Pete Wadeson and SKYCLAD and UNDERGROOVE drummer Jay Graham. However, Wadeson would decamp even before the groups debut gig, a warm up for the Derby 'Bloodstock' festival. Walkyier would put in his last show with SKYCLAD the same evening.

As the situation developed it became clear that RETURN TO THE SABBAT was indeed a long term proposition. Graham too parted ways with SKYCLAD as RETURN TO THE SABBAT announced their intentions for further live dates. In early 2002 Jones parted ways with the band due to family commitments, his replacement being Andy Newby. RETURN TO THE SABBAT put in valuable support slot to CRADLE OF FILTH at a low key club gig at the Oxford Zodiac club, the night before the headliners 'Ozzfest' appearance. RETURN TO THE SABBAT would also act as special guests to renowned and newly reformed Swedish Doomsters CANDLEMASS at their long overdue UK performance at the London Mean Fiddler venue in mid July. Meantime, besides his ever growing list of production credits with Premier Metal bands guitarist Andy Sneap would be revealed as having joined FOZZY, the spoof 80s Metal band convened by WWF championship wrestler Chris Jericho and various members of STUCK MOJO.

Swedish Black Metal act IN AETURNUM weighed in with their appreciation of SABBAT by recording their rendition of 'By Thy Command' culled from the original SABBAT demo 'Magik In Theory And Practice'. Martin Walkyier himself would spend the early portion of 2003 formulating his new venture THE CLAN DESTINED, an ill-fated pagan collective involving erstwhile IMMORTAL bassist Iscariah. The singer also guested as vocalist on the track 'Blood And Sand' on Bradford Metal band BLOODSTREAM's debut album 'Black Storm Harvest'.

Ex-SABBAT bassist Wayne Banks joined BLAZE as well as the touring line up of BRAZEN ABBOT in 2003. With THE CLAN DESTINED fragmenting in acrimonious circumstances, Martin Walkyier broke a lengthy silence in April 2006 announcing that he was permanently withdrawing from making music. However, it was soon after learned that he was set to feature as guest singer on the track 'God Among Men' featured on all female Greek Black Metal band ASTARTE's 'Demonized' album.

In September 2006 it was announced that the 'Dreamweaver' line-up of SABBAT, Martin Walkyier, Andy Sneap, Simon Jones, Fraser Craske and Simon Negus, were to reunite to undertake special guest shows to CRADLE OF FILTH's December UK tour. Beforehand, Andy Sneap scored mixing credits on MEGADETH's 'United Abominations' album.

SABBAT put in a high profile European festival show at the 'Keep It True' event at the Tauberfrankenhalle in Lauda-Königshofen, Germany on April 14th 2007 alongside fellow British band DIAMOND HEAD, US outfits LETHAL, LÄÄZ ROCKIT and TWISTED TOWER DIRE, Denmark's ARTILLERY, Canadians CAULDRON and PILEDRIVER, Dutchmen DEFENDER and Swedish band BULLET.

The group was announced at appearing at the 'Hammerfest 2009' festival, held April 2009 at at Pontins holiday camp, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, but this performance was cancelled due to conflicting schedules with Andy Sneap's production work with MEGADETH. The band performed at the Castle Donington 'Download' festival on 14th June 2009.

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