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Thursday, December 8, 2011

REVIEW: Sacrifice (SWE) - Street Fighter/Innocent Victim (Single, 1985)

Sacrifice was a truly obscure heavy metal band from Sweden, only releasing this particular two-track 7" single (Street Fighter/Innocent Victum), thus never gaining much commercial success, and man is that a shame. Sacrifice were originally formed as Metal Muthas in 1984, and they released one Demo before, changing name into Sacrifice. The band played classic old school heavy metal, with quite straight forward style, but with quite melodic approach, often featured by Swedish classic heavy metal bands from the eighties, especially on the vocal department, but also on the part of lead guitars. The music, that would nowadays standards be considered bordering hard rock, was surely heavy enough to be labeled as 'heavy metal' back in the day. Surely, the music had all necessary trademarks of heavy metal: palm-muted riffing, power chords, guitar solos, biting lead guitars.

The recordings for Street Fighter/Innocent Victim were a bizarre event, well, sort of. At the time of the recordings of the single, Sacrifice had not singer in the band, at all. They entered an unknown studio in Sweden, without a singer, to record the single purely as instrumental. The producer/engineer of the studio happened to be Anders Strengberg, who knew the band members previously, and asked them "is the singer showing up later?", and the band told him, that they didn't have one in the band. The guys then asked Anders, whether he would want to do the vocals for the single, and he agreed to do them, and thus, Anders Strengberg became the singer on the "Street Fighter/Innocent Victim" single, without being an actual member of the band, per se. He nailed the vocals on one take; then mixed the album (the similar kind of chain of events happened later on in 2003, when he did vocals on Mercy album 'Victory March'; and Mercy then, according to Anders, put out the album without asking him first, so, he first heard from "a friend", that he was featured on vocals in 'Victory March'). Anders is a singer, producer, and engineer both in studio and as live shows, but has primarily worked with demos - as a side-note) (source: e-mail chat with Anders Strengberg. Thu, Jan 16th of 2014).

The musical style of Sacrifice on this single blends together quite typical classic 80's Swedish heavy metal, that often was found to be quite melodic, with, perhaps, more than averagely powerful rhythm guitar section for a Swedish band of that era. Rhythm guitar section nods towards NWOBHM movement sound, even, with that rock n' roll attitude and stomping rhythms, which can be found on 'Streetfighter' song. Especially, recognizable "power chords" are robust, but typical Swedish vivid melodies by the lead guitars can be found as a layer on top of the rhythm section, with some great shredding and solos. The atmosphere is rather a bit more mellow than all-around-heavy, because rhythm guitars do not really dominate over lead melodies, but it's rather even split. The single contains quite perfect combination of strong in-your-face rhythm section with melodic lead guitars and screaming guitar solos.

The vocals by Anders Strengberg are quite typical, all clean and wailing in style, common for Swedish bands, with soaring touch and tons of melody; yet he packs fair amount of power behind his voice. His notes do hit bit above mid range most of the time, but never really go into high pitched territory such as Halford, nor deeper than upper middle range. However, his above average pitched melodic wailing, with quite much echo effect added in, do sound great! It gives dreamy and dramatic touch to the two melodic songs. Anders Strengberg reminds a bit of Sacrifice's country-mates', Axe Witch's singer Anders Wallentoft, with occasional slight resemble of Anvil's Lips Kudrow of his early career (the wailing), but in more controlled, more mellow manner. Lightly used soft keyboards added on top of Strengberg's longing vocals bring final "acidic" touch to the sound.

Title track 'Street Fighter' has that simple and effective main riff consisting of thick power chords, certain amount of gloom added by lead melodies, and lightly used keyboards, combined with certain amount of rebellious and rocking attitude. Twin guitar attack by Thomas Lundgren and Thomas Axelsson sounds thick and powerful. This atmosphere is supported with totally killer melodic chorus, showing magic of Strengberg's wailing vocals; the best of him. The chorus is made to be echoing in your head on and on, it's very dream-like, and almost hypnotic. The song in it's core is rather simple, but has magical atmosphere built by all the instruments taking part on that not-so-complex melody. Really catchy rebellious track. Street Fighter is one of the best eighties heavy metal tracks from album single releases, that I've heard for quite some time! This is melodic Swedish heavy metal from the eighties at it's prime.

Speedier 'Innocent Victim' is that more rock'n'roll flavored track, that truly nods more towards many NWOBHM bands, yet keeping the Swedish heavy metal feeling present on the vocal department, and with the "acidic" seventies-flavored keyboards, that are quite audible on this track than on the previous. Rhythm guitars play speedy chainsaw-riffs, but they're toned down to the background for only supporting role, keeping the atmosphere, yet again, rather mellow but definitely heavy enough to be 'heavy metal'. Pounding bass line fits perfectly the tone, as well. The track includes some nice lead melodies and short solo. It also features melodic sing-along chorus, that works like magic by Strengberg's vocals:

"I got a meeting with electric chair! 

Innocent Victim - Once again. 
Innocent Victim - Who's to blame?
Innocent Victim - Once again. 
Innocent Victim - Who's to blame?"

Sacrifice's only single is a top quality offering, and what I understand, very, very rare one. Not one of those physical copies, which you can find any day now. It contains one awesome top notch track (Street Fighter), which is god damn hypnotic one, and another good track (Innocent Victim). It succeeds to be mellow and yet heavy enough at the same time, and to have that necessary kick and heaviness to be considered heavy metal. The two tracks offer quite simple song structure at their core, yet all the instruments and vocals shine, making quite basic songs sound more 'full' and 'complex', if you get what I mean. The band really mastered professional way of adding instrumental layers on top of each others, creating that melodic wall of sound. Strengberg's vocal delivery combined with acidic keyboards used to back up the songs create unique dreamy and yearning melodies, mixed with some rebellious and hard rocking attitude. All I can say is, that this little two-track single has it's own exquisite sound, and it's truly worth listening! It's a hidden gem ranked up there along with Charger's 'Desperadoes' and Virtue's 'We Stand to Fight' - another cult classics of eighties heavy metal singles.

If you like medium-heavy, melodic eighties heavy metal, with clean wailing vocals, hard rocking rhythm guitars, and melodic leads, then don't pass this one! Damn good Swedish eighties heavy metal single.

88 | reviewer: Tane Norther

  • Anders Strengberg - Vocals (note: was producer/engineer of the studio that the single recordings took the place at, not an actual band member, did the vocals for the single in one take, as the band asked, since they didn't have a singer at the time!)
    • See also: featured in: Mercy('Victory March', 2003, not an actual band member)
  • Thomas Axelsson - Guitars
    • See also: ex-Metal Muthas, ex-CRIER
  • Thomas Lundgren - Guitars
    • See also: ex-Metal Muthas, ex-CRIER
  • Mats Svensson - Bass
    • See also: ex-Methal Muthas, CRIER
  • Mikael Gustavsson - Drums
    • See also: ex-Methal Muthas, ex-CRIER
Track list:
  • 1. Street Fighter 03:45
  • 2. Innocent Victim 03:34
    • 07:19

Note: There were plans to re-release Street Fighter as a standalone song on a limited and numbered, autographed 7" white vinyl by the original band; probably featuring photos of the band from the eighties and the current day, as well as liner notes of band's history, and other niceties. There were also plans for a new record, but with an updated sound, not the eighties style, according to Anders Strenberg (source: e-mail chat with Anders Strengberg. Thu, Jan 16th of 2014). However, we're not sure if anything has progressed with these plans since then. The autographed, numbered, and limited press of the original Street Fighter song on 7" vinyl surely would be a nice collector's item!

For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

sorry - not included in the book


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Mats Svensson - Bass
    See also: ex-Metal Muthas, CRIER

    Mikae Gustavsson - Drums
    See also: ex-Metal Muthas, CRIER

  3. Please reupload, link is down. Only I found a bad audio from Youtube from single. I dream by WAV original rip.

    1. Hi, we're not sharing music through this blog. However, it's an old and almost impossible to find single only released once far as I know, so I'd suggest going to forums, and trying out there, if anyone has it with good quality. Would be no damage done, I suppose.