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Retrospective Review: Sacrifice - ‘Forward to Termination’

We revisit Sacrifice's killer Canadian gem 'Forward To Termination'

It’s late 1988 and I’m sitting on a stained couch with my mullet and huge glasses, suffering through the last 90 seconds of Electric Circus on MuchMusic. Why? Because some marketing genius in the Much offices (probably J.D. Roberts or Steve Anthony) stumbled upon a grainy, black and white video of Toronto thrash maniacs Sacrifice's “Reanimation"; the only track by the band that didn’t start with the sound of two skill saws mashing together and declared, “That’s our Power Hour intro song.” Any self-respecting Canadian metalhead from the late ‘80s/early ‘90s knows the opening chords to Sacrifice’s “Re-animation” better than they know most Slayer songs from South of Heaven or anything from Celtic Frost. What most people outside of the thrash metal scene at the time didn’t give a fuck about, is that there were eight other straight rippers on Forward to Termination, the album expertly created by vocalist Rob Urbanati, guitarist Joe Rico, bassist Scott Watts, and drummer Gus Pynn.

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Making their debut with the Hellhammer-influenced, Torment in Fire, in 1985, Sacrifice made a name for themselves in Toronto's thrash metal scene. So, by the time they released their second album, Forward to Termination-recorded in the very banger-friendly town of Hamilton, ON- they sounded like a much, much better and badass version of Sacred Reich or Atrophy, which, for Canadian thrash, was pretty killer. Those of us who had Sacrifice's second album used it as the backdrop for almost every sordid teenage activity possible. Opener “Terror Strikes” went perfectly to jumping out of a bedroom window with a skateboard and dropping into the backyard mini-pipe (if you were lucky enough to have one). “Forever Enslaved” was the slow-burn banger for smoking pot and drinking shit-mix from our parents’ liquor cabinet out in that killer tree-fort you found. Despite this, make no mistake: Sacrifice was skid-metal, through and through, and Forward to Termination was the pinnacle of a Canadian thrash metal scene that did its best to keep up with its American and European counterparts. But, let’s face it, Forward to Termination was just a little more nerdy, and therefore way more cool and awesome to listen to. Voivod? Razor? Exciter? Dead Brain Cells? Sword? Fucking Eudoxis? All Power Hour staples, but these weren’t your average, sun-and-beer-soaked Bay Area thrash metal bands. These were dudes walking around in jean jacket vests and bullet belts in Canada; a place where you could easily get clotheslined for even daring to 50/50 grind a gas pump rail while wearing a Metallica shirt.

Sure, Sacrifice would never be the Slayer, Metallica or even Anthrax of Canada, but Forward to Termination remains one of thrash metal’s most glorious underdog albums, nine songs of pure adrenaline that rages, all black and white and sweaty and slow-motion headbanging-y, in its own little shitty-couched rumpus room of metal history. Plus, what other metal bands have a Propagandhi song written about them?

Jason Schreurs still remembers the teenage skid hormones that raged through him the first time he heard that fucking Power Hour theme song come on. He’s on Twitter @jasonschreurs