Guitarist Andy Sneap and vocalist Martin Walkyier of the British thrashers SABBAT will contribute to the new album from the reactivated early '80s Derbyshire, UK metallers HELL.
Commented Andy: "Something I'm sure you've heard both myself and Martin mention in the past is the huge influence early '80s Derbyshire metallers HELL had on SABBAT.
"Things have been odd in a good way recently with alot of old friends crossing my path again, and thankfully one such friend is Kev Bower, the old [HELL] guitar player.
"Anyone wanting a new SABBAT album should take note; this is the only project Martin and I will be working together on in the foreseeable future."
HELL guitarist Kev Bower has posted the following blog regarding his band's collaboration with Andy Sneap and Martin Walkyier:
"As some of you will be aware, the three surviving members of HELL are back together after 23 years, recording a brand-new album. The producer is none other than the legendary Andy Sneap — producer and mixer of over 100 metal albums, including MEGADETH, TRIVIUM, KREATOR, TESTAMENT, KILLSWITCH, OPETH, EXODUS, CRADLE OF FILTH... the list is virtually endless, and reads like an encyclopaedia of metal. Andy is at the absolute pinnacle of his profession, and deservedly so. He's also the nicest bloke you could ever wish to meet, and it's a privilege to have him as a best friend.
"This is an amazing opportunity not only for the band, but also for Andy, who was taught to play guitar by the late Dave Halliday, HELL's frontman and second guitarist. Andy, as a young teenager, was a permanent fixture on the front row of virtually every local show HELL played, and he has always cited HELL as his primary influence. His band SABBAT, in fact, actually met each other on the front row of one of our gigs — so this is a genuine 'labour of love' for him, which he's described as being a very cathartic experience and something he needed to make happen for his own sanity.
"That aside — we are incredibly grateful to have been given this totally unexpected second lease of life by the 'master of metal'. A typical example of Andy's commitment is the extraordinary lengths he went to in tracking down my original Hamer Explorer guitar (I believe Andy figured it would cut down on the recording time, because that guitar already knows all the songs...). He recently sent me a text at the crack of dawn on a freezing foggy morning, to tell me that he was hanging out of his bedroom window down on his farm, grimly hanging onto a grand's worth of Neumann microphone, recording the dawn calls of shrieking rooks for the 3 witches intro to 'Macbeth'...
"But I digress. Since Andy is a professional who is very much in demand and also as a guy who needs to earn a living, the project is being completed on a part-time basis, as and when Andy's not jetting between Derbyshire and the USA, playing gigs on ships in Scandinavia, feeding his ever-increasing menagerie of sheep and cats, shooting trespassers at Backstage Studios with his 12-bore, or balancing the tightrope between artistic integrity and the ever-increasing commercial demands of his record company paymasters. It's quite literally being done a day here, a day there, as and when he can find the time. The phone will ring, and it will be Mr. Sneap, saying 'Be here at 6pm tomorrow and bring your guitar and some beers'... For this reason, the album will, in all probability, not be finished until the end of the year. But... it's gonna be absolutely, utterly killer. Those of you whose entire diet of HELL has consisted of listening to copies of copies of copies of copies of tenth-rate mp3's of songs recorded 25 years ago on a mono cassette deck in our rehearsal room are in for the shock of a lifetime.
"This is PURE 2008 METAL.
"I have so far completed guitar guides to click track for every song bar one, and Tony Speakman and Tim Bowler have completed bass and drum final recorded parts for three songs. So — progress isn't quick, and there's much to do — especially since I have 23 years' worth of accumulated ideas which we would like to incorporate into the production — but it WILL be worth the wait. I absolutely guarantee it.
"One final point. The late, great Dave Halliday was sadly taken from us in 1987, and HELL could never, ever be the same without him. Andy has gone to great lengths to use every conceivable piece of modern digital technology available to lift some of Dave's vocals from these early recordings, thus ensuring that the great man will be a fixture on the album. It just wouldn't be right if he wasn't. Regarding the bulk of the vocals, though, the only guy who we could think of to do absolute justice to these songs was Martin Walkyier — he saw the band almost as many times as Andy, and only he really understood what was needed to deliver this material into 2008. Those of you who have heard Martin's outstanding performances on SABBAT's 'Dreamweaver' and 'History Of A Time To Come' albums will instantly know what I mean.
"And as for Dave's guitar solos? Well — who better to replicate these, than Andy Sneap himself... Dave's finest student."