Sacrilege – Behind the Realms of Madness (1985)

Coming from the years of reckless ferment as metal and punk attempted to position themselves to get beyond the rock-revival of the NWOBHM years, Sacrilege incorporate thrash — the real thing, a punk/metal hybrid, not speed metal — into their Motörhead- and Discharge-inspired driving punk rock.

As can be immediately heard, this sounds a lot like an early take on the first Bolt Thrower album, In Battle There is No Law, and uses many of the same tropes including the drubbing percussion of Motörhead that Discharge turned into the d-beat style, but also shows similarities in riff pattern.

It gets hung up where Hellbastard, Cerebral Fix, and early Bolt Thrower did, namely the verse-chorus construction that built up a confrontation but could never make it happen, which may have inspired later grind to get more random in order to custom-build song structures for the conversation between riffs.

Behind the Realms of Madness may seem a bit slower and simpler than what we have today, but it was an important step on the road out of blues and pop toward a more flexible musical voice, and some quality riffs and lead guitar interplay make it a worthy listen for any extreme metal fan.

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71 thoughts on “Sacrilege – Behind the Realms of Madness (1985)”

  1. Speed metal is ass says:

    As a pro-deathmetal anti-speed metal fan I can say I find this listeanable, except maybe for the vocals, but those are not that important often anyway. Nothing I would listen to at home though.

    “But wut ’bout metallica, they’re good speed metal!” – yeah, but I think I would rather classify them as “harder hitting heavy metal”, because there’s actually songwriting and melody happening there… and Slayer of course are proto-deathmetal who don’t belong to the “speed/thrash” category.

    1. I would call Metallica archetypal speed metal but they had enough NWOBHM and prog influences to be interesting, unlike the usual ranting bouncy catchy slamming stuff that all the Bay Area tards adored. Those people shop at Whole Foods now which makes them… untermenschen. (gas and flames noises)

    2. Pizza and beer connoisseur says:

      Speed metal? More like sped metal. Spazz metal is where its at!


    Two serious questions:

    1. Would you file this band under Thrash on the DLA ?

    2. Why was this band not included in the Archives back in the day?


    Serious Questioner

    1. As the review sort of hints, this one is skippable but interesting for a one-off listen on YT while it’s free.

      1. Essentially true. You are not going to listen to this every day, but it’s a good thing to be aware of and maybe steal riffs from for your own grindcore project.

    2. 1. Not quite. It is a punk band with hardcore, thrash, d-beat, Motörhead, and heavy metal influences. Basically shows how the dark Motörhead atmosphere slowed down and became epic grinding madness with Bolt Thrower.

      2. Probably not worth including except as a historical note; belongs in the expansion on the FAQ.

      1. Patrick Pearse says:

        What bands are not on the DLA that should be? Are there bands that you would now eliminate from the DLA but are currently on it?

        1. Klainmain91 _ says:

          Not on DLA.Cosmic Atrophy,Kaeck,Imprecations S.T.E,there are reviews on them here,on the news section.They’re worth a place in the Archive too.

        2. Linda says:

          “What bands are not on the list that should be?”


          1. Patrick Pearse says:

            Coroner sucks…..

            1. The most accurate assessment is probably somewhere in the middle. Coroner did a lot of interesting stuff and were more influential than current official metal history, which is UK/US-slanted, recognizes. There was a whole tier of European speed metal bands that experimented with melody and changed everything that would come after them. Back in the day, I listened to an assload of Coroner, but at this point speed metal makes the soles of my feet itch uncontrollably.

              1. Haupt says:

                Because you really want to dance, right?

          2. Definitely important. How well do they stand up to repeated listening these days?

            1. Linda says:

              I would say Coroner still holds up. Especially “No More Color” and “Punishment For Decadence.”

              1. Punishment for Decadence was my favorite. Some good riffing, songs held together, a bit chant-y but clear at least.

                1. Linda says:

                  Coroner stayed consistent, and brought great ideas and technicality to Speed metal. They stand out more to me than your average Speed metal band because of the Jazz and Prog influences, and Coroner had a darker edge, and punk-ish aesthetic.

                  1. I agree on the darker edge. There was always something catacomb-like about them despite the toe-tapping Teutonic drinking music aspects. Speaking of which, might as well fire up those older Tankard albums.

        3. The DLA needs restructuring. The original idea was to flag bands as best of, historically important, and so on, because some bands are there to show us little corners of technique or edges or atmosphere. There are probably a few that could be dropped because the point of an archive is to showcase the best and most significant, not be egalitarian and include all of the “adequite” stuff.

  3. Location, location, location says:

    One really would think it was Beyond the nutty realms, but they go for Behind. Kinda cute title. Like, “Yes, just behind there, then to the left after the pantry, a little bit further…”

  4. Patrician Squeezin's says:

    Mid, hella mid.

    1. Historical significance, more of a footnote than a bullet point, but of vital importance to the thread of grindcore that Bolt Thrower started, which moved the genre past its messy crust punk with Motörhead vocals origins.

  5. OID says:

    When Relapse reissued this some years back, it got included in a Sadistic Metal Review batch that blatantly (and unfortunately) ignored the historical importance of this record and instead just mocked the fact that it’s got lady vocals. It’s not an A+ album, but it has some good moments and was certainly influential on punk, crust and early UK grind/death metal. Glad to see it get a more evenhanded review.

  6. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Missing from DLA:Sabbath(1,2 & 5),Priest,Maiden 1st,and definitely Cosmic Atrophy,Kaeck,Imprecation 2013,three of a tiny minority that mattered after the millennium turn.Also,just admit Celtic Frost & Merciless are death metal,and correct a historic mistake.

    1. No way; Merciless are solidly speed metal! The NWOBHM might need inclusion, but so do the prog and proto-punk bands.

      1. Patrician Squeezin's says:

        Negative; Merciless are solidly THRASH metal. Have you listened to the vocals or are you being a contrarian for the sake of being a contrarian?

        1. “Thrash metal” is a meaningless neologism, sorry. Merciless is great speed metal, somewhere between Mercyful Fate, Slayer, and Bathory (Blood Fire Death era).

          1. Patrician Squeezin's says:

            As is increasingly the case with your fruity takes, you’re wrong. This is a fairly accurate view on the speed vs. thrash question I found from a poaster: “Speed metal is a direct derivative of heavy metal and power metal. It’s usual elements are usually falsetto vocals, melodic and sometimes fast and/or technical riffing, and bombastic and anthemic choruses.

            Thrash metal is a derivative of hardcore punk and speed metal (at least some is). Usually much faster, aggressive in nature and an emphasis on fast and simple choruses.

            These terms can be confusing if you’re relatively new to differentiating power, speed, thrash and heavy metal from each other. Speed metal doesn’t really actually mean speed, per se, but what used when the music of heavy metal was getting a lot faster, though comparably to thrash, isn’t all that fast.”

            Your specious interpretation notwithstanding, yes, Merciless is great thrash metal.

            1. Speed Metal Dancin' Brett Stevens says:


              1. Patrician Squeezin's says:

                And? This is a website that prides itself on sodomy; what do you expect?

  7. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Now that l’m hot,give a listen to Boarhammer.They might just prove to be Steppenwolf(or whoever else played hard rock in the sixties),with ’95-’00 “forest metal” and some doom in it.They’re derivative,but they had me listen to the whole thing more than once.Compare that to not being able to sit through half a song of most of what’s out there,and we may got sth.

    1. Kindergarten teacher Mrs. Khunnt says:

      Now that you’re hot, take the opportunity to start using spaces after punctuation marks. :)

    2. Klainmain91 _ says:

      Update on Boarhammer:We got shit.Pisses me to hear serious potential wasted to silent/loud songwriting and irony.Then again,Kruitwagen jammed for twenty years before he figured it out,triumphantly,so..

      1. Dunno, Strijd seemed pretty advanced, and most Sammath fans seem to like Godless Arrogance which is the midpoint between the first three albums, but done expertly. The Sammath idea seems to be to make a Morbid Angel for black metal, since most black metal does not hit with the intensity of death metal, which is fun for its exuberant embrace of dynamics if nothing else.

  8. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Yea,Frost & Merciless did get a move to where they felt more comfortable,l had the older version in mind..

  9. Flying Kites says:

    “Seekers of the extremities.” Forþaren!

  10. Aryanwarrior88 says:

    Brett have you read Max Stirner? There’s some merit to his philosophy and egoism in general

    1. Have you read “On Truth and Lies in a Non-Moral Sense”? I consider that to be the masterful treatment of the same issue. People are naturally self-rationalizing egoists, but this leads them to the same dumb errors time and again, where traditionalism says we fit into an order of life and in doing so gain a comprehensible and positive world.

      One problem I have with looking for niche thinkers is that all of this stuff is covered in Plato. For example, the first quarter of The Republic consists of Socrates batting off the Pharisees/Sophists who essentially say that morality is self-interest. The Platonic argument is that morality is only useful when parallel to reality, and that egoists and herdists alike are pursuing a symbolic reality instead of paying attention to cause-effect reasoning.

  11. Thrash is better than Black or Death says:

    Holy Terror, Torture (Texas) and Sodom were/are great undrated Thrash.

  12. Ayatollah Kuntmani says:

    Terrible vocals ruin otherwise decent metal. But the real question is: which is better -Carnage or Dismember?

    1. Better? Impossible to answer, if we are comparing first album Dismember to only album Carnage.

      As far as which one I listen to more? Carnage. It and the first Incantation are some of the ultimate nocturnal thinking albums (keep that Beherit, Demoncy, Cadaver, Gorguts, and early Immortal and Darkthrone on hand as well).

      1. Ayatollah Kuntmani says:

        Nocturnal thinking music is a good way of putting it. Add Winter and Cianide to the list.

        I too reach for Carnage more often. The older I get, the less serious Like An Ever-Flowing Stream seems to me. It’s a bit gimmicky as far as the vocals go, and it has melodies that foreshadow later melodic death “metal.” I also think Carnage’s production is superior.

        1. Ayatollah Kuntmani says:

          Brett, where should I start (and end) with Demoncy? I’ve never listened to them before.

          1. At this point, I would start with the most recent and work backward. Joined in Darkness is their masterpiece but Enthroned is the Night is very close.

            1. Speed Metal Dancin' Brett Stevens says:

              and the rerecording of Empire of the Fallen Angel

              1. Good point, although it still does not quite keep up with those other two in my view.

              2. Cynical says:

                Original “Empire of the Fallen Angel” was better. Those songs were never designed to be flattened out in the way “Joined in Darkness”-style re-recording does.

                1. are you four winged night owl says:

                  Agreed. I seem to always prefer the original over a re-recording.

        2. Winter struck me as too much hipster HM and grind last time I listened, but I agree about Cianide, especially that second album. I am always going to love the first Dismember but it really is an entirely different set of moods than the Carnage album, which is more in the Asphyx death-doom vein. It reminds me of early Therion… the Celtic Frost influence is very strong.

          1. Ayatollah Kuntmani says:

            Give Winter another try and let me know what you think. I mainly hear Celtic Frost and Amebix in them, not HM.

            1. Dem drums, doe says:

              It has some Saint Vitus-y parts here and there.

      2. I like black dicks and I cannot lie says:

        Which Gorguts? Is this an endorsement of Obscura or the killer Erosion of Sanity?

        1. Any of the first four — Considered Dead, Erosion of Sanity, Obscura, and From Wisdom to Hate — are worth hearing, although the first three are really the essentials.

          1. Ayatollah Kuntmani says:

            I relistened to Winter again, and while I still hear a lot of Frost and Amebix, I think you might be right.

            1. I switched to Thergothon and Skepticism. Of course, I will always be gay af for doom-death classics like Asphyx, Cause of Death, A Descent Into Hell, Of Darkness…, …In Pains, and Onward to Golgotha.

              1. Bodily Excretions says:

                I feel like diSEMBOWELMENT should be up there somewhere.

  13. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Metallica are h.m., with the advances of recording techniques and two decades of all guitar music almost perfectly applied at their best. Merciless, slightly deathier/blacker than Kreator, 1st album at least equal to a Kreator’s best off at that time. Sodom, Tapping the Vein is their one ok album, the rest is talentless violence with hooks to keep you from turning them off for 3 or 4 minutes.

  14. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Coroner are like 1st & 3rd Megadeth, there’s an attractive feeling there but the result doesn’t match the intention. Devastation are the best of the heavier speed metal, crosses the massiveness of M.o.P. with the thunder of Darkness Descends (sucks), but it’s less than the sum of that. Debut Dismember > Carnage.

  15. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Plato’s wisdom was that he escapes the Spartan, Sophists and Socrates too (please don’t compare him to Jesus), “everything is here and now” mentality, and strived for reaching conclusions, and building from there, on and on. He was a bit naive hoping monarchs & oligarchs would, or afforded to, care about anything other than themselves and their offspring. He failed cause he tried anyway, won eternity nevertheless, even if he died sad.

    1. Other way around: Jesus is a mixed-race rip of Socrates.

  16. Klainmain91 _ says:

    On Sammath, Strijd, amiably, tries to justify synths on metal, immature yet better than average trve stuff, Devastation is unplanned, hurried, run to the garage, record just to put sth out there, then go get pissed and fuck whores, bad still better than all metal with wwii samples (literally shames Marduk & co), Dodengang is where you’d write the off, Triumph.. is all of Sodom’s Vietnam albums + b.m. + even more hatred, has serious issue building a sequence further than every second consecutive riff , and his twin ’14 – ’15 masterpieces is where he finally gets serious about his music,and mightily benefited by what his then collaborators contributed. Next three, haven’t listened enough yet.

    1. The synths work on Strijd in my view, the rare case after Emperor where this is true.

  17. Klainmain91 _ says:

    I think Strijd was envisioned as an album where keyboards would, instead of accentuating the main motif like Emperor or Graveland, work independently from a metal havock over which they’d hang, mostly concurrently and indifferent , in parallels, sometimes converging laboriously or triumphantly, others pulling away, those underneath back at their struggle. Like forever against the moment, the former compelled to lower it’s sights only when the latter’s glories below are such that the eternal is forced to incorporate or change course through to the ever so rare exemplary impermanent. Two or three years older, with the right drummer, keyboardist, and perhaps a second guitarist to free the songwriting and vocals, they could have pulled it off. As it stands, it’s amongst the somewhat melancholic young one man projects.

  18. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Socrates had 3rd rock’s from the sun premium human resources at the time to work with. Those granted time to think and sit back a bit to watch, just couldn’t have wished anything but always excel, ever upwards. He was more an of an Aristocratic, but he deemed counterpoint necessary, and thought democracy was one. When he couldn’t decide one or another left interlocutor conclude, as they thought best. He wasn’t executed because he spoke uneasy truth, he voiced what most knew, just encouraged them to act on it. He left as a regretful likely compulsory casualty, his condemners considering him being at his twilight, not as a martyr, Athens, seriously vulnerable at the time, needing to cleanse or silence anyone supporting them become Pelloponesian vassal.

  19. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Jesus on the other hand had sly merchants and petty shopkeepers, his proposal could have only been sterility. If he opted to laymen to start anew from somewhere, long road but hats off. But it seems (and I may do injustice to him), he pushed being good to each other suffice barren stagnation, doomed ever crawl backwards, or a be nice, obay Caesar, and you’ll be rewarded after death, which is why rulers from then on adored him. He led himself to martyrdom out of vanity, having pessimistically written humanity off, drawing satisfaction becoming one of few of the gutter not to be forgotten, and not to have ever been important to anyone, as if they never were.

  20. Klainmain91 _ says:

    For the buddy that “found it from a poaster”, and anybody else: 1. Buy a copy of Altars or Blessed ( I left my CDs in my parent’s house ) from ’89 – ’91 and read the thanks to.. notes. They salute “all death, black and speed metal bands”, word for word, why wouldn’t they mention “thrash metal”? 2. Thrash ( the first time heard/ originally called such ) was skater punk. The earliest could be SuiTends debut from ’83, concurrent to Metallica / Slayer debuts, but it sounds still only punk ( hardcore ) to me. Metal begins being incorporated a year or two later, DRI etc. , may have been call both thrash & “crossover”. 3. It’s not unreasonable to call Bay Area etc. thrash metal in that fast metal & punk shared a lot of tropes, contempt for mainstream, lyrical themes, attitude, techniques.., but it was in hindsight, even as early as back then, l can’t know that. 4. Speed refers to velocity & the drug popular then, particularly among metalheads. Thrash is sound descriptive, cought on as a name, sounded cool, to some they became interchangeable, both is fine for me. 5. The slow hard rock that pretends to be metal is called “speed metal” only by the same false old & younger childbrained radio rockers that used metal-in-image-only as a money maker in the ’70s, called non commercially oriented metal “noise” in the ’80s, rushed to embrace all nu, alt, core, groove, hip, in the ’90s part out of stupidity, part because their income depended on it. Whenever anybody called & asked actual metal on record company controlled radio back then, the reply was ” no old stuff, this is what the young play/listen nowadays, get current man!”. These same today still believe nu “is the future”, somehow, and listen to “classic rock”/soft guitar wankery, “nostalgic” radio friendly singles.. 6. “Power Metal” came up after speed, how speed could be its derivative? 7. Power, Doom, Real metal etc. are not separate subgenres. They’re either rock or metal, hard or heavy. They where the loud, angry, garage, biker & surf rock from the ’60s, already ~20y.o. in the eighties.

    1. “Thrash Metal” was the Hit Parader term, everyone else called DRI “thrash” and Metallica “speed metal.”

    2. Cynical says:

      “1. Buy a copy of Altars or Blessed ( I left my CDs in my parent’s house ) from ’89 – ’91 and read the thanks to.. notes. They salute “all death, black and speed metal bands”, word for word, why wouldn’t they mention “thrash metal”?”
      Along these lines, go listen to Slayer bootlegs from around the Hell Awaits era. Tom talks a lot about speed metal, thrash never seems to come up…

    3. Patrician Squeezin's says:

      This was actually a fairly decent post that agreed in part, corrected in part, and expounded upon the information I found online. Your contribution is welcomed and appreciated good sir.

  21. fuck says:

    strappado with no swag

  22. Klainmain91 _ says:

    Nah, l got past planning to nail bomb them thankfully early. Still see them in gigs and clubs, half, dressed like bald streetwise boyscouts, same introspectionless bovine gaze, rest, looking like shabby cat ladies, porn downloading comics collectors, only muscle on them is on the manowar t-shirt..

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