Of the bands that made up the UK’s thrash movement in the eighties, few made such a lasting impression as Nottingham’s Sabbat; for a start, none of the other bands supplied a guitarist to Judas Priest (although surely even Andy Sneap himself didn’t believe such a fate awaited him when he teamed up with Martin Walkyier and company in 1985), but joking aside there was always a little more substance to these guys.

Of course substance doesn’t always trump style, as well we know, and the band were ultimately doomed to an afterlife in the ‘what if’ files alongside many of their British thrash metal contemporaries. But listening back to this new early daze/rarities box set from Noise Records you can’t help but think that the band were dealt a rough hand by those in charge of such things. The live album included here, for instance, recorded in East Berlin sees the band in absolutely coruscating form; Previously only three tracks from this set appeared on a split live album with Kreator, Tankard and Coroner, but seconds into opening track The Clerical Conspiracy you are pitched brutally back in time and left to bemoan the fact that this scintillating live document is only now coming to light.

Similarly the Radio One session featured here – broadcast first in 1987 and not heard since, unless you taped it on the night – is a fabulous little time capsule that really needs to be heard to be fully appreciated. Sadly only three tracks in length, it’s still a fine document of where the band were at before they released their debut album, History of a Time To Come.

Talking of that album, it’s here too, alongside followup effort Dreamweaver; Comparing the studio releases to the live recording it’s clear that Sabbat never quite bottled their live lightning in the studio environment, but that doesn’t detract that some of Britain’s best thrash metal is to be found with in the grooves of this nifty little box set. Well worth some investigation.

Mad Gods and Englishmen releases on May 19th.