Indefatigable road warriors, the battle-tested and Montreal-based the Great Sabatini have delivered a crushing blow with their latest effort, Dog Years. In 2012, the unpredictability and wickedness of Matterhorn and the gritty violence of the companion release The Royal We established the group as one to watch closely; Dog Years confirms that attention was well worth it.
Their noisy, toothsome rock frequently teeters over the edge of grindcore mania, or burrows into the lurching subterranean abysses of doom. Dog Years has less mongrel viciousness, but is a more cohesive and well-structured record, with more complex songs that evolve in subtler ways but with no less evil intentions. "Guest of Honour" undulates with eerie muscularity, the circling rhythms evoking a constrictor's ever-tightening coils. "Reach" has a slobbering, monstrous sludge quality to it, dripping raw and terrifying need. The record's heart, however, may be in its final track: "Life During Wartime" has an eerie, out-of-time quality, a haunting, faraway sense of regret coupled with frighteningly immediate danger.
The production on the record is also excellent; courtesy of Sean Pearson (Cursed), the sound is bloody raw with just enough of a stinging, acerbic edge to keep the listener wincing. Dog Years is an example of potential come to thunderous fruition. (Solar Flare)