Black metal | Death metal | Metal
Black metal | Death metal | Metal
Released Saturday 10 December 2022
FFO: Early Bathory, Sodom, Necrophobic
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Sathanas was formed in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, USA in 1988 by Paul Tucker. For over 34 years Sathanas has forged a dark a furious legacy now spanning 29 releases. Psalm Satani is the band’s eleventh full length album.
As part of my process for shortlisting which albums I will review, I usually have a quick read through each email (I usually get around 90 to 100 per week) and I will take a quick listen to any (usually) YouTube video that is linked to.
When I read Sathanas were blackened death metal, despite owning a lot of black and death metal albums, my rather unfair expectation was a thinly-mixed collection of wall-of-noise guitars and rattling, bag-of-cutlery percussion wrapped around an incessant scream. I could not have been further from the truth. This album has a well-balanced mix where the bass is punchy, the drums retain their character, guitars sing and the vocalist’s growls sit comfortably in the centre.
The opening track, “Demonic rights” (track 1) packs a punch right out of the gate. There is no hiding, no denying the power and impact of their playing. This is a head nodder of a track, for sure. “In the flames of witchcraft” (track 2) opens with a call and response between guitar and band before settling into another rattling-down-the-tracks belter of a song. “Calling forth the darkness” (track 3) follows a similar formula but with a subtle and simple clean guitar riff cutting through the storm.
By “And Hell shall follow” (track 4), it’s quite clear that we should expect variations on a theme throughout the album. A few different rhythms, grows about slightly different black metal topics and it could be argued that this album is all rather predictable, black-metal-by-numbers. But that would be to miss the uniqueness of this band. It may all sound similar, but it’s great! This track bounces along really rather cheerfully for a black metal album.
“Blackened by the Antichrist” (track 5) has an almost Batman theme quality to it. But if the Batman theme had been recorded by Hellhammer. Titled track “Psalm Satani” (track 6) brings tempo down a little with a playoff between a picked clean guitar and a crushing wall of noise from the band.
“Blood of the Seraphim” (track 7) opens with a bit of an epic feel before settling down into a familiar groove. Joined shortly after by more of the same in “Altar of heaven” (track 8).
While much of this album sounds the same, who ever complained about Slayer doing that all these years?! There is a maturity to the song-writing and an almost dark melodic feel to the music. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t particularly expect to enjoy this album. I was delighted to be proven wrong. It all comes together for this album, song writing, playing, production and mix. If you like your metal a little blackened and most certainly dead, check out Sathanas.
Review score: 85%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Sathanas forthcoming album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Sathanas. I’m not being paid to review this. But I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Sathanas for continuing to create fresh, exciting metal.