Satan’s Host are one of those rare bands that the much over-used musical terminologies “cult” and “underground” most definitely can be applied – and liberally!
After forming around the nucleus of guitarist Patrick Evil and vocalist Leviathan Thisiren (otherwise known by his real name of Harry Conklin, frontman of Jag Panzer and Titan Force) in 1986, the band promptly laid down a statement of intent with their debut ‘Metal From Hell’ album that same yeart – and then promptly disappeared from the moshing radar, emerging 13 years later, this time with a certain Eli Elixir on microphone duties. This incarnation of the band (with first Pete 3 Wicked and then Anthony ‘Evil Hobbit’ Lopez on drum duties) went on to record four albums over the next decade, before Elixir quit, to be replaced by – yes, you’ve probably guessed it by now – the man he in turn had replaced, Thisiren. Now, as they enter the latter stages of their third decade in the business, they have taken the rather unusual (and brave?) decision to release not one, but two new albums – not as a double package, either, but as two separate, if somewhat indivisible, entities.
Are you paying attention so far? Good… as this is where things start to get complicated. Because, despite their name, the titles of their albums – take your pick from ‘Burning The Born Again… (A New Philosophy)’, ‘Satanic Grimoire: A Greater Black Magick’ or ‘By The Hands Of The Devil’ – and their adopted stage personae, Satan’s Host are NOT a black metal band. At least, not in the aural sense. Because, while they may take their lyrical influences very much from the darker side, musically they are very firmly in the 1980s classic metal sound, in the mould of (still extant) contemporaries such as Chastain and Exxplorer (whose about-to-be re-issued debut album we’ll be reviewing next week).
Coming across as an abominable amalgamation of the DNA of Grim Reaper, ‘Stained Class’ era Priest, ‘…Beast’ era Maiden and ‘Melissa’ era Mercyful Fate, this inglorious package is a definite throwback to the glory days of when we didn’t care about how many zillion chord progressions could be squeezed into a 300mph solo. By the way, those seemingly negative adjectives are meant in a positive way, as this is a great, if slightly dated sounding pair of albums. Patrick Evil is a decent guitarist and a good songwriter, very much in the old school tradition of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-breakdown-verse-chorus-finish in the latter regard, while Thisiren is a more than adept vocalist, possessing a great range which by turns reminds of the late great RJD (see ‘Descending In The Shadow Of Osiris’ for a primetime slice of Dio-era Sabbath) and a youthful Halford.
It’s nothing original. Far from it, indeed. You heard these riffs a million times before. But, it’s good old-fashioned, solid heavy metal, firmly rooted in the ethics and mythos of the genre. And it works.
Part 1 – Hell’s Disciples / Embers Of Will / Valley Of Blood / Pre-Dating God / Greed, Lust, Hate, War / After The End / See You In Hell (bonus track)
Part 2 – Fanning The Flames Of Hell / Soul Wrent / Lady N’ The Snake / As The Dead, They Sleep / Descending In The Shadow Of Osiris / Reprise – Pre-Dating God (bonus track)
‘Pre-Dating God Parts 1 & 2’ is out now on Moribund.