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Praising Satan compiles re-recorded and rare material from Netherland’s Heretic’s back catalogue, providing a sweet whole of old school thrash/black metal, rock and punk in 13 tracks and 40 minutes. Stop reading already if you’re expecting something innovative.
After a dozen of modern 200 beats per minute metal albums that I’ve heard recently, Praising Satan is refreshing with its almost laid-back rock rhythms. No blast beats are in sight, basic rock’n’roll beats dominate these simple songs of palm-muted power chords. The vocalist, spewing out his lyrics in semi-clean thrash metal shouts, delivers lots of reverence for Satan but in kind of tongue in cheeck spirit, it sounds. Don’t expect any deep Satanic philosophy. It’s more for the old school shocking value I would guess, in the very vein of those old Venom and Bathory records, records that have clearly influenced Heretic’s sound.
Although most of this material is lately re-recorded, it sounds old. It’s not raw and rehearsal-like at all, but it has the charm of 80s or something along the line. My personal favourites reside near the end of the compilation, namely ”Hellfire Satanist” and ”Black Metal Overlords”, really dusty and filthy pieces that differ a bit from the other tracks’ productions.
I didn’t have high expectations for Praising Satan or even Heretic in general, but I was pleasantly surprised. In spite of the really generic musical style, Heretic manages to do it rather well. This isn’t my usual cup of tea but provides some ass kicking material anyhow, even more so in live settings, I’m sure. Recommendable for all the old school maniacs, obvisously, though I’m unaware how much these re-recorded tracks differ from the originals.
3 / 5
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You know its kinda disconcerting being tasked with reviewing a 'Best Of' from a band in one of your chosen genres whom one has never heard of, a situation you've probably realised I am currently in. Thank Satan however that Heretic are good! Good in the sense that their Venom-inspired black'n'roll'n'thrash attack is great fun to listen to, not that they exhibit any serious musical chops in the 13 songs and 39 minutes making up "Praising Satan…".
Long ago we all realised the majority of metal bands singing hymns to Satan do it without any serious personal devotion to the Dark Lord, and long ago we also realised those who do it with tongue firmly in cheek tend and with a musical attitude to boot also do it the best. I'm of course thinking the mighty Venom, but also your Sabbat's (Japan), Darkthrone's (recent at least), Nifelheim's, Midnight’s and Nunslaughter's forming a list to which Heretic can now be added. Not a moment of "Praising Satan", a collection of re-recorded songs from across the Dutch band's 15-year career, passes without the smell of alcohol-drenched venues leaving your nostrils and their catchy punked-up blackened vibe disappointing your ears. "Thunderbelial", "We Will Destroy", "Blood And Blasphemy", "Tyrants Of Evil", "Pure Goat Glorification"…they all ply the band's simple song-writing structures with simple recording and production techniques, most notably a massively under-produced drum sound recalling Venom's Abaddon at his best/worst, a highly refreshing and honest change to the usual compression-ridden over-produced musical environment we all live in.
In spirit aplenty but in musical terms nowt do Heretic share with the more commonly associated black metal acts of today; songs like "Unholy Rites" and "Knights Of Baphomet" have more in common with Spinal Tap than Watain. For such reasons Heretic and their "Praising Satan" LP can be held as a darkened beacon of the true spirit of Black Metal - the kind Lord Fenriz of Darkthroneshire will gladly attest to, but not something to lead us into uncharted territories. What we do have though is an album that will come as close as you'll get to 'Party Music Black Metal', and we all need some of that for metal piss-ups right?
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net