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I think Tas Danazoglou himself said something about real Satanism having to do with drinking a ton of booze and listening to Venom. That's the most sensible assessment about metal's connection to the dark lord you will ever find. If Tas Danazoglou rings a bell, it's because he once played bass for Electric Wizard, but left the band to form Satan's Wrath. "Galloping Blasphemy" is all about preserving the glory of old-school thrash/black metal that spawned from the cursed mouths of Venom, Possessed, Slayer, and it even presents some nods to honest NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden. The album features Stamos K on guitars and Taz handling everything else, and it's safe to say that if you're familiar with the aforementioned bands and don't mind having your face peeled back by pure velocity, then you might find Satan's Wrath quite appealing.
Now, nothing Satan's Wrath demonstrates is revolutionary or groundbreaking, but that clearly wasn't the objective. "Galloping Blasphemy" merely skips past all of metal's trends and drops back to 1986; a land where savage riffs grew on trees, and adding the word "core" to anything has just unheard of. Needless to say, rip-riding riffs and authentic 80s metal worship is all you need to know when encountering "Galloping Blasphemy." Hell, if this was released back in the day, Satan's Wrath would've been warming up crowds everywhere for a Venom or Possessed show. Musically, the blueprint revolves around thrash/black metal, but this is far from irrelevant despite its attempt to weave back into a more-accepting timeframe. There are several noteworthy riffs and sections per song which all represent the influences of Satan's Wrath admirably. However, it's intense and heavy, stuff to bang your head to.
That's really all that matters as far as I'm concerned. Song after song of beastly riffs are showcased by the dozen, sizzled over abrasive, juvenile percussion and harsh vocals that sound rough and raw. It's not really a stylistic statement of any kind, but I find myself banging my head to the lightning-fast guitar parts, trying to screech like Tas, pounding stuff with my hands as if I had a floating drum set wrapped around my head, and worshipping the dark one. Bottom line in case you're a bit on the slow side: Satan's Wrath is not about acting chintzy or flashy to appeal to some feeble trend or second-rate formula. It's evil, dark, crazy, intense, and metal to the bone, and sometimes those additives make a listening experience totally relevant. The awesome riffs that remind me of Slayer or Possessed help too, of course.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
From the flame-trodden bowels of the great land of Greece come the two-man slaughterfest Satan's Wrath, and here we have their debut album "Galloping Blasphemy", a cool little blackened thrash gem courtesy of Metal Blade Records. While this album is probably nothing you haven't heard before, it's still a pretty damn entertaining 41 minutes, totally chock-full of ferocious shredding, loads of riffs and all Satan, all the time. Let's dive into the flames...
Satan's Wrath is made of guitarist Stamos K, while Tasos "Tas" Danazoglou, best known as one-time bassist for doom metal heavies Electric Wizard. Tas takes care of the duties of bass, vocals and the drums. To be totally honest I'm not sure is his drumming was separately recoded or if it was a drum machine, but either way it isn't too awful; just your basic fast thrash metal drumming. The bass is buried a bit as you can imagine under the drums and guitar, but it does shine with a few cool fills and mini-solos. Tasos' voice is cooly evil and dark, like he was gargling glass while Ol' Scratch was giving him some singing pointers. I'd say his technique is most comparable to the similar demonic growling of Jeff Becerra of Possessed fame. The main highlight here is the guitar work of Stamos, who completely and totally fucking SHREDS IT UP on here! Seriously, on every song this guy just pulls a badass Bay Area-styled solo out of ass and yet never once are they boring are get to the point of wankery. Real great on him!
If I had one major beef with this record it'd be the production. Not that it's bad or anything, but you have these clearly thrashy but still very clean guitar and drum tones, but then mix it with Tas's blackened growling. At times the two different styles clash, leaving for something of an uneven tone to the album, one part wanting to be semi-technical Testament meets Possessed worship, the other settling comfortably in with grisly Hellhammer intensity. Not an album-ruiner to be sure, but at times annoying all the same. Just choose one tone or the other!
But despite that, this disc's nine songs still kick with solid old-school intensity and catchiness, beating out most other metal albums that try this same thing by a mile. The self-titled track and opener "Leonard Rising: Night of the Whip" are potential masterpieces, each a winding, rocking flurry of devilish times changes, moody bass and some appropriately badass galloping riffage and shredding solos. Then you have some hardass Bay Area-styled thrashers in the charging, chaotic "Between Belial And Satan" and the raging cooker "Death Possessed". A personal favorite is "One Thousand Goats In Sodom", trotting all the way to hell on a catchy stock NWOBHM-flavored main riff and a somewhat speed metal attitude. The only track that doesn't totally rock my socks off is the short instrumental title track, which while far from sucky just passes in a flurry of speed.
Overall, a damn fine, cool as hell itself metal album. The schizo tone of the evil vocals against the cleaner guitars may put off some who prefer their black/thrash metal more evened out in sound and delivery, and while "Galloping Blasphemy" isn't the most original thrash album around, it's certainly a killer listen and very worthwhile. Lots of shredding, lots of riffs, lots of blasphemy. Recommended.
The news that former Electric Wizard bassist Taz Danazoglou (y’know, the dude with all those gnarly facial tattoos and the serial killer stare) had left the band to embark on a more evil, Satanic direction piqued the curiosity of metal fanatics worldwide, and his new band’s theatrical press release (“Relentless blasphemy, unholy sacraments of evil made by dwellers of the twilight, horrors that will make priests vomit in agony, abominations that the prophecies of old kept hidden!”) only served to keep the hype machine’s wheels turning even further. Satan’s Wrath’s debut is now finally upon us, but does it really deliver on these blasphemous promises?
Well, for the most part, the answer is thankfully a resounding ‘yes’! ‘Galloping Blasphemy’ reads like a love letter to the 80’s heyday of extreme metal, and connoisseurs will have a blast playing ‘spot the influence’. Just check out the straight up Venom worship of ‘One Thousand Goats In Sodom’ and the Possessed style madness of the appropriately titled ‘Death Possessed’ and you’ll see what I mean. ‘Slaves Of The Inverted Cross’ tips its hat in the direction of early Bathory, whilst ‘Hail Tritone, Hail Lucifer’s chorus is almost a dead ringer for Beherit’s classic ‘The Gate Of Nanna’. The band’s titular anthem closes the record in a fine style, veering more into vintage late 70’s metal, complete with bluesy solos and a central riff that sounds almost like a Satanic Deep Purple from another dimension.
Taz really shines on this release, pounding out a solid battery on the kit as well as laying down the rumbling bass, which rings through with a great tone throughout. His vocals are spot on too, perfectly nailing that trademark first wave of black metal rasp. As for the guitar (the only instrument here that isn’t handled by Danazoglou), newcomer Stamos K cranks out some fantastically primitive riffs, and even throws in a couple of flashy solos for good measure too.
Whilst ‘Galloping Blasphemy’ is a whole lot of fun, it doesn’t quite attain that same evil atmosphere that made all their influences such a cherished part of heavy metal folklore. For all the hype that focused on how ‘kvlt’ and uncompromising this band would be, this is much more of a loving homage than sheer, untamed metal depravity. That said, as long as you’re not expecting this to replace ‘Under The Sign Of The Black Mark’s semi-permanent position on your turntable, there’s no way you’ll fail to enjoy this if you’re a fan of the bands this two-piece are aping. An enormously enjoyable record that’ll surely strike a chord with anyone who digs good, old fashioned heavy metal!
Originally written for http://rawnervezine.co.uk/