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Everybody with a more or less well working brain can be innovative. And, good news, it is easy to impress people with an innovation. Contrariwise, you are at risk to be blamed for being old-fashioned as long as you try to fascinate the audience with already well-known gimmicks. Due to this situation, you will hopefully agree that it is the greater challenge to be non-innovative. But Satan´s Wrath accept this dilemma without hesitating or complaining. Their well-hung black thrash metal sounds almost painfully archaic and the stubbornness of the guys makes me shiver.
Without an ounce of originality, Satan´s Wrath present songs that guarantee an appropriate amount of ugly fun. The band takes the best from the (extreme) metal history that it can get. Do you need examples? Well, the intro of the opener reminds my of Venom´s "Witching Hour", its ending recycles the final leads of Slayer´s "Crionics". The abrasive guitars after 34 seconds of the second tune appear as a short quote of the beginning of "Black Magic". Seems that the band really likes "Show No Mercy"; but who wants to blame the guys for doing so? In addition, the Greek copy the unholy sequence between "Post Mortem" and "Reign in Blood" during the fourth tune. But they are also familiar with some Scandinavian noise of the nineties. At the beginning of the third number, they visit the "Tol Cormpt Norz Norz Norz"-zoo of Impaled Nazarene. And, to get back to the start, there is no doubt that Cronos, Mantas and Abaddon are the spiritual mentors of the title of "One Thousand Goats in Sodom".
However, there is still enough room for own ideas. The casual opening of "Hail Tritone, Hail Lucifer" as well as an almost egocentric instrumental (the title track) can be mentioned in this context. But let´s focus on the big picture. Satan´s Wrath have internalized the spirit of the sub genre. "Galloping Blasphemy" does not lack of morbid harmonies, dirty vocals and rapid drumming. Only the clean yet powerful production prevents a more intensive smell of rottenness. The compositional approach of mastermind Danazoglou is comparable with that of Aura Noir. Just dive into the rabid "Death Possessed" and build your own opinion. Satan´s Wrath also rarely integrate some Maiden-like melodies. But generally said, they walk the hardly illuminated ways of the black thrash domain without asking for any luminiferous source.
Although it seems as if we have heard many riffs of this album before, the duo does not deliver a stale sound. Quite the opposite, the guys breathe new life into the bastard genre and their joy of playing cannot be ignored. Without question, "Galloping Blasphemy" has an energizing effect. This is the sound that Venom´s famous original line-up would prefer after travelling 30 years back in time. And one thing is certain, these guys knew how to create thrilling compositions. It is therefore only logical that the here presented tunes are not too simple or even primitive. Satan´s Wrath have a keen sense for the integration of breaks and they are also able to generate an eerie atmosphere occasionally. The guys are archivists, not inventors - but they know exactly what is worth keeping.
In order to close the cycle, it goes without saying that the lyrics also cannot be described as innovative. They are just there without offering any new aspects. The guys are not interested in becoming unfaithful to themselves. In accordance with the inverted cross on the cover, lines like "Midnight hear the white witch scream / Black magic candles burn upon the altar" say it all. Anyway, nobody needs to like this relatively unspectacular album, but I do.
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/