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This is one of the very few albums that will receive a 100% score review from me. Back in 1983, most of the albums coming from Britain were either great or excellent, Ebony records released “Chained and desperate“, “Loose and lethal”, and “See you in hell” by such artists as Chateaux, Savage and Grim reaper respectively, and Neat did the same with great offerings from Raven, Jaguar and most notably, Satan.
After Blitzkrieg’s break up, singers were swapped between the newly formed Avenger and Satan, resulting in the arrival of Brian Ross as lead vocalist for the recording of what would become my favourite record of 80’s metal, “Court in the act”.
The association between Ross and Satan would be very short lived but gave us a flawless gem of an album that is perfect from start to finish. After an atmospheric intro that sets up the mood in eerie fashion, we are hit full frontal by what would be the trademark of “Court in the act”, fast paced, powerful, but incredibly melodic songs such as “Trial by fire”, a song about nuclear warfare, a topic often used by bands in those days as we were still with both feet firmly planted in the cold war between the Soviets and the Americans.
The twin guitar attack is reminiscent of Iron maiden of course but it is faster and somewhat heavier than that of Harry’s boys.
The production is rather raw and unpolished like all Neat releases, but in this case, this is what gives “Court in the act” it’s charm, and a cleaner production would have certainly taken away a lot of the energy and magic of this record. It’s underground feel is what attracts me the most towards listening and listening again to this album as much now as I was doing more than twenty years ago.
What stands out the most from that first song is the voice of their lead singer Brian Ross, mid range yet powerful and rather soothing in the tone, that guy has the most beautiful voice in metal, never strained, the guy respects his range and stays inside it giving us the most beautiful vocal melodies with maybe the ones from old Fates warning albums.
We are then treated to two very energetic songs, “Blades of steel”, a song about Vikings conquering the lands and “No turning back”, your usual song about sticking to your guns and believing in yourself, again with great vocal melodies, and very well written lyrics. “Blades of steel” has great beat changes and “No turning back” features an insane guitar solo that is probably the best on the album even though the soloing is awesome throughout the record.
Side one closes with the song about the mistreating of the american Indians in “Broken treaties” starting slowly with an Indian dance beat followed by the guitar melody, another intense song that is the most progressive with the last song on the album “Alone in the docks”.
Side two starts off the same way that side one started, with a fast paced stormer called “Break free” where the drumming and bass work are particularly prevalent as it is in the instrumental “The ritual”, a crazy wordless adventure that takes you through different moods, speeds and where your attention is not divided between the incredible musicianship of guitarists Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins, bass man Graeme English and drummer Sean Taylor and the magical voice from Ross which we now have a break from in that song.
“Hunt you down” doesn’t leave out the energy and has a very original almost weird riff in the chorus.
After all is said and done none more than myself can recommend this perfect piece of metal art to the unsuspecting treasure hunter, unfortunately this record is hard to find and I was lucky enough to have it in vinyl but it cost me a bundle to have on cd.
Satan would later change it’s name to Blind fury because they didn’t want to be associated with the growing number of satanic bands coming mostly from the newly emerging thrash metal movement, they released an excellent album titled “Out of reach” featuring the same flawless musicianship and strong numbers but without the great Brian Ross and with a cleaner production than on “Court in the act” the magic seemed to have disappeared though “Out of reach” is still recommended.
Hail to that great year 1983 that gave us “Kill ‘em all”, “Show no mercy”, “All for one”, “Melissa”, “Sirens” and countless marvellous albums but most notably “Court in the act” by the great Satan.