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Up Against Some Tough Opposition - 78%

DeathRiderDoom, June 13th, 2010

*Written for the 10th MA Virgin Reviews Challenge

Satan Jokers formed part of the tier-2/3 of French heavy metal in the ‘80s, and were mildly successful, hailing from the same Paris scene as the mighty Sortilege, and though not quite reaching the heights of their power metal colleagues, amassed a large fanbase and freuquently were included in the lineups of the largest festivals and shows in the country. The band were veterans, forming out of the ashes of hard rock band Garters, forming officially in ’81, and taking their name from the monikers of two American Motorcycle gangs – the Satan’s Slaves, and the Gypsie Jokers. After recording early demos the groups management was able to secure them a deal with major stable Vertigo, where they released several albums, gaining decent promotion, and a loyal following in France.

The debut full length ‘The Sons of Metal’ hits the streets in ’83 and was generally well received. It would be re-released several times with one version at least containing some tracks recorded in English tacked on to the end. Present on the debut is a song that ranges from Krokus-esque rock, Judas Priestish heavy metal bangers, like ‘Offering’, and aggressive crunching tracks akin to countrymen Demon Eyes / Titan. Though some tracks are indeed pretty classy, the same level of refinement and poise of Blaspheme / Sortilege is arguably not reached, though the band does posses, in tracks like the thundering ‘Samurai’, the same snarling, aggressive and rogh edged power of Titan and Demon Eyes, an attribute certainly common amongst the French ‘80s metal.

There’s some pretty awesome power metallish tracks like the title track, while others are slightly more traditional in style. Arguably though, Stan Jokers, while pretty solid, doesn’t possess quite the same majesty of fellow countrymen ADX, Sortilege or Blaspheme. Definitely worth checking out if you’re into the French metal stuff though, Satan Jokers’ debut offering is far from a bad record – its just sits alongside some pretty solid company – hence the band were never as internationally well-regarded as the other French titans. As with the other French stuff though, nice aggression in the sound and production, as well as some rather cool, unique addtions to songs like ‘Tokyo Geisha’ and others do make for a rather memorable album. Plenty of NWOBHM and Iron Maidenish influence comes into the sound, and there are some blazingly awesome solos (‘Tokyo Geisha’ again). Good album, just not overly amazing or memorable.

-DeathRiderDoom