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Satan > Dirt Demo '86 > Reviews > hells_unicorn
Satan - Dirt Demo '86

What Satan and Mozart have in common. - 87%

hells_unicorn, December 20th, 2010

There’s this goofy cliché that I heard a while back that goes something along the lines of “Nothing is constant, except change”, but in spite of the rapidly expanding possibilities that were emerging in metal in the late 80s, Satan elected to keep themselves in the early NWOBHM paradigm. Barring a new singer with a slightly rougher vocal style in Michael Jackson (no relation to the pop singer) and perhaps a somewhat smoother guitar sound, this is the same winning format that made “Court In The Act” the solid slab of speedy, riff happy heavy metal that garners much praise from early 80s fanatics on both sides of the Atlantic. The only thing that is perplexing about the shorter, leaner and meaner machine that is “Into The Future” is why it doesn’t receive as much attention as the two highly regarded LP releases under this outfit’s moniker.

It can’t be emphasized enough that Satan’s sound represents a unique crossroads in metal that is perhaps only matched by Metal Church, though even there the tendency leans a bit closer to thrash. These songs are catchy, melodic, and feature choruses so infectious that they look ahead to some of the German power metal acts that would emerge in the 1990s alongside Gamma Ray. The blistering opener “Key To Oblivion” finds a middle ground between the older school of Helstar and the later pursuits of Grave Digger, with the speed and fury of “Freewheel Burning”. The only divergence in this song with power metal is found in the humble production and the gritty, mid-ranged vocal performance.

One obviously shouldn’t ignore the fact that when Satan slows down, it’s primarily just a tad slower than what normally is considered fast in their world. “See Evil, Hear Evil, Speak Evil” and “Ice Man” are definitely not the fastest songs in this band’s repertoire, but they actually show up some of their earlier material in the riff department. The latter of the two even incorporates some humorous genre hopping into the blues/country territory at the end, perhaps upon seeing similar happy-go-lucky antics out of Nuclear Assault. “Fuck You” kicks the afterburners back on, with an instrumental riff fest that accomplishes something not all that different from what “Ram It Down” would a year later, but with a zany reference to Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” right smack in the middle of it.

If nothing else, it can be clearly established that Satan doesn’t slack off on their non-full length releases, and there is nothing in their short and somewhat erratic stint in the 80s that shouldn’t be looked into. “Into The Future” could perhaps be qualified as their least work, but that does little to diminish it given the magnitude of their collective studio accomplishments. Yet another release that is wholly unworthy of the shelf, yet also in dire need of being rescued from it.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on December 20, 2010.