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Satan > Earth Infernal > Reviews
Satan - Earth Infernal

fresh off the press - 89%

Demon Fang, May 27th, 2022

Although the title of most important comeback album has to go to Hell, Satan is more than worthy of the silver medal. Life Sentence was very much the album that showed their fellow veteran artists and those young whippersnappers “no motherfucker, this is how you do it!”. A positively spellbinding assault of ultra-melodic NWOBHM for the new millennium, yet played with the vigor that’s like they’re fresh off having recorded Suspended Sentence in the late-80s. The following two albums didn’t quite have that magic despite similarly high-quality musicianship, but 2022’s Earth Infernal brings back much of the spark that made Life Sentence what it was and still is.

“Burning Portrait” was certainly a tip top choice of a single – although it runs through many different gamuts during its near-six minute runtime, everything’s intertwined so well that it’s like a dynamic showcase of everything the band is capable of. Frolicking picking, catchy chorusing, expert dynamic shifts into an overall richly melodic showcasing, all packaged with crispy production and Brian Ross’ more ominously powerful vocals. Of course, it can be a bit worrying, thinking the rest of the album wouldn’t hold up compared to such a great single. But then we got another single, “From Second Sight”, and that’s also got some strong, energetic riffing and percussion. From there, things were absolutely looking up…

...and up was where it went with the full album as it maintains that momentum. From “Ascendancy” to “Earth We Bequeath”, you got these melodically tight compositions that mix it up between fiery bursts of energy to gloomier mid-paced affairs. Add in some neoclassically-charged riffs and solos at just the right time to wrap it all up in a neat little package or ten, and this shit sticks like tar. Be it the doomier “Ascendancy”, the more rocking “Twelve Infernal Lords” or the energetic and somber “A Sorrow Unspent”, there’s definitely a lot of nifty, dynamic rhythms that find themselves invariably memorable. There’s certainly a mix of up and down moods through the compositions, particularly in the slower, more atmospheric introductions to a few of the songs having a rather doomy influence to them. But you speed up the riffs and pep up the drums, and it’s like those bursts of energy surging right through your speakers – fuck I love it!

It’s got them dreary riffs, it’s got them galloping riffs, and by god it’s got such a razor-sharp bite to it, despite its more straightforward approach, it keeps things rather fresh. Many older bands just repackage their old shit in uninspired lots or just kind of forget what make them work, but Satan? Nah mate, these guys still got it. Really, time passed since Court in the Act? Suspended Sentenced? Shit, even that fresh off the Pariah days? Could’ve fooled me, considering how tight they keep things, how catchy they keep things and all that good shit over a 40-year period!

Earth Infernal - 85%

Nattskog7, May 15th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2022, CD, Metal Blade Records (Digipak)

Opening with some doomy riffs which meet melodious leads and cymbals, the eerie and textured sounds of Satan clearly have not lost their nuanced identity. Galloping into a much livelier and more traditionally NWOBHM assault of pounding drums and ferocious riffing, the bite is razor sharp and full of skilful playing. Majestic and full of energy, there is no denying this band has gone from strength to strength while never breaking the masses, those who know Satan have loyally followed for decades and worshipped at their small but opulent altar of superb heavy metal. The vocals soar upon the shredding guitars while the rhythm section is diverse and impactful in its own right, this is a band where no member takes a back-seat position. From its earliest moments the record makes a monstrous statement that is difficult to ignore. The first 3 tracks feel like back to back classics, and the quality thereafter does not dwindle.

Aside from the glorious musicianship and warm, inviting production, Satan’s use of varied moods paint an intricate picture which has triumph, gloom, despair and joy weaving in and out as the songs progress powerfully. Naturally the record has these monumental neoclassical moments that inject huge amounts of passion and variety into an album that is inarguably as metallic as it gets. The crisp tone of the bass and clean guitar sound they use is instantly recognisable and perfectly showcases that low tunings and tons of distortion aren’t essential to heaviness, the intensity and quality of the song speaks louder than any of this. As has always been the case with this band, any individual song is great, but far more memorable in the context of the full album. Satan has never superficially strung a bunch of songs together, they have always crafted a grander work and this is no different. Everything has its place and the rest has been cut away to leave only what is needed.

From “A Sorrow Unspent” with its tribal drumming introduction, the liveliness ramps up to 11 with a blistering piece of music that has the whole band running on overdrive to inject us with adrenaline before settling into a dusky and more brooding chorus. This is one example in a greater framework of complex and marvellous songs that have so many unexpected twists while fitting the overall albums concept and sound perfectly. “Luciferic” is probably the most straight-forward and typically heavy of the songs but still features plenty of their occult and mystical atmospherics. It is hard to single out tracks that stand out when they all do, but that’s definitely a great one for someone who might be new to the band. But I do implore you, listen to the whole record, you shall not regret it for a moment.

Legions of Satan, this cult act return with another splendid opus that offers us more of the bands legendary and unique style. Wonderfully tight musicianship centred around profoundly enjoyable and atmospheric songwriting. This is a band that have stuck to their guns and done so in a truly rewarding manner time and time again. With Satan it has always been quality and not quantity and this rings true for “Earth Infernal”, a masterfully written and gripping listen.

Written for

It’s Our Belief We are the Centre of this Universe - 95%

Twisted_Psychology, April 12th, 2022

Having maintained an insane streak of quality since their comeback with 2013’s Life Sentence, Satan offers even more of the same with their fifth full-length. Infernal Earth is right in line with the approach last seen in 2018’s Cruel Magic as the songs continue to throw in more mixed tempos and dynamics than the more straightforward proto power-thrash that they’re best known for. Thankfully the band never loses sight of their blazing energy and remains defined by their constantly flailing twin guitars and commanding but still melodic mid-range vocals.

“Burning Portrait” and “From Second Sight” were brilliant single choices and are among the album’s best, the former featuring sinister verses and incredibly catchy choruses while the latter stands out for lyrics that poke fun at conspiracy theorists. Elsewhere, “Mercury’s Shadow” is a high energy instrumental raising tension for the exotic but hard-hitting “Sorrow Unspent,” providing a strong display of the band’s dynamics. I can also get into the abrupt but climactic tempo shifts on “Poison Elegy” and the closing “Earth We Bequeath.”

Infernal Earth may see the band’s continued contentment with their formula, but that formula is still packed with enough enthusiasm and effort to keep from feeling stale. On the contrary, it’s just further reinforcement of why I think Satan is the best NWOBHM band that isn’t Iron Maiden. If you’ve enjoyed anything else that the band has done, this is yet another no-brainer.

We Trust In Only The Word Of Our Anointed One - 99%

CHAIRTHROWER, April 9th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2022, Digital, Metal Blade Records

April Fools Day buggered off this year thanks to killer releases by Wolf and Satan, the latter of which, Earth Infernal, makes me feel like I'm being tickled by ragged bony fingers, particularly during fair skeletal handful where it's more of a full-on psychic probe into cranial nether regions reserved for the reptilian heavy metal brain. Initially, it was through 2018's Cruel Magic I'd been gifted the keys to said hellish kingdom, having since retro-actively scanned its entire progression from waylaid 1980s wizard apprentice to present day head conjurer of 2022's top surprise insofar as highly hooking and intricate instrumentation. Guitars and bass coexist in surreal, never ceasing tempests of sonic fury, whilst the drums are a flame roasted planet away from basic ground laying. Also, Brian Ross' eccentric vocal delivery assures the most insightful lyrics this side of Hades.

Satan possesses a unique sound: an anti-catechistic, super loose aura of malevolent hokeyness combining dark forces with rabidly seizing musical developments which yield newfound Easter Egg nuggets of dexterous picking acrobatics with each listen and at every turn. Barring cleanly strummed gateway portal "Mercury's Shadow" (akin to Wolf's meandering morsel "Absinthe", yet fine prelude to tambourine fueled neck cracker "A Sorrow Unspent", itself a ghoulish, partial un-deadringer for Megadeth's "Poison Was The Cure"), the five British lords get their mesmeric chain ball rolling with "Ascendancy", whose cathartic opening power chords and winding intro leads hint of loud tidings prior to freakishly wizened, intoxicating spell of noodling bass and fiery guitar riffage, as template is set for pair of blackened humdingers "Burning Portrait" and "Twelve Infernal Lords". The former took a spell to really take a hold of me; concentrated perusal of its verses reveals a most sordid tale of once regal personage's underworldly descent, while the other plays host to amplified Angel Witch/Blitzkrieg tendencies.

As formidably engaging, invigorating and rejuvenating as Earth Infernal's first half is, hang on to your pitchforks once further flurry of tracks ensues, right on to six minute closer "Earth We Bequeath" - a future borne parallel to Court In The Act finale "Alone In The Dock", more or less past response to Iron Maiden's viably reprised classic "Hallowed Be Thy Name". Ahead of such maestro worthy inclination (where we hear impactful but atypically salient baritone on behalf of Sire Ross), "Luceferic" nears old school early 1970s Dust style folklore clothes-ligned with naughty noughties Wolf vibes, whilst "Poison Elegy" pays tribute to long-assassinated statesman Julius Caesar, also mixing up a pastoral refrain with crabby fretboard maneuvers of a beyond frightful nature - even its sidebar solos are of a classical divination. Riff mongered skedaddle "The Blood Ran Deep"'s simply repetitive, albeit seminal, chorus soon lodges in minds like a burrowing cestode.

Neither Satan's Earth Infernal, nor this humble spiel, would be complete without thrilled mention of brief, power packed social commentary "From Second Sight". Not since Flight's "Ride On" (from 2018, whence elevators were publicly shared) has a track so flung me asunder with such instantly gratifying thunder. The scratchy main riff, which brings to mind dancing demon claws, and jauntily flowing bass line/face-slap of a drum beat, in tandem with wildly sardonic lines, keep me afloat - not a goat. Such clash of NWOBHM rule and stock Satan wit plasters huge grins across mugs everywhere. No cliché, here; hail Satan!

All Tickets for the Next Flight to Hell Sold out - 94%

bayern, April 7th, 2022

Yep, cause it seems like Hell ain’t a bad place to reside at all now, with its most prominent musical exponents circulating more regularly. And not only but they’re excelling with each subsequent recording, turning into one of the most successful reunion stories in the annals of metal; from the new millennium ones and not only.

The naked non-embellished truth is that the Ramsey/English tandem have already reached a stage in which they simply can’t put a foot wrong; even if they really want to. I thought, for quite some time, that their finest creation would remain these folk-induced pagan-invoking Skyclad dancing pirouettes, another reason being the steady uninterrupted longevity of that project, but with a fourth very strong instalment under the cloak of the Cunning One after the reformation in 2011, their first, also most hellish, offspring seems to be edging anything else they’ve put their signatures under.

This ancient postulate says that nothing beats magick… sorry, magic. Especially the particularly cruel type. Well, cross said postulate off all books and manuscripts. Cause something does… but only if both the potion and the spell have been prepared by those same cruel magicians. And they don’t seem like they’re stopping any time soon, riding the classic power/speed metal wave so high that ascendancy is already a foregone conclusion for the team, a fact evident from the opening “Ascendancy”, a most impetuous speed metal anthem, carving the “Court in the Act” template firmly on the map, and not only for its progenitors to follow. But they do, with all the king’s horses at that, the galloping exuberance of “Burning Portrait” and “Twelve Infernal Lords” gleefully spreading more musical militancy, one that is impossible to tumble down, especially after the virulent bursting near-thrasher “A Sorrow Unspent” has levelled the battlefield. A well-deserved respite (the mid-tempo trot “Luciferic”) still holds the audience enraptured with its steady hypnotic rhythms, before the prevalent speed metal odyssey gets enriched by both a more complex progressive tractate (“Poison Elegy”) and by “The Blood Ran Deep”, the new speed metal hymn to lead the metal legions through all possible disasters, a short non-fussy delight that simply slays, its hyper-active significance more than ably supported by another portion of barely tamed gallops unleashed on “Earth We Bequeath”.

The thing is that the guys not only bequeath the Earth here, but they also open a whole universe of giddy anticipation in the fan regarding their future exploits. Cause it seems like cruelty has no boundaries in the realm they reside in, and that its limits alongside those of musical greatness can be extended further. This is nothing fundamentally new, but it has been performed with so much inspiration and youthful enthusiasm that if there ever will be a winner of the hypothetical “young at heart” award to be given to reformed veterans of the past twenty years, that can only be the band under scrutiny here. This is their most restless and most aggressive recording since the re-emergence, like the guys simply can’t help it, and the only way for them to carry on is to explode in fireworks of classic speed metal glory, not only as a resounding tribute to their eponymous debut, but also as a testimony that whatever has been deemed best once upon a time gathers no rust, and regardless of how many times you bash it on the head, it won’t cease to produce gold… and gold only.

Hm, I can't believe that on an eulogy of the kind I completely forgot our favourite Brian Ross. But he’s the forgiving type, a Blitzkrieg fellow we’re talking, after all… always reliant, never excessively pathos-inducing, always quietly authoritative, and always aware of his exact place in this satanic cosmos… cause you can't simply have a piece wrongly placed in it. The Cunning One only knows the way up, obviously, only sheltering those stigmatized by perennial artistic grandeur.