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Satan > The First Demo > Reviews
Satan - The First Demo

Where Mustaine and Hetfield got it from. - 96%

hells_unicorn, December 29th, 2010

If there is any level of incredulity left as to where Mustaine and Hetfield got the ideas that ended up going into “Kill Em’ All”, and likewise where Slayer got much of the ideas that were infused into their pioneering thrash effort “Show No Mercy”, Satan’s first demo should provide at least part of the answer. Most are familiar with the influences of more obvious bands such as Diamond Head, Angel Witch and Motorhead, but more often than not this band is overlooked, in no small way because of that this demo is not as widely known as the revamps of these songs heard on the “Kiss Of Death” single and “Court In The Act”, where the proto-thrash character is downplayed and vocalist Trevor Robinson’s gritty vocal delivery (which Mustaine and Hetfield clearly picked up on) is not present in the case of the latter release.

The first two songs, which later ended up being rerecorded for the 1982 single that put this band on the map, are less representative of this demo’s significance to thrash metal. Indeed, the opening song “Kiss Of Death” bears a good deal of similarity to Iron Maiden’s “Prowler”, and could well have been written after a hearing of that song, particularly in the case of that auspiciously similar wah-wah lead guitar line that it has in comparison to the well-known Maiden tune. “Heads Will Roll” clearly takes some nods from Judas Priest and Motorhead, having the speed and flash of the former, and the gravely attitude of the latter. This song may well have had an influence on some of the German speed metal bands that began popping up in the mid 80s, but it doesn’t have that crushing edge associated with Metallica.

The real deal is found in the second half of this demo, where the proto-thrash tendencies are so obvious that they literally wop the singer right upside the head with a steel boot. “Oppression” does have something of a Maiden-like character to the lead guitar work, but the riffs go for that double time version of “Children Of The Grave” that would come to birth “Four Horsemen”, and here the tempo is only behind by maybe a few clicks with regards to the Hetfield/Mustaine concoction. But the true gusto flies in at the tail end with “The Executioner”, where the pedal literally goes to the metal. Several songs such as “Whiplash”, “Phantom Lord”, “No Remorse” and “Metal Militia” could be likened to what is contained on here, making this arguably an equally large evolutionary step in metal to that of “Haunting The Chapel” and “Seven Churches”.

For thrash metal history buffs and NWOBHM junkies alike, this is something that needs to be heard. The limitations of the recording technology used in the master tape show through like blood through glass, but it’s only slightly lower fidelity than that of the Iron Maiden debut. It doesn’t quite possess the finished nature that the later incarnations of these songs do, but from both a historical perspective, and also a uniqueness standpoint in the case of “Oppression” and “The Executioner”, it is in a class all by itself even amongst later works. Fire up the pit, hit the lights and get ready to jump in the fire, because this metal militia is about to give you an incurable case of whiplash.