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Galloping Blasphemy

Metal Blade (2012)
Rating: 6/10

Okay, so I’m going to be short and sweet with this rather than rambling. If you’re a metalhead that grew up in the 80s as a naïve teenager, and were stained by the primitive hollering of Venom, early Voivod, Destruction, Possessed, Sodom and the likes, then Satan’s Wrath are most definitely for you.

This is a riff monster of a record that wears its influences on its tatty sleeve, combining the grim vocal destruction of Bathory with a blackened thrash assault. Fans of more recent Darkthrone will also find Satan’s Wrath a worthy addition to your crusty collection.

In the mid-90s I was driven insane by the all too symphonic sound of black metal, but my senses were thankfully ravaged by the unclean gurgles of bands like Aura Noir, who took the sound of the old school, wrenched it from its dormant grave, and breathed new life into that mouldy corpse. Satan’s Wrath – who hail from Greece – puke the same foetid black thrash, and with tongue firmly in cheek, raise their tankards and inverted crosses in praise of the darkest lord down below.

You can expect a clear production, but it’s not something that hampers the band and their quest for ungodly mayhem. The only issue I have with the record is that it can at times become rather stale, but then again, bands of this ilk do seem to be insistent on churning out almost bland, no frills evil, much of which consists of buzz-saw riffs and gargling vocals.

There’s nothing fancy here, although ‘Between Belial And Satan’ features an ominous, doom-laden drum plod intro and infectious chainsaw riff. ‘Death Possessed’ is a little too close to Slayer if you ask me, and there are the customary Iron Maiden-style melodies fused with Bay Area styling, all blackened by the necro yelps of Tas Danazoglou, who as well as being part Quorthon (Bathory), part Cronos (Venom), is a multi-instrumentalist who also takes on drum and bass duties here (this guy also played bass for Electric Wizard).

Stamos K is responsible for those unclean riffs, and he shines – albeit in the fading light – on album closer ‘Satan’s Wrath’, which shows the band in more progressive, rather than regressive mode. The deadly duo also showcases an intriguing instrumental in the form of the title track.

Sadly, however, when the nine tracks are through I’m not left craving further unholy blood. Instead it just forces me to listen to something more sincere. While it’s great for bands to give a nod to the past, I don’t think it’s beneficial to remain there, and so with that, my cauldron brew has coagulated and it’s time to seek a new, more refreshing flavour of the month.

Neil Arnold

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