Satan’s Host – Metal From Hell

Monday, 13th January 2014

When you’ve been around as long as Satan’s Host, you can sit by and watch trends come and go.  They’ve been through a number of iterations since 1986’s Metal From Hell, with a sound that has constantly evolved but stayed true to their mission statement.  Their latest release, 2013’s Virgin Sails, sees the band again raising the metal bar and forging ever onward with a sound uniquely their own.

We were able to fire off an email interview with vocalist Harry “Tyrant” Conklin (Leviathan Thisirin) and drummer Anthony Lopez (Evil Little Hobbit) to catch up on all things Virgin Sails.  We were also able to discuss their take on the metal industry and the inevitable problems that can result by having “Satan” in your band name…read on for their candid and insightful responses.

Dead Rhetoric: How does your newest album, Virgin Sails, compare with the rest of your discography?

Harry Conklin:  All of our music is different from the previous because we are in constant state of growth and learning. As we absorb the universe around us, we change and it shows through our musical expression. We have an undeniably unique sound that sets us apart from nearly everyone else in our genre. Therefore everything sounds fresh and new.

Anthony Lopez: For my part I think Virgin Sails is a continuation from By the Hands of the Devil since the return of Harry into the band, We strive to keep growing as a band musically and lyrically, I think even though it is a continuation, we have grown and the album musically encompasses what we have done in the past and we have added new territory on our musical resume.  We always try to out do what we have done in the past, but at the same time we write what we feel and don’t really follow any formula or trend.

Dead Rhetoric: Virgin Sails is the second album back with Harry Conklin, how did the writing process go.  Was it smoother this time around having a steady line-up?

Conklin: There have been two albums before Virgin Sails; By the Hands of the Devil and CELEBRATION: For the Love of Satan.  The celebration album was a rebirth of the age of ELI era and our new sound with me (LEVIATHAN) back in the fold. Pat and I worked hard to reintroduce some of the old tracks and also take the time to rearrange some of the older songs to a newer feel. CELEBRATION had two brand new songs. “For the Love of Satan” and “Conviction.” It bothers the band as a whole for the media to discount this prolific work as an E.P. or just discount it all altogether. CELEBRATION is a GREAT showing of the growth of the band.

Lopez: The writing process was the same; we get along very well and are able to create quickly with no strife in what we do.  We have a great time and fun at what we are doing, writing is a natural process for us.  It either feels right or it doesn’t, we work it out democratically and just have the same goal to make great music.

Dead Rhetoric: Were there any expectations you felt you needed to live up to, after the success of By the Hands of the Devil?

Conklin: We don’t care about what people might think of us. We do as we will and whatever comes out is always made from our heart and souls. We don’t try to outdo ourselves it just comes naturally with the growth and energy we give and bet from each other as a band.

Lopez: No, not really other than the expectations we put on ourselves, we are all metal fans, so when we make a song and it doesn’t blow our minds first, what makes us think that the listener will be blown away?  We put into our music what we think is lacking in the industry from a fans point of view and for self satisfaction, and the thing is we never write any fillers, at least we don’t think we do, every song has its own life and you have to play for the sake of the song, the musical composition itself, that’s how we look at it.

Dead Rhetoric: Satan’s Host has a pretty identifiable and unique sound when compared to any peer in metal, how did this come together?  Is there a method for how you fuse together so many different genres into your music?

Conklin: Our music is an energy we feel when we are jamming all together. Pat comes up with the initial riff(s) and then the song grows from there.

Lopez: Well Patrick has developed that signature Satan’s Host “sound” since Metal from Hell.  We are all fans of different genres of metal, we like to extend our sound to whatever feels right for the song, we are very lucky we can get away with it, most bands don’t have a signature sound and are unable to extend what they do out of their boundaries, our style demands to extend to whatever we want, we have that evil flare underneath it all and that’s what gives us the liberty to do what we want musically.

There is no rule book out there that says you are suppose to do this or do that, a lot of bands do that to themselves and they have short lives and minimal amount of creativity.  We’re all about attacking the primal of the listener, to take them somewhere new and to experience new emotions through our music.  I think playing from the heart with conviction and true spirit doesn’t exist in many bands anymore, bands are afraid to be innovative and explore, afraid to leave their comfort zone.

Right now we are being labeled as “blackened power metal,” what the fuck is that?  We are just a straight up metal band; we label ourselves “metal from Hell” because we can put whatever in our music.  If anything we are a first generation black metal band, because those bands were about Satan and Satanism, not frosty mountains, depression, and fantasy; some media have stated that our lyrical content now is about fantasy, we write about real things and Satan is in every song we have, you just have to know how to identify Satan; we feel we had more to write about it, daily life, world affairs, mythology, etc.; so yeah, there may be a hint of fantasy, but it extends out to some mythology, where there is no falsehood or proof, but if you know how to read through our lyrics, Satan is connected in there, we can’t give all our secrets away, we want the listener to look into what we are presenting, trying to get the listener to think out of the box and spark something in them to explore these ideas and to learn something new.

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