Satan’s Wrath – Aeons of Satan’s Reign (Metal Blade Records)Wednesday, 6th November 2013
Looking at the band logo (ooh, the a’s are replaced by 6’s and the t’s are upside-down crosses) as well as the album title, the bad jokes seemed to be writing themselves. With some song titles that might even make Glen Benton cringe (“Only Satan is Lord,” “Satan’s Blood, Lucifer’s Fire”), things looked to be taking a turn for the worse. Then the music started playing, and all jokes were forgotten. Aeons of Satan’s Reign will certainly be ignored by some, but for the rest, prepare to hear one of 2013’s more under-the-radar gems.
It’s truly challenging to pigeonhole Satan’s Wrath with a specific subgenre, or even two. It is an efficient melting pot of some of metal’s finest ingredients: black, death, thrash, and NWOBHM all evenly stirred in and blended to retrograde perfection. The music is aggressive to the ear, yet the interwoven melodies and stellar songwriting keep it from becoming stale after a few listens. They play appropriate homage to the metal masters of yore, while incorporating enough of their own piss and vinegar to keep it from becoming a retro cut-and-paste like so many others this year.
For what it’s worth, the hokey imagery and song titles do lead to a sound that feels more genuinely ‘vintage evil’ than most bands that try. The usage of occasional effects such as the choral opening (“Only Satan is Lord”) or organ (“Archfiend”) surprisingly enhance the sound of the guitar tone that buzzes and fuzzes with a feeling of nostalgic ‘80s evil. The vocals, while being particularly decipherable, have a gruffness to them that also blends right in.
If you can look past the not-so-subtle and occasionally goofy satanic symbolism, you are in for a real treat. The only real misstep seems to be that the closing “Aeons of Satan’s Reign” takes a bit too long to get going and overstays it’s nine-minute welcome. Satan’s Wrath seems ready to burst onto the scene with Aeons of Satan’s Reign so grab your bullet belt and old leather jacket and get head banging!