Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Satan's Host

Satanic Grimoire
Great American Scapegoat 666
Moribund Cult

For consistency's sake, it should be noted that Movement Magazine did enjoy Satan's Host's earlier release for Moribund Cult Records, the altogether decent "Burning the Born Again," but with two (!) more releases following on its hot little heels, this glut of Satan's Host material is starting to become too much of an only okay thing, with these albums blurring together into one homogenous, amorphous mass of black-cum-death metal. I'm starting to reassess my original take, and it ain't looking too
good for Satan's Host. Maybe they (or Moribund) could have compressed these albums into one kick-ass, concise collection? Dunno. They're starting to seem like the Ryan Adams or Sebadoh of Black Metal. They've shed most original members in their twenty-year tenure (most notably founding member Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer) and radically changed their sound (apparently they were originally evil power metal - awesome! - makes me think of Solitude Aeternus or an amped-up Dio for some reason) to a
more technically inclined occult noise.

"Satanic Grimoire" is lyrically gonzo almost to the point of parody, especially in the spoken intros. Imagine Manowar if they spent all their time reading demonic lore instead of bodybuilding mags and Conan
paperbacks, and the sound is somewhere between the like of Entombed/Sunlight Studios Swedish death and the more thrashy black metal of Darkthrone, but lacking some of the inherent convictions of both, along with the disastrous tendency to noodle. (They are genuinely proficient musicians, after all. I can't help but wonder if the genre strictures of black metal aren't causing some chafing.) Some genuinely good songs do raise their ugly, bloodied heads - try "Grimoire's" "My Will, My Law: Evil" and "Scapegoat's" "Black Order," but on the whole these two remarkably similar albums are overkill and one gets the sense that they are spreading themselves too thin aesthetically, sonically and conceptually.

Maybe a name change, a new beginning, would liven things up? Unfortunately, you can very easily live without these records.

- Matthew Moyer

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