Review: Satan “Court in the Act” (Roadrunner Records)

Review: Satan “Court in the Act” (Roadrunner Records)

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Released in 1983 under the Roadrunner Records label, Satan‘s debut album boasts a unique heaviness that outweighs what many extreme metal albums are capable of providing to the listener, up to the point of making them look girly. Its savage and monstrous guitar work is what makes the difference if compared to other releases brought out during the NWOBHM, and it marked a path for the way forward in such a fast-evolving subgenre. Things are, however, not only summarized to what has been done by the powerful guitar duo consisting of the skilled Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey. Also, the tremendous drumming from Sean Taylor reached an unseen intensity that became a reference for the not yet defined thrash metal in more than one way.

But not only thrash metal has taken this sound. Influences from this British band could also be found in a good portion of the 80s German power metal stuff, including underground bands like Mephisto and Sweet Cheater, as well as other widely known acts, such as Helloween and Blind Guardian. Of course, these influences are mostly linked to the vicious outrageous offer provided by the speed metal pieces “Trial By Fire” and “Break Free”, which although they are thrashy by nature, they feature interesting melodic guitar solos, as well as other passages with sing-along choruses. Such a formula became the basic songwriting structure for the aforementioned German acts.

On the other hand, the album also includes more accessible mid-paced numbers that contrast a little bit the dense atmosphere surrounding its speed metal numbers, being “Blades of Steel” and “Broken Treaties” the most memorable. Notwithstanding their accessibility, these numbers are rather punchy, and at some point in the intro, they become a little bit thrashy. As a weird act, uncommon in the metal songwriting, the band spliced a couple of instrumentals: the forceful speedish “The Ritual” and the softer “The Dark Side of Innocence”. This unorthodox move is, nonetheless, adequately addressed as the numbers in a certain way complement each other.

Perhaps, the album’s only weak point is its production work, as it is rustic and somehow amateurish, but it still fits the album’s songwriting style and atmosphere. On account of the concerns about the image they were projecting under the Satan moniker, the band decided to change the same into Blind Fury and also brought the talented vocalist Lou Taylor into the roster. This change, however, only lasted for one album. After the release of “Out of Reach”, the band came back to their original moniker, keeping the same throughout the years. In the end, their concerns were not so relevant, considering that the final product would become a worthy and vicious masterpiece that much collectors would love to see in their cabinets. For that reason, this is the kind of album that you should never overlook.

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Score 99%
99 %
User Rating : 4.9 (2 votes)

About the author

I have been for more than 15 years into classic rock and 70s and 80s metal music, and have been writing reviews for more than 4 years. As a reviewer, I'm primarily focused on the most classic subgenres of metal music, and have heard the same in different formats.

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