Review Summary: Hell put to tape. It sounds as awful as you'd expect.
Satanic Blood Angel is a compilation of the band’s Satanic Blood demo (released in 1991), their Blood Angel demo (which was never released up until this compilation), and a few live tracks thrown in at the end. The review will mostly focus on the two demos
Every once in a while we all encounter something that, against our better judgement, we can’t help but fall in love with. No matter how loudly our brain tries to convince us that there is nothing to like here and we should move on, we are drawn and held tightly.
Everything about Von is awful, there I said it. The drumming might as well be someone hammering on a pan at the same tempo for a half hour, the riffs are mind numbingly simple and each song usually consists of a singular riffs being repeated for a couple of minutes before abruptly switching to the next, the bass plods along following the guitar lines, and to top it all off, the whole thing might as well have been recorded in a garage using a cellphone strategically placed on the other side of the closed garage door while it’s raining out. Yet, somehow, without any apparent redeeming qualities, the whole thing just works.
The band hammer away at their songs for a half hour never seeming to slow down, or speed up, as they messily move through one riff after another, one song after another. The ever constant blast beats create the backbone that the rest of the instruments are then piled onto and although the lack of variety in the drum work may sound like a fault, it is one of the album’s greatest advantages. This ever constant presence at the heart of the album is the key ingredient that turns the album from the failure it should have been into the hypnotic trek it is. As the drums pound away, simple, repetitive guitar riffs weave their way in and out with the added weight of the bass. Given the short length of the songs, the riffs never get a chance to overstay their welcome and are quickly replaced by something new almost seamlessly as the album moves along at a steady pace without any semblance of a pause.
The final product can only be described as sounding ritualistic. With a vocal performance that is just as devilish as the album cover and thrown together just as messily as the rest of the instruments, the songs come together with a raw passion that works because it simply does not ever attempt to be more than it is. Satanic Blood Angel embraces all its faults and in the process uses each of them to its advantage and the end result is a hypnotic, ritualistic, bestial combination that has never, and probably will never, be recaptured in quite the same light.