Review Summary: Metal personified...
The genre of heavy metal is one that has gone through a plentiful amount of evolutions and transformations. Because of this, the overarching genre of metal [which was already a rock sub-genre] has branched out into a surplus of different variations. While this increase in subcategories has made understanding the sounds of certain bands easier to pick up on, it has inadvertently created many divides in the “community,” for lack of a better word. For example, it’s hard believe that something like Burzum or Akhlys have the same roots as something like Ratt or Twisted Sister. However, there's one thing most metal has that draws it all together: The Attitude. A vast majority of these sub-genres, no matter what emotion is being portrayed, has some form of harsh and passionate demeanor, whether the band is tackling glorious battle, terrifying cults, or world crushing sadness.
This rooted attitude is one that is the main lifeblood for many records, showcasing the vibrant rebellion and horror that metal was built upon with bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. These albums not only embrace their roots, they revel in them and display them to the world. One of the finest examples of this blatant, yet classic, metal vigor is Court in the Act
, by NWOBHM band Satan.
Everything metal stood for in ‘83 is shown in surplus here, with the genres bountiful clichés being shown off with face-melting glory. Yet, despite some of these elements being used quite regularly throughout this time period, the performances here are extremely invigorating and exciting. The material itself comes through with enough clever and catchy songwriting that takes some of these repeated genre staples and bends them to their absolute limit, creating a sound that is familiar, but still at the top of its game. Everything from the lightning fast and slick as Hell guitar work to the attention grabbing and dense bass truly makes this piece of killer metal a true apex predator, especially when backed by thunderous and bone-breaking drums with the perfect blend between crunchy violence and technical skill. The music here paints the backdrop of an evil region where the different forces of power are at a constant power-struggle that is both shocking and enthralling. The vocals here further create this climactic world around the listener, with a range that can reach heights made famous by singers such as King Diamond and Rob Halford.
What more is there really to say" Satan not only made a simplistic masterwork in the NWOBHM genre, they perfected almost every single element found in this style of music. On top of that, the band also embodied everything metal stood and still stands for today, which is a pure, unadulterated “we don’t take prisoners” attitude and enough self-awareness to not become too absurd for its own good. The cult-classic both reminds us of a gone time but also has aged like a fine wine, but this wine was crafted with the blood of your enemies.