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Satan - Cruel Magic Award winner

Cruel Magic
by Martin Knap at 10 September 2018, 10:41 AM

SATAN (aka BLIND FURY and PARIAH) are a one of a kind band. As any British Metal band that started their career in the late 70s – early 80s they lived in the shadows of Heavy Metal behemoths IRON MAIDEN and JUDAS PRIEST. That’s not to say that they were the poor cousin of either of those bands. SATAN had a unique sound that foreshadowed Speed Metal, and stood out with from the crowd as one of the most iconic band of the era. I don’t have a good answer as to why they weren’t more commercially successful – the band has put out two albums under the name SATAN and three more under different names before calling it quits – maybe they just stopped being “fit for radio play” at a certain point, but their music been rediscovered and newly appreciated in the recent years and the band has had a fantastic comeback with their 2013 album “Life Sentence” and the 2016 album “Atom to Atom”.

With both SATAN’s post-comeback releases being such a blast expectations for “Cruel Magic” are running high, so is it a hit or a miss this time around? SATAN don’t disappoint and “Cruel Magic” is a great follow up to “Atom to Atom”.  SATAN deliver tight, memorable songs, a maelstrom of great riffs and catchy hooks and top-notch guitar work. The guitar playing is bad-ass by any standard and the drummer is a real best. The songs are recognizably NWBHM but they also have a unique character. Blistering pace and high octane energy is often combined with melodic playfulness that sounds fresh and unique. The songwriting is always intricate but tight at the same time. I can’t pick a favorite song, there are just so many good songs. The title track is great, the guitar in the verse has a bit of a bluesy groove and the chorus will just get immediately stuck in your head – as so many other choruses on the album. The “Legions Hellbound” has a big, soaring chorus a some nice groove in the verse and a very cool slow tempo mid-section that has a 70s Rock vibe to it. “Death Knell For A King” is a super catchy tune with driving melodies; I feel like I’m listening to some happy, upbeat versions of some JUDAS PRIEST songs.

The production on this album is raw – very raw actually by the standards of a Heavy Metal band. Some people may see it differently, but I don’ t see it as a bad choice.  To me, the production adds a certain charm to the music. All in all, this album is – at least to me – a worthy follow up to “Life Sentence” and “Atom to Atom” and another release by SATAN that you shouldn’t miss.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Into the Mouth of Eternity
2. Cruel Magic
3. The Doomsday Clock
4. Legions Hellbound
5. Ophidian
6. My Prophetic Soul
7. Death Knell for a King
8. Who Among Us
9. Ghosts of Monongah
10. Mortality
Steve Ramsey – Guitars
Russ Tippins – Guitars
Graeme English – Bass
Sean Taylor – Drums
Brian Ross – Vocals
Record Label: Metal Blade Records


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Edited 19 July 2019

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