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Satan - Early Rituals

Early Rituals
by Jean-François Poulin at 23 October 2020, 12:37 PM

SATAN are a New Wave of British Heavy Metal band from Newcastle, England. They were originally formed back in 1979 and after name changes (they were once known as BLIND FURY and PARIAH in the past) they settled permanently on the SATAN name. There is a bunch of bands with the same name obviously, I mean what’s more evil than Satan, not much out there to say the least! This is the same lineup throughout the decades which is mindboggling and truly rare nowadays.

This is a compilation of their early material, mainly their first decade of existence. This is not their first compilation because they have released some demo compilations in the past and a best of back in 2011 called ‘’Into the Fire / Kiss of Death’’. This compilation is from Listenable Records, so it might be just a rehashing of old songs on one CD but I don’t mind. I discovered this band early in the pandemic on a Music channel we have called Stingray Music and was really impressed by their sound and never heard of them before that honestly.

SATAN are a unique blend of early Thrash Metal and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. It was uncommon back in 1983 (or in the early 80’s) to have a band with those types of influences infused together. Sean Taylor could rival a lot of drummers from back in the day with his intensity and drumming prowess. The twin attack of Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey is very reminiscent of the Glenn Tipton/KK Downing full fledged attack in the heyday of JUDAS PRIEST. I think HELLOWEEN was greatly influenced by them, especially on the first few albums, especially ‘’Walls of Jericho’’. You can definitely see that the German powerhouse incorporated elements from songs like ‘’Trial by Fire’’ and ‘’Break Free’’ to mold their sound.

Imitation is best and sincerest form of flattery and even though SATAN wasn’t able to reach the success of many of their counterparts, their influence is heard throughout the lands. The speed Metal elements are ever-present but the songs remain quite accessible and have that replay value about them. They may have been overlooked by many but they are on par talent wise with other stallworths like GRIM REAPER or CLOVEN HOOF. The best example of their enormous talent is ‘’The Ritual’’, a 4 and half minute instrumental riff-and-lead piece, showing off their particular sound, what they can offer to the masses. It’s extremely powerful and very anthemic to say the least. It’s an attention grabber and the listener fully understands what they are dealing with when they listen to this song.

Even the slower and sparser moments of the more accessible songs are fine by me and these songs are over 35 years old and have aged quite well, but obviously not nearly as much as early IRON MAIDEN or JUDAS PRIEST from that time period. The production is mediocre at times, drums and bass seem loss in the shuffle or even muffled at times but most of the time it does not affect the quality of the compilation at hand.

This is a great introduction to the band, to the unsung heroes of the genre. The guitars are sharp, the vocals are on point and it has that replay-ability that you don’t often have in the newer bands in the genre. It’s a perfect mix Speed Metal and NWOBHM and some absolutely kick-ass songs.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Kiss of Death
2. Heads Will Roll
3. Oppression
4. The Executioner
5. Into the Fire – Trial by Fire
6. Blades of Steel
7. No Turning Back
8. Break Free
9. Pull the Trigger
10. The Ritual
11. Key to Oblivion
12. Hear Evil See Evil Speak Evil
13. Fuck You
14. The Ice Man
Brian Ross – Vocals
Steve Ramsey – Guitars
Sean Taylor – Drums
Russ Tippins – Guitars
Graeme English – Bass
Record Label: Listenable Records


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