Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Satan's Host: Virgin Sails (2013)

Infinite Impossibilities

Review by Metallattorney. He is the law.

I love Satan's Host. I have made absolutely no secret of that over the years. Their last full-length of original material nabbed the top spot on my end of the year best albums list. I even enjoyed a lot of their black metal material when their Satanic lyrics and image were overwhelming. Of course even though Patrick Evil's stunning guitar work was the star attraction, as it has always been throughout the band's history. Their blackened power metal style of their last album is still my favorite. So I was pretty excited when Satan's Host released a new album.

This is the long-running evil Colorado band's second album since Leviathan Thisiren, aka Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer, returned to the band for the first time since their 1987 EP. His return had brought back a clean vocal style instead of the blackened rasp of former vocalist L.C.F. Elixir. This change in vocal style brought a significant amount of attention back to the band, even though their black metal material was actually pretty strong.

This album is a continuation of the blackened power metal sound that reared its head on Satan's Host's last album. There is still definitely some black/death metal style riffing that can be heard on occasion, hearkening back to the band's older material before the return of Conklin. Every once in awhile, I expected a song similar to their re-recorded album. But the band would quickly return to the more traditional metal style in both riffs and vocals.

Of course the real stars on this album, as with the last album, are guitarist Patrick Evil and Conklin. Evil's songwriting and riffs continue to be top-notch. He is definitely at the top of his game, even in his 50's. He does a terrific job of combining traditional-sounding riffs with much heavier blackened-death riffing style. What results is an album that is powerful and yet extremely dark. He also throws in some impressive solos.

Conklin's voice is as strong as it has ever been. His soaring wails and harsher backup vocals during call-and-response moments truly drive this album. Conklin is easily one of the more underrated vocalists in metal as his work in Jag Panzer and on this album can attest. Even more impressive is the fact that this is likely his best work.

Satan's Host has definitely continued their excellent string of albums. The only knock is that this album does not have one truly standout track on it. It does not have a "Fallen Angel" like the last one did. But it is an overall excellent release.

I give this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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