Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Satan's Host: Pre-Dating God, Parts 1 and 2 (2015)

Power Metal That’s Not a Joke

Power metal is a joke. If you’re American, you’re probably going to agree with me there, and I’m guessing there are a whole lot of extreme metal fans around the globe that feel the same way. But then, there are exceptions to that rule.

Satan’s Host is exceptional. A few years ago they blew my mind with their blackened power metal, and now they’re back to do it again. There’s never been anything wrong with high-energy performances, soaring guitar solos, and dramatic clean singing. Never. What’s wrong with the rest of power metal is the cheese factor, and maybe even the particular feel-good metal vibe. Satan’s Host is not about to make a feel-good song, and it’s clearly non-dairy.

So, here we have two albums that could have been a double-album. I didn’t pay enough attention to the lyrics or promo material to tell you whether it’s a concept album or not, but at least the title track is built around a flimsy, laughable premise. But the key is, it’s dark. It sets the right mood for the music to follow.

Throughout, the band is running at high velocity. Powerful heavy metal riffs are punctuated by high-speed solos and magnificent vocal work. To me, every ingredient is essential, but the vocals are the standout feature. High, powerful, with just the right amount of falsetto screaming to appeal to the King Diamond fanbase. (If you’re not a King Diamond fan, then I can’t tell you whether you’ll hate this because of the falsettos. In fact, I’m not even sure we can be friends.)

The formula is the same as last time, and there’s no reason to change it now—particularly when no one else is doing it at nearly the same level. The mix is a bit louder this time around, but not overblown. The only real distinction I can draw is that it’s not quite the revelation it was before, and perhaps the writing isn’t quite up to the same level. But it’s fantastic nonetheless.

The Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars