The Great American Scapegoat 666
posted on 3/2008 By:
Satan's Host started out in the late 1970s as an “evil” power metal band, at the time featuring Jag Panzer's Harry Conklin on vocals (credited as "Leviathan Thisiren"). They released only one album, 1986's Metal From Hell, and then they split up, only to reform in the 1990s without Conklin and with a markedly heavier sound. I learned all of this in the last few weeks, as I struggled with how to adequately describe the intricacies, or lack thereof, of this band’s competent but not awe-inspiring Satanic metal. Despite two decades of listening and digging through the zines/record bins/internet for new bands—and despite this band having existed almost as long as I have—prior to the middle of last month, I’d never heard of them at all. So either I missed something, or nobody’s talking about them... I’m going with the latter, because it justifies my two decades of listening and digging, and also because… well, for the most part, they haven’t done anything particularly kick-ass.
How do I know that, in the context of this one album? Well, I read some reviews of earlier works, so it’s partly hearsay, I’ll admit. For the sake of empirical evidence, alongside this disc, I picked up the Moribund Cult re-issue of Burning The Born Again, with which I wasn't terribly impressed either. (Also not that impressed was former Metal Reviewer Ian Duncan-Brown, whose review of that record appeared here some years back.) I’ve been listening to a lot of blackened death lately, both for sport and for business, and there are better bands plying this sound than this particular one. (To be fair, there are worse bands, too, but I’m not listening to them unless I have to.)
The Great American Scapegoat 666 is neither good nor bad—it’s a decent listen for the price I paid for it, which was nothing. It's just that it’s pretty standard for the style. (For what it’s worth, it's better and blacker and thankfully shorter than Burning The Born Again.) Once you get past the goofy chanted “Satan, I invoke thee…” intro track, you’re immediately treated with one of the two best songs on the album, the icy blackness of “Ave Luciferi,” one of the few moments on hand that qualify as actual black metal. Were it only that the album kept this momentum, then this review would be different, but after that track, beginning with the following “Dragons – Darkness,” The Great American Scapegoat 666 slips into a rut of tremolo riffing, blastbeats, and some chugging groove, and it stays there. Even though I love all those components, Satan's Host just doesn’t come up with anything that really knocks me out. For a few moments, Scapegoat manages to escape the rut during “Pyromancy, The Art Of Fire,” and again in time for the final tracks, the instrumental “Infernal Victory” and the pounding “Throne Of Baphomet,” but as an album, this just isn’t a particularly compelling listen overall. It’s a bit too long and a bit too by-the-book. Also, the overwhelming Satanism is more than a little played out in 2008. In 1992, it would’ve been of interest, and ten years before that, it would’ve been downright dangerous, but in the wake of a thousand cartoonish purveyors, Satanic blasphemy just ain’t what it used to be…
Fans of Belphegor and the like could find something worthwhile in this, and despite a negative tone to the paragraphs above, I don’t hate any of it. I’d just have a hard time recommending it to you unless you already own every album by Goatwhore, Zyklon, Behemoth, Angelcorpse, and a (Satan’s) host of other such bands. And then, if you do own all those albums by all those bands, do you really need it?
Register to post comments.
By The Hands Of The Devil
5/3/2011 Satan's Host
Burning The Born Again... (A New Philosophy)