posted on 12/2012 By:
Greek duo Satan’s Wrath, featuring former Electric Wizard bassist Tas Danazoglou on vocals, drums and bass and guitarist Stamos K, has issued one of the most aptly named debuts in recent memory. Galloping Blasphemy is pretty much what you get with this record: Satan’s Wrath has combined a host of early Eighties sounds, from traditional metal and NWOBHM to thrash and first-wave black metal, and they've composed nine primarily up-tempo and frequently galloping tracks mostly about Satan.
Satan’s Wrath’s only audible link to more modern metal is Tas’s Nocturno Culto-esque gravely croak. Hearing these harsh vocals over Satan’s Wrath’s more traditional sounding material makes for an odd match, but Tas barks his blasphemy with enough conviction that, largely, it works. True, some of these songs might sound better with King Diamond on the mic, but that is more a credit to the band’s music than it is a knock on Tas’s vocals.
As one might guess from the aforementioned stylistic influences, Galloping Blasphemy is a diverse affair. Opener "Night of the Whip" is a multi-sectioned riff-fest very much in the Mercyful Fate vein. “Between Belial and Satan”, however, is a more straight-forward thrasher, somewhere between Kill ‘Em All and Seven Churches. The title track is an instrumental that recalls Di'Anno-era Iron Maiden tracks such as “Transylvania” and “Genghis Khan”, and “Death Possessed” combines Maiden-styled melodicism with the raw fury of early Bathory.
Though relatively fast songs dominate Galloping Blasphemy, Satan’s Wrath exhibits the same excellence of execution with slower-paced material. “Hail Tritone, Hail Lucifer”, six minutes of Mercyful Fate-meets-Candlemass, is, in fact, one of the best songs on the album. The track's bold and bruising chorus riff proves that compelling metal can still be made with a handful of power chords, and the interlude with its storm sound effects, synth harmonies (or is that a friggin’ xylophone?), and hammering rhythm provides the track with the perfect dramatic climax to set up Stamos’s solo ride-out.
As a one-man rhythm section, Tas’s performance is solid, but not flashy. His bass surfaces on occasion for some well-placed melodic runs, but primarily sticks to a supporting role. With heavy hands and feet, Tas holds down the grove on drums perfectly, but there is little in the way of embellishment. This is fine, however, because Stamos handles that part with a master’s touch. Stamos takes these songs composed of relatively simple riffs and makes them live and breathe. With a loose, freewheeling style that is more musical than technical, he injects harmonies and short licks at every turn, doing a remarkable one-man imitation of metal’s great guitar tandems and making his lead guitar an integral part of each song. And when Stamos cuts loose with a full-length solo, it often blends with the underlying riffs so well that it seems he is bending the whole song to his will.
Satan’s Wrath makes no real pretensions toward originality; the band wears its influences on its sleeve. But more than just capturing the sound of the early Eighties, Satan’s Wrath captures the spirit -- the glorious satanic majesty -- of some the greatest metal ever made, and that is what makes Galloping Blasphemy so goddamned good. This band is not just carrying a torch for Eighties metal -- they are dropping napalm.
Register to post comments.