Released: 2017, Inverse Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Combining the 70’s occult rock trappings of Blood Ceremony, the power of traditional Candlemass-styled doom metal and the bluesy, sexual undertones of early Danzig, Finland’s Sapata cast a powerful spell with their debut SATANIBATOR. It’s a unique combination of traditional influences that makes for a memorable listen, and yes, the album title reads like it’s jerking off the dark lord.
With a confident swagger that invokes the spirit of its namesake desert, “Gobi” opens the album as a declaration of intent; an epic, swooning riff sets a majestic tone and gives way to Saara Šamane’s powerful vocal introduction. Equal parts Leather Leone and Doro Pesch, she’s got a range that can run up and down the flagpole while rubbing some dirty funk on it at the same time. Guitarist Felix Voltti makes his mark as well, laying down some East Asian shred across the song’s coda. But just when you think you know what you’re getting into, “Styx” follows as a smoky delta blues jam, full of serpentine grooves and lyrical innuendo. Tonally the two songs are in complete contrast to each other, but there’s a dark undercurrent that ties everything together and makes it work.
“Ararat” whispers almost like a lullaby and is eerily similar to the traditional American folk song “In the Pines”, both of which are innocuous enough at face value, and both of which hint at graver consequences as they progress. “Sex Magic” is the standout track on the album and sounds like a direct response to “She Rides”; with deep rhythms, a sultry chorus and less than subtle intent, it’s like musical Viagra. Opting to go out strong, “Full Power” closes SATANIBATOR like a full throttled Diamond Head b-side; it's a sharp left turn from everything that's lead up to this point, but it rocks hard and that's all that really matters.
SATANIBATOR is a great record that plays to its strengths. Not your typical doom record by any stretch, Sapata upends the cauldron and creates something distinctly their own. Saturated with big hooks and a healthy amount of carnal energy, SATANIBATOR is basically everything that makes heavy metal AMAZING; loud guitars, powerful vocals and abundant sex appeal. This is what we all signed up for, right?