Released: 2014, Blood Harvest
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
I got legit excited for a moment when I saw the name Satanic Ripper come through my inbox. FINALLY, Ripper Owens is crossing over into black metal, it’s such a totally natural fit! I mean, he’s already got a closet full of leather and spikes, and how adorable would he look covered in corpsepaint? But as fate would have it, Satanic Ripper is actually a Chilean blackened thrash outfit and their 2014 debut SOUTHERN BLACK SPELLS is getting a vinyl reissue through the folks at Blood Harvest.
As far as the whole blackened thrash movement goes, Satanic Ripper are pretty run of the mill, paint-by-numbers. Not a knock, but there’s not much to differentiate what they’re doing versus a zillion other like-minded scene bands (think Sarcofago playing Hellhammer covers, but with less charm). A lot of SOUTHERN BLACK SPELLS gets lost in a wash of rough production and overused riffs, but songs like “Chalice, Altar, Spell”, “Walking With Evil Spirits”, and “Blood Magick” offer enough character to stand apart from the other eight tracks on the album.
But the most interesting part of Satanic Ripper is their updated album cover; “updated” meaning that it still features an awkward band photo on the cover, but just a different awkward band photo. Why are they lighting candles when it’s so bright outside? How come some of the guys have to wear cloaks and hoods while the dude in the middle gets to chill in a sleeveless t-shirt? And why is the kid from drama club with the bowl haircut featured so prominently in the front? You can ponder these questions for yourself when SOUTHERN BLACK SPELLS releases later in June.