Reviewed: May 2022
Released: 2022, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Kat Knite
The sixth full-length album from Satan, Earth Infernal, rears its hellish head for all to revere this Spring. “Razor-sharp, intelligent, and passionate heavy metal of the highest order” according to Last Rites, this record is nothing short of a work of art. Only NWOBHM legends Satan could birth the heavy metal mania which encompasses each track. Innovators in the genre throughout the 80s, these guys brought their spirits back together in 2011, and now continue to thrive by the high standards they set all those years ago, all while keeping up with the complexity of the times. Guitarist Russ Tippins comments on the subject matter of the album,
“For two years the world has been preoccupied with politics and pandemics and while we were all looking the other way our planet has continued to get hotter/Our Earth is now infernally hot. Almost irreversibly so. We are on a one-way trip to Hell and dragging our children along with us. Yes, SATAN has something to say about global warming.”
While 2018’s Cruel Magic was a “game changer” for the band in terms of progress within their sound, Earth Infernal is a fresh twist on the already solidified wizardry of the group. Experimenting with various musical elements, SATAN maintain classic moments such as their twin harmonies, while playing around with dual leads in unison to create a varied sound. There is no shortage of interesting turns on the album, yet from track to track it as as cohesive as they come. Each moment is thought and felt through from beginning to end, with no song left unfinished, highlighted by fantastic rhythmic switch-ups which feel both on-brand and contemporary, and an old school late 70s production that will make you want to pack up and take to the desert road.
‘Ascendancy’ rapidly rises in heat as it welcomes us to the world of Earth Infernal, with a touch of 80s thrash and a tonne of shred to set the tone. Even more badass is ‘Burning Portrait’, keeping on with the shreddy lead, arranged in a very DIO feel. Brian Ross truly begins to show his vocal range on this one, the enveloping tone and quality of his voice growing more impressive by the note. Powerful and suspenseful to start, ‘Twelve Infernal Lords’ switches up the game ever so slightly, before breaking into a thrashy punk vibe, brimming with that dive bar energy we all need once in a while – but Satan would never let a song be only one thing. Patterns in the chorus are reminiscent of an earlier Deep Purple, and while I was already set up for something epic as I read the title of the song, as I grew to understand the musicianship and overall intoxicating energy of the track, I started to feel those dark flames lick my body.
As I start to get deeper into the record, I am thrilled to be receiving the opposite of the dreaded monotony (a top album killer if you ask me). ‘Mercury’s Shadow’ is an instrumental track which begins with a beautiful acoustic melody with a deeply haunting flavour – but do not be fooled, because before you know it Satan come in to rip the skin off their own song, blasting fire over a hell that seemed to start getting ice around the corners. Percussive drums and twin leads on ‘A Sorrow Unspent’ give the track a slightly tropical feel – leather clad & long haired illusions in a humid and dreamlike jungle. Maintaining the mystery is ‘Luciferic’, with a certain cool suspense and a subtle build, before ‘From Second Sight’ pours into the engine like motorcycle fuel – a highway anthem for the wicked, a rockheads dream. Ominous, fast-paced, and heavily doused in lead guitar mayhem, ‘The Blood Ran Deep’ (for which you can see the video below!!!) is a hit track from the get-go. As I make my way on to the last track of Earth Infernal, I truly see how skillfully the album was created. ‘Earth We Bequeath’ is a glorious finale to this red-hot record. All of SATAN‘s build-ups are different but equally intriguing, this one pulling me in with the addictive tempo of the song, Ross showing off his spice and ease of transition between lows and high screams. Whether or not you grew up in the 80s, or on this type of music, SATAN‘s Earth Infernal has the power to bring you to that dimension in a way you cannot help but feel thoroughly.
Dear metalhead, don’t dare be the one who misses out – get the album HERE.
• Special Edition LP housed in a slipcase (w/ hot foil embossing) incl. slipmat, patch and huge die-cut sticker (EU excl.)
• firefly glow marbled (US excl.)
• 180g black vinyl (EU excl.)
• light yellow marbled vinyl (EU excl., ltd. 700)
• orange red brown marbled vinyl (EU excl., ltd. 500)
• copper brown marbled vinyl (EU excl., ltd. 300)
• ochre brown marbled vinyl (EU excl., ltd. 200)
• clear slate grey marbled vinyl (Metal Blade Shop excl., ltd. 200)
• dark goldenrod marbled vinyl (Bandcamp excl., ltd. 200)
2. Burning Portrait
3. Twelve Infernal Lords
4. Mercury’s Shadow
5. A Sorrow Unspent
7. From Second Sight
8. Poison Elegy
9. The Blood Ran Deep
10. Earth We Bequeath