Satan’s Host - Pre-dating God, Part 1 - (9/10)
Published on January 17, 2015
Originally formed in 1977 by Patrick Evil, Satan’s Host is a Colorado-based metal band that, aside from a six year break between 1988 and 1994, has been steadily slogging away since their formation. In 1986 the band released the now-cult classic Metal From Hell, with the enigmatic Leviathan Thisiren (also known as Harry “The Tyrant” Conklin of Jag Panzer fame) at the helm, showcasing nine tracks of dark traditional power metal. When the band was reformed, years later sans Thisiren, they returned with more of a black/death metal sound, steering away from the traditional sound of the earlier material. After five full length albums between 2000 and 2009 with L.C.F. Elixir handling vocals, Thisiren returned to handle vocal duties. While many thought a return to Metal From Hell was imminent, the band turned heads with 2011’s By the Hands of the Devil, which combined the band’s later blackened sound with thrash riffing, traditional power metal and the soaring, acrobatic vocals of Thisiren. In 2013, the band, with the same lineup, dropped Virgin Sails, which continued the band’s blend of blackened power metal to largely favorable reviews.
January 2015 sees the release of two albums, Pre-dating God, Part 1 and Pre-dating God, Part 2, which, according to the band, are a set of albums encompassing the same concept. Both albums are available individually or as a package deal through Moribund Records. Pre-dating God, Part 1 showcases seven tracks and slightly over forty-one minutes of play time. The songs flow naturally between rollicking palm muting, mid-tempo plodding and balls out thrashing, with no forced transitions to be found. Satan’s Host certainly shows their strong chemistry, as everyone seems to be playing off of each other, with no members overshadowing another. Featuring Patrick Evil on guitar, Margar on bass, Evil Little Hobbit on drums and Thisiren on vocals, this is the longest tenured lineup in Satan’s Host history.
The music certainly continues in the vein of the band’s last two albums: an incredible blending of blistering double bass runs, fast paced trem picking, beefy power metal riffing and thrash-styled hooks. The album fires away from the start with “Hell’s Disciples” and “Embers of Will”, which both bring near blasting drums and rollicking rhythms alongside stellar lead guitar licks. Thisiren is in fine form with his signature soaring croon, even belting out some crazy falsettos. Though the album starts off with a few barn burners, the overall feel of Pre-dating God, Part 1 comes across as brooding and almost ethereal at times. The title track showcases this with its constant mid-paced crunch and “After the End” which starts off with melodic picking akin to ’80s hard rock, building into simmering saunter. Surprisingly, Thisiren brings a few section of deep, growled vocals, which may or may not have to do with a statement by L.C.F. Elixir in which he remarked that Thisiren couldn’t do harsh vocals.
The band finishes off the first portion of their double concept with a rendition of Grim Reaper’s classic “See You in Hell”, which has been a live staple of the band for some time now. Infusing their blackened touch into the classic track adds some venom, giving the song a harder edge. When combined with the soaring vocals of Thisiren, it manages to outshine the original. Pre-dating God, Part 1 is a well-balanced effort that sees Satan’s Host throwing on the brakes compared to previous efforts. That’s not to say there are moments of blistering blackened heavy metal, because it’s chock full of it, but the moody, tempered nature of the songwriting brings a rounded effort that highlights the amazing vocals of Thisiren. It’s not the fast furious album that Virgin Sails was, but it’s another fine offering from Satan’s Host, especially when combined with the second, slightly amped-up album, Pre-dating God, Part 2.