It is undeniable that the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” (NWOBHM) movement was one of the most important musical movements in history. Spawning bands such as Judas Priest, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motörhead and Def Leppard, the wave has still left its mark in the music industry today, with legends Judas Priest and Iron Maiden (among others) still playing sold out arena’s around the globe after 50 years. The movement spawned thousands of heavy metal bands, including English Heavy Metal icons Satan, reuniting in 2011 with the Court in the Act lineup and taking the world by storm.
Spawning from Newcastle, England, the English Heavy Metal Band have gone through numerous lineup changes and even numerous name changes, starting off as Satan, changing to Blind Fury, then to Pariah, and back to Satan. Gets confusing, right? But that’s okay, Satan has been a classic for almost 2 generations and STILL continuing to work as hard as they can after almost 40 years since the inception of the Heavy Metal Icons.
Beginning with the opening track to Cruel Magic, “Into the Mouth of Eternity,” Straight from the get go, the band waste no time in delivering a thrashy, old-school heavy riff overdose, with guitarists Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey joining together with bassist Graeme English and drummer Sean Taylor to fuel the energy and excitement that is to come with the rest of the band’s 9th studio album. After the rush of the introduction of the album, vocalist Brian Ross joins in with the instrumental quartet, reminding the fans that he is here to stay, while giving proving to everyone that the style of vocals made famous by Rob Halford and Ronnie James Dio in Heavy Metal is still alive an well.
Continuing on, the first single of ‘Cruel Magic’, “The Doomsday Clock”, gives the listeners an overview and a foreshadowing of what’s to come with the upcoming album. Beginning with an eerie acoustic performance by Tippins and Ramsey, the guitarists, English and Taylor throw the listeners into a barricade of thrashing riffs, insane bass playing and old-school thrash beats. With Taylor holding down a fast paced, mid-tempo beat throughout the track, vocalist Ross comes in, powerful as ever, with a melody that will remind listeners of Satan from the Court in the Act era, mixed with melodies and power reminiscent of Bruce Dickinson.
What I always look for, especially in NWOBHM bands, is the ballad. The “Fade to Black”, the “A Tout Le Monde”, the “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, if you will. Thankfully, the NWOBHM band provide a beautifully dark offering, “Who Among Us”. Beginning with a clean-channelled guitar and Ross’ powerful vocals exclaiming melodically, “they called him a demon”, it’ll set you into a dreamy trance, painting an image about an outcast rejected by his people and beaten down. This particular track off of Satan’s 9th studio release stands out the most to me because of the vocal delivery of Ross, the wild riffs and guitar playing from Tippins and Ramsey, and the ability to write a song that allow an individual listening to draw their own story and create their own interpretation of the song, if you will.
Although Cruel Magic isn’t the most innovative album the band has written, old fans of Satan and fans of old-school Heavy Metal can rejoice in a well-written, exciting rollercoaster that will take you back in time and remind you why Satan are one of the best at what they do. If you’re a fan of old-school heavy metal, superb riffs and feel like reminiscing about Dio’s vocals, pre-order this album straight away!
Pre-order your copy of ‘Cruel Magic’ out September 7th via Metal Blade, HERE!