Satan’s Host - Virgin Sails [Moribund - 2013]Formed back in 1977, Satan’s Host is no stranger to enthusiasts of classic heavy metal. Although still classic in the Iron Maiden sense, they have also added (what they describe) a “blackened/power metal” sound.Virgin Sails is the bands 8th full length release, and if we are to judge by listening we can absolutely concur with their genre branding style.
The band is headed by Patrick Evil, guitarist and founding member; Harry Conklin on vocals, Margar bass and Evil Little Hobbit on drums (I’m sure that name is supposed to strike fear but just typing it makes you smile).
That Satan’s Host is populated by very talented musicians is a no brainer. Every song is punctuated by solid drumming, Steve Harris-like thundering bass and intricate guitar work. Vocals standout too with a mix of classic heavy metal (ala Iron Maiden/ early Fates Warning) combined with guttural death metal vocals.
Now onto the actual music, found herein Virgin Sails is a mix of mid temp doom tinged pieces as on the title song “Virgin Sails” and “Cor Malifecus” and intricate time changes and riff heaviness on “Island of the Giant Ants” and “Infinite Impossibilities”.
Songs like “Vaporous of the Blood” is a fantastic brew of clean and death metal vocals and outstanding guitar work. This combined with the crushingly intense “Dichotomy” are probably the two most unforgettable songs on Virgin Sails. Two instrumentals “Akoman” and “Taromati” deserve mention for being incredibly short, but within those few minutes are a teaser of melody and atmosphere that are sometimes missing on the other tracks. That’s not to say they’re not played flawlessly, it’s only to say they’re not as memorable.
All in all an impressive creation from Satan’s Host, it will be interesting to see the band perform these songs live; if not only to witness the dexterity of time changes but the vocal prowess to switch from clean to guttural singing. A band with as much talent as Satan’s Host should conquer all naysayers.Viktorya Kaufholz