Satan’s Host - Pre-Dating God Part I & II [Moribund Records - 2015]Satan’s Host returns once again to deliver a duo of cd’s aptly titled Pre-Dating God Part I and II. The band have been around since 1986, creating classic metal with flourishes (depending on who is in the band at the time) of blackened death and doom metal. The lineup this time consists of long time member Patrick Evil on guitars, Leviathan Thisiren (also known as Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer) on vocals, Anthony “Evil Hobbit” Lopez on drums and Margar on bass.
Part I begins with “Hell’s Disciples” a blistering bit of classic metal influenced by Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate with a dash of 80’s thrash metal, good but a shade repetitive. Onward to “Embers of Will”, more of the same really and not so memorable either. “Valley of Blood” amps things with a slow doom grove that’s infectious, so heavy and so catchy. The vocals are wonderful too, heavy on the King Diamond inspiration, but mixes things up with some excellent deep vocals. “Pre-Dating God doesn’t really inspire, if anything it felt a bit too long, and again heavy with Maiden-ish song structure. Now “Greed, Lust, Hate, War” is fantastic; what a beast of a song. Slow tempos combined (again the comparisons but you can’t disengage from them) King Diamond-esque vocals. A first rate guitar solo punctuates the song with an eerie and heavy atmosphere. Happily “After The End” comes up next, sounding like the official ballad here. A nice acoustic beginning unites with minor chords and a blistering solo. Satan’s Host chose to end Part I with a cover of Grim Reapers “See You in Hell” Now as far as covers go they fall into three categories; perfect, but no different than the original, awful and a waste of recording space or slightly different and wonderful. Luckily Satan’s Host took the third choice and creating a fantastic tribute to a song most heavy, but adding a bit of speed and their operatic/deep vocals. Most of the original songs here are mid to slow tempo, which while heavy gets slightly monotonous. Vocals are well done, to my ears it was a noble mixture of King Diamond, Russ Anderson (Forbidden) and Bruce Dickenson.
If Pre-Dating God Part I was an appetizer, Part II is definetly the main course. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, Part II comes off as stronger and imposing. “Fanning The Flames of Hell” starts off where Part I left off, melodic with flawless guitar work and steady drumming. “Soul Wrent”, features those fantastic vocals again mixing between high and low range floating over and above a slow tempo riff. “Lady n’ The Snake” is heavy and perfect all around, with some truly bombastic drumming to sweeten the experience. “”As The Dead, They Sleep” is the game changer, adding a bit of Candlemass to their tribute to all things metal. Achingly slow riffs, double bass drums sprinkled with black metal rhythms are balanced out with raspy vocals and operatic ranges. “Descending In The Shadow of Osiris” is (yet again) a Maiden-ish affair. The bass is somewhat buried here, but great guitar work and drums timed perfectly save the day. Things are going along swimmingly until the last song “Reprise-Pre-Dating god”. While not bad it’s the exact same as it is on Part I with a different (muddier) mix; nothing inspiring and a bit of a dud actually to end a perfectly good album.
It wasn’t so long ago that Satan’s Host released Virgin Sails, while it was good it was nothing special (or at least nothing that really inspired). Here on Pre-Dating God Part I the band seem to rise to the occasion, delivering a heavy sound, good compositions and great performances. Things get a bit unmemorable here and there but all together a solid release. Part II packs more punch, time changes are lively, guitar solos are short but sweet and everything seems a shade more dynamic. After all is said and done this could have been a brilliant single cd release if those stand out songs on Part I were combined with the gems on Part II. Either way you almost feel like Satan’s Host was trying to create a tribute to their influences and on that note, it is a job well done.