Satan's Host

Satanic Grimoire: A Greater Black Magick

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Originally a Jag Panzer side project, Satan's Host are essentially a skilled Venom. This Colorado band's satanic schtick is so over the top that it's hard not to laugh. Its fifth full-length features ponderous spoken word interludes, pentagrams all over the place, and song titles like "Incantations Vibrating from Shadow Demons." Such kitsch is a shame, as it masks melodic blackened death metal that's quite competent, if undistinguished. (Imagine Slayer if they had kept their ridiculous makeup and never hooked up with Rick Rubin.) "Necromantic Art" and "Satanic Grimoire" build big neo-classical harmonies, while "My Will, My Law: Evil" (har!) unleashes furious black metal blastbeats. "Metal from Hell" offers satisfyingly straightforward melodic metal; its refrain is both stirring and goofy. Guitars fire in precise lockstep with percussion, but the oh-so-evil growls and rasps are mostly risible. The Beelzebub blather gets tedious, and the record is too long, but at least it's wrapped in strong, clear production.

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