Satan's Host - By The Hands of The Devil

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By The Hands of The Devil is Satan's Host's first new record since the 2009 return of founding vocalist and Jag Panzer front-man Harry Conklin, his first with the band since their 1986 debut Metal From Hell. Jag Panzer fans unfamiliar with Satan's Host's remit will be in for a surprise if they're hoping for more of the same from Conklin. His vocals are as strong and melodic as they've ever been with Panzer, but the music here is much harder and heavier, at times recalling Iced Earth, at others all-out thrash. On the more traditional-sounding tracks this works well, on others a similar mis-match in musical and vocal styles as occured on the Charred Walls of The Damned dominates. The title track gets unnecessarily fast while the vocal melodies remain reasonably slow, matching the original ominous riff, for example. Black Hilted Knife and Inferior Worlds are basically thrash tracks, and Conklin tries his best to match the style, but his voice just isn't suited to it (he does a terrific job on Inferior Worlds all the same). Nevertheless the album maintains a very coherent feel and pace throughout except for track eight, Fallen Angel, which adopts a completely different style and guitar sound to the rest of the album, and sounds like it could be a Dio cover with much higher vocals. The limited edition of the album also features a closer which is also a little out of place, being as it is a re-working of The Beatles' Norwegian Wood, complete with new lyrics about a burnt-down church and a distinctly Devin Townsend feel. It has its minor problems, but By The Hands of The Devil is a very solid pure metal release, and a very heavy one. It's possibly Satan's Host's best album for a while, and certainly a lot stronger than Jag Panzer's latest effort.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2011, Albums, Heavy Metal, Quick.Play Reviews,

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