Release Date: May 3, 2011
When I saw the newest effort by Denver’s Satan’s Host come across my desk, it immediately caught my interest. I’ll admit – initially it was simply because of the name of the band. But as I dug a little deeper and started listening, I realized that By The Hands of the Devil, which is the band’s seventh full length album had much more to offer than just a cool and evil sounding name.
Production is crisp and clear on this album. Satan’s Host features a veteran group of members, led by mainstay guitarist and founder Patrick Evil. Returning to the lineup after a stint in Titan Force is vocalist founding member Harry “Leviathan Thisiren” Conklin (Jag Panzer) and drummer Evil Hobbit. Says Evil of the reunited founders: “I felt that me and Harry had some unfinished business from before, and how things have progressed lately I felt now was the best time to go ahead and take this to a whole new level.”
At the production helm is long time producer Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Allegaeon) who has produced most of the band’s work. Immediately noticeable, and a reminder that this used to be a power metal band, is Conklin’s shrill vocals, with his amazing range taking front and center on this record. In counterpoint, Patrick Evil’s guitar-work is reminiscent of Scandinavian black metal, featuring the fast-hand black metal style common to that genre. Hobbit’s drums contain a healthy dose of blast beating, and are perfectly synced with the low-end rumble of Margar’s four string.
Of the ten tracks on By The Hands of the Devil, only two clock in at under five minutes. The band kicks off this latest effort with the title track, a galloping piece that showcases Conklin’s vocal talents backed by a flurry of double kick-drumming and speedy riffing.
The pace slows down considerably for “Shades of the Unlight” and “Demontia”, before leaping back into the blistering eight-minute-plus “Before The Flame”. This track is the centerpiece of the album – if there’s one track that sums up what Satan’s Host is about musically, this is definitely it.
Listen to “Before The Flame”:
We once again get a chance to catch our breath with a shorter piece entitled “Bleeding Hearts of the Damned”. This could be considered the weakest track on the album; it is slightly repetitive and doesn’t add much to the album as a whole.
If listeners are looking for the blacker side of the band, they will find it in the sixth track on the album, a piece entitled “Black Hilted Knife”. This is slated to become the album’s single. It is by far one of the heaviest tracks on the album, and once again shows off Patrick Evil’s black metal style guitar-work.
Interestingly enough, the album closes with a Beatles cover, which one may think might not fit in on a record such as this, but amazingly enough it does. The band makes the classic “Norwegian Wood” their own, and this is what I consider to be one of the highlights on this album.
By The Hands of the Devil combines the majesty of power metal with the evil, raw presence of European black metal. Therefore, it will fit into the collections of a wide variety of fans. This album will appeal to fans of anything from Emperor, to Cellador. Once again, Satan’s Host has done an admirable job of living up to their reputation as the bringers of “Metal From Hell”.
Notable Tracks – Norwegian Wood, Black Hilted Knife, Before the Flame