Satan – Life Sentence Album Review
Growing up in a house where I had parents who weren’t so keen on me listening to heavy metal, I had to be careful of what I brought home to listen to. Certainly a band called Satan wasn’t going to do me any favors with mom, no matter that the band wasn’t “satanic” at all. I believe I had an unmarked dubbed tape version for years which got me through my teens.
Satan’s full length debut, Court in the Act, came out in 1983 and it didn’t grace my ears probably until about 1984 or 1985 after Metal Blade Records picked the album up for USA distribution. To be straightforwardly honest, Court in the Act is probably my favorite NWOBHM release ever, Iron Maiden’s back catalog notwithstanding. The album was perfect, mainly because of the clean vocal stylings of Brian Ross. Easily one of my favorite singers of all time. After Brian left, they followed up with 2 other releases, Into the Future and Suspended Sentence, and to be honest I thought they were terrible. Looking back, it was the new vocalist that killed it for me.
Court has remained in steady rotation for the last 25+ years and will continue to be. A year or so ago new came out that Satan was reuniting with the original lineup to record a new album. To say I was hesitant about hearing a new album by a band that hadn’t done anything in almost 30 years is an understatement. Typically reunion albums suck.
Satan’s 2013 release entitled Life Sentence, however, does not suck. Not in the least. To be truthful, this album is pretty stellar. I finally picked it up last week and have listened to it at least 4 times.
Ross’ vocals sound great and not over-produced or “fixed”. The album as a whole has a very raw sound. Very natural and a perfect followup to Court. Sure, Brian’s no spring chicken now and hitting those sweet high notes like he used to do isn’t really possible, but it doesn’t detract to a great vocal performance on Life Sentence.
The whole album just sounds like Satan should. Clean, powerful, melodic. True NWOBHM. The songs are catchy and memorable. I am quite pleasantly surprised as to how good the album is. Time to Die, Twenty Twenty Five, Tears of Blood and Another Universe are the standout tracks for me. If I had to pick a least favorite, it would be the title track, Life Sentence. Not a bad song by any means, but just didn’t grab my ear like the rest of the album.
That being said, if you’re even a minor fan of Court in the Act, get Life Sentence ASAP. You shall not be disappointed.
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