Satan - Cruel Magic

Satan Cruel Magic cover
Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
Cruel Magic or Cruel Fate? I wonder what it’s all about, as countless journalists along with fans, “re-discover” Satan, after mildly snubbing them for years, now that they’ve switched to a more prestigious label… then again to the heart of the avid heavy metal fan that never gave up on the Tyneside NWOBHM heroes, who felt elated at “Court in the Act”’s lineup returning countless years after its release (despite different iterations of the band having persevered over the years under the Pariah and Blind Fury monikers as well) the continuation of their legacy, with an a triumvirate of albums that the band has released in the past five years might have come as no surprise. The only surprise might have been how solid and to the point all three albums have been all adding to the bands catalog a plethora of well written of labyrinthine complexity speed numbers.
People complain that there’s no good music anymore, yet it’s the same people that will only buy vinyl and will only listen to the same half a dozen bands they feel strongly about. Younger kids, only care about what’s “new” today, with few giving a damn to look into the music’s roots, unless it involves some “major” band… I guess it’s the curse of “metal” becoming “dad rock” to the newer generation. Maybe a bit louder and darker, but still “dadrock”.
Dadrock or not, “Cruel Magic” rips! Despite, a damper, but more organic, clearer production, the essence of the music is undulated, NWOBHM inspired metal.
“Into the Mouth of Eternity” ponders the passage of time, with some pretty prog tinged changes and lighting fast and razorriffage and is finished, before you can even raise an eyebrow…
“Cruel Magic”, the title track, has a more rock ‘n roll riff about it, but it’s also heavy as an anvil, doomy also, with a foreboding subject that also seems to be like an allegory against nazism.
One of “The Doomsday Clock”’s riffs reminded me a bit of Pariah’s “Saboteurs”, but hey, it’s the same people behind both songs… also the contrast that the chorus has when compared with the verses make it stand out, without even trying.
“Legion’s Hellbound” is mindlessly speedinouss, as it stories the end times of the world, apocalyptic or otherwise. A good headbanger with a really nice melodic solo in the middle breaking up the monotony and a pretty cool chorus too.
“Ophidian” has a biting riff, that persists and is a whole heavier and hellish, almost nightmarish, with some nice harmonies “answering to the “Rise of Ophidian”….
“My Prophetic Soul” is fast as if hellhounds were on its tail and despite, some pretty cool vocal melodies and its nice riff, it’s one of my least favorite numbers on here.
“Death Knell for a King” fares much better, with its gauntlet sized riff dropping down repeatedly… and lyrics that while easily fit with the band’s “early” works, can also be interpreted as a veiled social comment against the powers that be.
“Who Among Us” has some interesting percussion, many prog leanings that not only are demonstrated by its thick performances and weird time but also by some Queen like vocal harmonies. While it’s not my favorite song from the album, it’s definitely a highlight and certainly adventurous.
“Ghosts of Monongah” looks into a mining tragedy that happened a hundred years ago in the States, from a romanticized, fictionalized perspective, infused with lots of melody in what ends up being a quite epic moment of the album.
And as the band seems to be into a very introspective mode overall “Mortality”, a more subdued – hypnotic eve number that sounds rather eastern flavored ponders our very existence.
While I still consider the predecessors of “Cruel Magic” to have a few better songs than it does, it seems to be slightly more consistent than they are and maybe a touch more melodic in places, a fact that doesn’t irk me at the least bit. Easily Recommended!