Satan: Life Sentence

NWOBHM legends make a glorious return from the abyss

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1983’s Court In The Act was a stellar gem from the dying days of NWOBHM by a powerful Geordie quintet boasting ex-Blitzkrieg and future Skyclad alumni. Thirty years on, Satan pick up where they left off, their lurid velocity gloriously intact, with more vibrant, bloodthirsty, archetypal black-leather HM.

It’s hard to overstate the momentousness of Life Sentence; the idea of a worthy successor to that cult classic debut was for decades the stuff of madmen’s dreams, yet here it is, wrapped in another beautiful ‘metal judge’ sleeve, with wild-but-tasteful soloing, ripping twin leads and Brian Ross’s deep, dark voice, as resonant and commanding as ever.

It’s the wrong place to look for new ideas, but piledriving opener Time To Die, mythological headbanger Incantations, the frantic, anthemic title track and beautifully structured closing mini-epic Another Universe distinguish themselves as worthy additions to the ever-expanding NWOBHM canon, the whole album an unpretentious masterclass gleefully wiping the floor with many bands half Satan’s age.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.