Satan: Life Sentence

NWOBHM legends make a glorious return from the abyss

TODO alt text

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.