Satan ‘Cruel Magic’
Album Review By Adam McCann
Metal Blade Records – 2018 – Heavy Metal/NWOBHM
It has been a busy year for Brian Ross, after releasing the excellent ‘Judge Not!’ with Blitzkrieg earlier in the year, Ross was back later with Satan and ‘Cruel Magic’, the follow up to the bands absolutely stunning 2015 album ‘Atom By Atom’. The fact that ‘Judge Not!’ was so good ultimately cast a shadow upon the release of ‘Cruel Magic’; had Ross spread himself too thin?
The answer? Of course not, ‘Cruel Magic’ continues Satan’s string of strong, traditional heavy metal done in the way it should be since the band returned to the fold in 2011 and picks up almost seemingly from the previous album. However, initially, ‘Cruel Magic’ does not have that instant pull factor which ‘Atom By Atom’ has, but what this album does, is work hard, but after a few plays, ‘Cruel Magic’ is certainly one of the missing pieces of the year. Produced in the same place as its predecessor, unlike the previous album the drums and bass are not overly dominant leading this album to be much slicker and thus more enjoyable.
With ‘Cruel Magic’, Satan have not changed their formula, why fix what isn’t broke? and because of this, tracks such as the excellent ‘Death Knell For A King’, the standout apocalyptic single ‘The Doomsday Clock’ and the title track which contains some of the finest twin guitar playing in traditional metal this side of Seven Sisters.
Satan have once more managed to outdo themselves with an album of superb songs. ‘Cruel Magic’ is not only enjoyable, but almost demands an instant replay as Brian Ross shows once again that he is one of heavy metal’s unsung heroes with an album that may just creep its way into lists for album of the year.
Rating : 92/100
MHF Magazine/Adam McCann