Review: Satan’s Satyrs – 'Don’t Deliver Us'

Dude, this is like proper rad. Like, knee down man, awesome. Satan’s Satyrs brah, straight up, all riffs man, these are dudes brah, no way.

*ahem*

Do you like Ouija boards? Moustaches? Leather vests, worn without an accompanying shirt? This is the band for you. Alarmingly young for what they’ve accomplished here, Herndon, Virginia’s Satan’s Satyrs are the past, and all the more remarkable for their period correctness (incredible press photos). It would be churlish to point out to anyone nearby that this is a record from the present day, so entrenched is it in a time of easy riding, Mary Quant-sporting chicks and axes slung so low they are at the core of the earth, so I’m not going to do that. What I am going to do is explain what a curious experience this was for me, and why.

Signed to Bad Omen records, home to bands for whom 2015 is the age of interstellar travel and beings from other worlds, the Satyrs are now on record number 4, gently evolving from almost indecipherable garage blasting, to this comparatively genteel record, ‘Don’t Deliver Us’. Previous efforts such as the utterly uncontrollable ‘Wild Beyond Belief!’ and the extra-bratty ‘Black Souls’ show a band fully committed to the cause of drinking, demons, and dames, from the artwork through the production, and every second of the bust-knuckle sounds.

This is a good thing. It’s wonderful to hear a band from the latter day digging Blue Cheer, Pentagram, Trouble, and the old guard, even going as far as making their entire 2013 Roadburn Festival set covers of the Cheer. This would be nothing but a curio though, if the record wasn’t ace on its own.

I did say that this was a curious experience, and that is because on first listen, I couldn’t get on with this. The vocals were agony, everything was a mess, and it seemed like a lost cause. I’m now a solid 5 listens in, and I’m down with it. Once I clocked the Blue Cheer reference, everything made sense, even though there are flashes of Church Of Misery on instrumental ‘Spooky Nuisance’, and ‘Germanium Bomb’s’ initial riffs screamed Scissorfight at me. This isn’t an homage to the riff kings of the past, this is absolute, heartfelt reverence, and for a band barely into their 20’s to have this level of knowledge – not just of the period but of the tones required – is tremendous.

The guitar work of Clayton Burgess is the cornerstone. A burnt, ancient tree of a sound, managing the stunning act of sounding constantly exploding, but still controlled, and made me think of what Witchcraft might have become if they chopped in their kaftans for whiskey and knives. The production is perfect, a rollicking, uncaged howl of expertly-crafted, surprisingly nuanced, doom worship… back when doom meant Doom.

Tracks like the head-down Two Hands’ turned my trousers into flares, and the suddenly agile ‘Creepy Teens’ is just the business, with tiny flecks of early Alice Cooper, the superbly robust bass sound gluing everything together. The bass on records of this nature has always suffered to my ears, becoming either an elephantine morass, or a piss-weak skeleton, but this is dead on, and this awareness of sound means that the sections where Burgess wigs out don’t need the dreaded non-existent-live second guitar, the wonderful interplay between bass and guitar so crucial in a power trio being preserved like the thing in that guys’ cane in Jurassic Park.

Truth be told, for all the blown out fuzz, mammoth drum sound and wiry, creepy vocals, this is a very, very well written album, that knows exactly what it is, and loves itself for being such a dude. Boss heavy, and well worth investing in, ‘Don’t Deliver Us’ is, like, spiritual. Dude.

Review: John Davidson

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