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Satan's Wrath - Die Evil


by Matt Hensch

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It was among the tepid, flavorless pool of thrash bands pretending to be Slayer or whatever while ruining their sounds with synthetic, ultra-shoddy production that Satan's Wrath made a noteworthy splash. The band's first few records, "Galloping Blasphemy" and "Aeons of Satan's Reign," took classic black/thrash metal and cooked up wild cuts of metallic mayhem in the vein of Possessed, Venom, Desaster, Slayer when Slayer didn't suck, and so forth. "Die Evil" sort of rubs me the wrong way in its execution, as it is a noticeable step back in terms of quality and style. Not to imply Satan's Wrath has lost its touch, but "Die Evil" feels like a downsizing of what the group originally brewed up with a love for archetypal thrash and just a pinch of blasphemy.

"Die Evil" stylistically does the black/thrash metal thing with the vehemence of Satan's Wrath's other records, as expected; no issue there. There are variances, though subtle, within the Satan's Wrath dynamic that pop up throughout "Die Evil" in wavering degrees. The nine songs do an in-and-out routine of blazing thrash riffs held up by fast percussion and a natural inclination towards pandemonium, running for three minutes or so each. This is a departure from the protracted anthems of "Aeons of Satan's Reign" and "Galloping Blasphemy," which were loaded up with multiple ballistic riffs and admirable tempo shifts. The structure here is dialed back and reaches for a style that reminds me of what Slayer did on "Reign in Blood," with a few riffs per track and nothing more-bang, bang, hnnng, here's some cab fare.

Simplifying the plan of attack trims back on the NWOBHM influences and the other musical homages, the cost of which is evident. Mid-tempo parts, sequences Satan's Wrath had no problem implementing on older albums, are cut down to a handful of moments, and the riff work feels a little too straightforward and predictable. There certainly isn't anything rivaling the nerve of the nine-minute title track of "Aeons of Satan's Reign" or many of that record's detailed, chaotic thrashers; instead, just thrash songs. These riffs are actually pretty damn awesome, but it is the execution in which they are presented that makes "Die Evil" shuffle back to the shadows, while the other Satan's Wrath outings proved to have lasting potential. Long story short, a bit of a letdown.

Tas shrieks and growls like a mad dog, though that was to be expected given his performance on the other Satan's Wrath records. The problem here stems from the songs on the first two albums having a lot of variety despite sticking to the same routines, whereas "Die Evil" takes a simpler route, but at the price of having a diminished knack for pumping out mid-tempo parts, trimmed NWOBHM influences, and a less-appealing songwriting template. The design of the group remains unchanged, and it is that raw tenacity boiling from within that saves "Die Evil" from sinking to the level of thrash's mediocre and pedestrian norm. A little more substance than the average thrash record, yet too close to par for the course for my liking.

Satan's Wrath - Die Evil
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