Legendary NWOBHM act Satan have a long and storied career that is filled with personnel changes, band name changes, and long periods of inactivity, but since their 2011 reunion they've released two excellent, return to form albums, 2013s Life Sentence and now Atom By Atom. Since their inception in 1979, this is ironically only their fourth studio album under the Satan moniker, though in various incarnations under the names Pariah and Blind Fury they do have four more. Listening to Atom By Atom, as was the case with Life Sentence, it's as if Satan hopped in a time machine back to 1983s excellent debut Court in the Act, as their frantic blend of classic and early speed metal has not changed one bit and is just as exciting as always.
For those unfamiliar with the band, Satan play a speedy, thrashy metal attack loaded with twin lead guitars and galloping rhythms, so if you are fan of early Iron Maiden, Saxon, and even Mercyful Fate, chances are you will find plenty to sink your teeth into with this band. "Farewell Evolution" and "Fallen Saviour" kicks things off here in blistering fashion, two rampaging metal anthems chock full of weaving dual guitars, high pitched vocals, and thunderous drum work. Vocalist Brian Ross soars over the top of crunchy riffs and twin guitar harmonies courtesy of Steve Ramsey & Russ Tippins on the furious "Rumination", while the complex arrangements of "The Devil's Infantry" bring to mind some of the best of the early thrash scene. The title track is more of a mid-paced thumper, complete with a catchy hook, and swirling twin guitar licks permeate other killer tracks such as "In Contempt", "My Own God", and "Bound in Enmity", the latter of which almost reminds of early Helloween. Favorite track though might just be the crushing "Ahriman", a tune with a memorable chorus and some of the heaviest, epic sounding riffs on the album. The band saves their lengthy prog-metal masterpiece for last with the near 7-minute "The Fall of Persephone", a twisting, turning, weaving gem featuring moments of dark atmosphere, furious thrash, complex prog, and a whole lot more.
Possibly the best kept secret of the last few years, Satan have another masterpiece on their hands with Atom By Atom, and I think it's about time that the metal world at large finally gives this band their due, because they're here to stay, and we're all the better for it.
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1. Farewell Evolution
2. Fallen Saviour
4. The Devil's Infantry
5. Atom By Atom
6. In Contempt
7. My Own God
9. Bound In Enmity
10.The Fall Of Persephone