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Satan’s Empire: Rising

Maybe more than any other musical movement, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was littered with bands who seemed to have it all, but somehow never really got started. Many of these outfits, such as Hell, achieved almost mythical status and, with new found interest coming their way via the internet, have been cajoled back into action. In the case of Dundee formed, but London based Satan’s Empire, it was a track on the Neat Records compilation Lead Weight that brought the band a long held cult status. Although the much lauded “Soldiers Of War” would be their only serious contribution, before they became no more. A couple of the guys moved on to VHF, but they too never lasted and the Satan’s Empire story pretty much came to a close.

Doubtless you’ll have worked out that our story doesn’t end there however, because more than three decades after their disappearance, Satan’s Empire are back and finally releasing their debut album Rising. Impressively, four of the ‘London version’ of the band also return, vocalist Derek Lyon, bassist Wayne Hudson and the twin guitar assault of Paul Lewis and Sandy McRitchie back for a second bite at the metal cherry. Joining them for Rising is ‘Magpie’ (Gary Bowler), a drummer who’s spent time with early Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton, one-time Ozzy fretman Bernie Tormé and Hawkwind member Alan Davey. Having also recorded demos with Motorhead around the time of the March Or Die album, you know he’s no slouch.

The first thing fans of the band will want to know is, is “Soldier Of Fortune” in its rightful place? The answer thankfully being yes! And not only does this track make you immediately understand why there has long been clamour for more material from this band, it also sets the tone for Rising itself. Unlike many outfits who return after such a lengthy hiatus, Satan’s Empire are playing to their strengths, with all ten tracks on this album (some old, some new) landing squarely in the NWOBHM world. In fact, if you’re wondering exactly what would make up the Rising hoard of Satan’s Empire, then let’s just say it’s inhabited by a mighty bunch of Saxons! Seriously, if you close your eyes, you could easily believe that this album is an unearthing of a selection of previously unheard Saxon recordings. Lyon has a certain Biffness about him and the twin barrelled assault from Lewis and McRitchie has denim and leather written right through it. Although the shout of ‘riders on the road to hell’ as motorbike engines roar in the intro to “On The Road To Hell” is maybe just a step too close to Saxon’s “Motorcycle Man” for comfort…

From the clipped riffs and rollicking bass work of “Slaves Of Satan”, to the mid-paced thunder of “Dragon Slayer”, via the galloping “Politician”, the foot is stamped hard to the floor as the riffs are kept tight and, with a few exceptions, the vocals bite in hard. ‘Magpie’ is a mighty force behind the kit and he’s matched every step of the way by Hudson who is Harris-esque in his bass guitar machine gunning. In truth, the comparison between Rising and any number of early Saxon albums may just be a little too close to mark this release out as something truly special. However, if the NWOBHM, and especially Biff and the boys, hold a strong place in your heart, you won’t want to miss out on this brand new piece of vintage metal.

Track Listing
1. Slaves Of Satan
2. Shout It Out (Hail!)
3. Satan's Empire
4. Soldiers Of War
5. Dragonslayer
6. Come Back
7. On The Road To Hell
8. Lucifer
9. Politician
10. Suicide Man

Added: June 18th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Satan's Empire on Facebook
Hits: 1847
Language: english

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Satan’s Empire: Rising
Posted by Tankard on 2019-01-21 15:09:29
My Score:

Just a minor correction. In the third paragraph a song called "Soldiers of Fortune" is mentioned. I believe the song to be referred to is "Soldiers of War".

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