Satan's Host: Assault Of Evil... 666 [DVD]
I have to admit that Assault Of Evil... 666 is my first encounter with US black metal outfit Satan's Host and on the evidence of this DVD; I have to say that it will definitely be my last. The main thrust of this nearly four hour set is a 40 minute live show recorded in Seattle, where the sound is so ridiculously lacklustre that even during the first track I was checking all the audio settings on my DVD player. When the band hit the stage to start their show, there is a complete lack of crowd noise that had me turning the TV's volume up to almost maximum and then once the music bursts in things become even more confusing. The vocals, which are far from convincing, sound dry and isolated, the guitar lacks any sort of attack and the drums are far too sharp, then when the songs end, there is once more almost total silence due to the awful mix. The effect is to make this sound and look like a studio performance on a stage (which I know it is not) and while the band are completely committed to their songs they lack any stage craft whatsoever. Even with the short length of the performance I have to say that with a style of music that should have had me on the edge of my seat, I was instead totally bored. What doesn't help is that the camera work is laboured and obvious and while the small budget means there are few cameras in use, the terrible decision to continually switch between black and white and colour shots is confusing and tiresome. Due to the poor sound on the show it's hard to really decide if Satan's Host are any good at what they do, but at least "AZRAEL: Death Wing Angel" and "Satanic Grimoire" are driven by more interesting changes in tempo.
If you are a Satan's Host fan, then this set does offer value for money in terms of quantity as there are a whole host of extras on this disc, however once more quality seems to have been far from the thoughts when this was put together. Another five shows from throughout the band's history are represented in the "bootleg" section and that is exactly what they are – bootlegs – nothing more, nothing less. To make matters worse they are bootlegs of the single camera standing in the crowd variety where on some you can't even see all the band members on stage! That said the sound is actually better in this section than the feature set (my personal highlight of this section was watching the moshpit degenerate into real fights from time to time). A quick flick through the overly extensive photos section (there are literally hundreds of pics to wade through) reveals some quality camera work, but also some where they look like the sort of snaps you used to get off your very first camera phone. You'll look through them once and then forget them. Some aren't even in focus and even worse there are one or two that haven't worked as they almost completely black.
Add to all this a completely humourless "documentary" that follows the band in their studio (by follow I actually mean the camera is pointed at pieces of musical equipment with zero commentary and no band members in sight), before we get the benefit of the "camera man" pointing his camcorder at a few of the female audience members breasts at one of the band's shows and other assorted oddities.
I honestly could write much more about how appalling this DVD is, as the notes I made whilst watching it go on and on about just how bizarrely dull, boring and unprofessional it all is and let's not get started on the utterly snooze worthy black metal imagery - there is actually around 10 minutes in the film where the camera is just aimed at different homemade pen drawn "Satanic symbols", again done in complete silence.
If you are a black metal enthusiast who has never experienced Satan's Host, I would advise you to avoid this at all costs, the band just can't be this bad in the studio and even if you are an ardent follower of this outfit I find it hard to believe that there is anything to excite here.
Assault of Evil? More like assault of boredom!
1. Live Ceremony PT. 1
2. My Will, My Law: Evil
3. Great American Scapegoat
4. AZRAEL: Death Wing Angel
5. Satanic Grimoire
6. Inverted Jesus
7. Black Order
Added: July 6th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Moribund Cult Records
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