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SATAN Atom By Atom

By Rob McNees, Vinyl Aficionado
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 @ 6:15 AM

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Atom By Atom

Listenable Records

I would think by now it's no secret that the NWOBHM is one, if not the favorite genre of mine in Metal. Great songs, aggression, attitude. It's all there. And like any genre of music, there are 'must-haves' that any self respecting follower of the genre needs. Included in that list is the debut album from SATAN, Court In The Act. This was not SATAN's musical debut however, as they had burst upon the scene in 1982 with the über rare Kiss Of Death single, one of the 'Holy Grails' for NWOBHM Vinyl aficionados. Founded in Newcastle in 1979, SATAN was on the forefront of what later became thrash along with SAVAGE, JAGUAR & VENOM.

When vocalist Brian Ross joined from the band BLITZKRIEG (you may have heard of the track "Blitzkrieg", as it was covered by another obscure band called METALLICA) SATAN really hit their stride. But, like most of the band from the NWOBHM era, they went through member changes, name changes (see BLIND FURY, PARIAH) before folding in the early 90's. Despite playing a one-off gig at the infamous Wacken Open Air festival in 2004, a full reunion of the band didn't occur till 2011. The fruits of that labor gave us the brilliant comeback album Life Sentence, a blistering return to form and a world tour, including Texas, which I was fortunate enough to see. That led to the release of their first live album: Trial Of Fire: Live In North America.

Which brings us to 2015, and the latest opus, Atom By Atom. By no means is this some sort of nostalgia act, as SATAN's music is as relevant now as any newer band out today.

A piercing scream from Mr. Ross right out of the gate on opening track "Farewell Evolution 1", backing up my earlier statement about nostalgia. A classic Speed Metal tempo in the fine SATAN tradition that is guaranteed to have heads banging. A teeth gritting riff midsong along with lyrics about our own devolution and this is a cracking way to kick this album off!

"Fallen Saviour" slows things down just a smidge but still keeps the energy high. Some great trade off soloing from original members and guitarists Russ Tippins & Steve Ramsey accentuate this excellent track.

"Ruination" is a mid tempo basher that shows this band shows no signs of heading for the retirement home anytime soon. A very tasteful interlude just adds more flavour to the mix.

"The Devil's Infantry" begins with an almost military cadence before unleashing another uptempo banger! One of my fave tracks and should guarantee to be a stormer Live. I'll go on record as saying that the combination of Tippins/Ramsey as a guitar tandem should be mentioned in the same breath as Tipton/Downing, Robertson/Downey and Denner/Shermann. They're just that damn good.

Title track "Atom By Atom" shows the solid backbone of rhythm section of drummer Sean Taylor and bassist Graeme 'Bean' English in fine form throughout the album as a whole and here as well as they steer the SATAN ship mightily on this midpaced number.

The gallop of "In Contempt" breaks into an uptempo stomper with more tasty drumming from Taylor. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that singer Brian Ross's voice is as solid as ever, he really is on top of his game here. Top notch. The dual leadwork really shines here as well.

"My Own God" begins with a solid riff and builds off that. A slow bruiser that has Ross telling us that he is, indeed, his own God, just a man. Tasty leadwork and some outstanding rhythm picking boost the air guitar quotient even higher.

"Ahriman"'s tempo starts a bit slower before stepping up a notch midsong. Very timely lyrics add even more colour with Ross hitting one of his patented screams at the end.

"Bound In Emnity" steps on the accelerator with a bit of speed thrown into the mix to re-energize you lest you think the band had forgotten how.

"The Fall Of Persephone" finishes of this opus in fine fashion, and at 6:50 is the 'epic' track here although it doesn't seem near that long. A track that was co-written with Kevin Heybourne of another legendary NWOBHM band ANGEL WITCH, Bean has some nice bass runs as Brian tells us that civilization ends today. A spoken word passage along with choirs builds up to a uptempo crescendo that leads into some more excellent dual lead trade offs. Fall to your knees!!! A Ross scream and it ends much like it began.

It does me old heart good to see bands of the NWOBHM like SATAN, SAXON, RAVEN and others not only still releasing quality albums but also leading the charge musically some 30 odd years later. Impressive to say the least.

For my Vinyl loving brothers & sisters, Atom By Atom is available on wax, but in limited supply. So make haste or cry at the hands of eBay.

4.8 Skulls Out Of 5.0

Grab your copy of Atom By Atom now in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.

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