Pim B. : Ever since Satan reformed in 2012 in the line-up that recorded the 1983 classic ‘Court In The Act’, this five-piece didn’t sit still. In 2013 the fine album ’Life Sentence’ was released, followed by the equally fine ’Atom By Atom’ in 2015. Now album number three appears after the resurrection bringing the total of studio albums to five.
Compared to the two predecessors not a lot has changed. The line-up is intact and consists of drummer Sean Taylor, bassist Graeme English (Skyclad), the guitar tandem Steve Ramsey (Skyclad) and Russ Tippins (Tanith) and singer Brian Ross (Blitzkrieg). The recordings once again took place in the local First Avenue Studios in Newcastle upon Tyne with engineer Dave Curle and producer/mixer Dario Mollo. And the artwork once again was done by Eliran Kantor, which means the cover is in line with the previous albums and the aforementioned ‘Court In The Act’. What did change is the label releasing ‘Cruel Magic’. This time it is Metal Blade who did release ‘Court In The Act’ in 1984 for the American market. The previous two albums came out through Listenable. That French label also reissued the classic ‘Court In The Act’ in 2015 and that was an eye-opener for the band as well. In their recollection the original recording sounds quiet chaotic and contains quite a few mistakes. But the energy on the album is unbeatable. That is why Satan did not try to record a perfect new album. With current techniques you can polish mistakes away, which influences the final result. This time they often decided to use first takes to make sure the albums breathes and therefore lives.
Well, they succeeded as ‘Cruel Magic’ once again is a great album that seamlessly fits to the previous ones. Ten kick-ass, energetic metal songs that even contain some surprises such as the percussion in ‘My Prophetic Soul’. Highly recommended!