Talk about the sound of perseverance… SATAN'S HOST have been around in one form or another since 1977, if the record label can be believed! Having at one point featured JAG PANZER's Harry Conklin in their ranks, the band later veered off from a power metal direction into a more blackened, caustic death/thrash approach without losing at least some of their traditional elements.
The result is a rather eccentric and sprawling sound, reminding me of some of the more scattershot and weird bands that populated the Wild Rags distribution catalog in the early '90s, or maybe the old Osmose roster. That's a good thing in some ways — SATAN'S HOST does whatever they want at any given moment, unconcerned with fitting into the ever-more-rigid genre categories that have cropped up while they toiled in obscurity in Colorado. Doom, thrash, death and black are messily mashed together and vomited over by the vocals of one L.C.F. Eli Elixir, with plenty of dated horror-movie keyboard interludes, un-quantized blast beats and what sound suspiciously like real, un-triggered drums.
The songs tend to meander a bit — sometimes it feels like they're making the tune up as they go along, rarely coming back to a cool part to emphasize it. But it's that unorthodox and chaotic approach to songwriting and presentation that makes SATAN'S HOST such a raw, dirt-caked delight in this age of digitally pristine metal. Just listen to the lurching doom of "A Darkmoon Gathering" or the wild-eyed, rudimentary blast of the title track and feel the grime and subterranean murk – the band's hopeless funeral stagger is nothing if not haggardly authentic.
"Burning the Born Again" was released in 2004 and is being reissued by Moribund; hopefully some of the band's earlier self-released works can see wider release as well. While their ham-handed Satanism is played out, and they do tend to ramble sometimes, there's plenty of twisted personality and fucked-up atmosphere here to make up for the band's indulgences. SATAN'S HOST is so old, they're new again, and their cult is one worth at least joining on a trial basis.