2013 Moribund Records
"By the Hands of the Devil" was one of the true metal highlights for me back in 2011. The return of Harry Conklin [Leviathan Thisiren] to the band resulted in an album that by far surpassed anything that I had expected. Not only that, but then we also got "Celebration: For the Love of Satan" just a few months later, which featured re-recorded versions of songs spanning the band's career. The mix of Harry's clean vocals combined with decidedly black/death/thrash metal style music was a match made in ... well... Hell. Last year, 2013, we finally got the followup in the form of "Virgin Sails." Things have changed a little bit. Guitarist Patrick Evil has backed away from the kind of blackened death metal he's been crafting over the last decade or so and gone back to a more "traditional" style for the most part. Blast beats still pop up here and there, and the aggression is stronger than your average traditional heavy metal band -- occasionally crossing over into speed metal territory, but the majority of the sound here is in the traditional vein. In theory, album reviews are supposed to be about what is on the album, and the author's opinion is not supposed to enter into the equation. Nonsense. The point of a review is an opinion, and I mean to give one whether you want it or not! So do I like what I hear on "Virgin Sails?" You bet. Do I think it's better than "By the Hands of the Devil?" I can't say for sure if that's a "yes" or a "no." I think the two of them are very different animals, and for the stylistic reasons I outlined before. I might have preferred to hear more of the extreme type metal that Satan's Host released in years past but now with Harry's vocals, but what I'm hearing is still very much enjoyable and was well worth the wait. I can't complain much at all here... although I do wish they'd bring back the old logo.