Satan’s Fall – “Final Day” (High Roller Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Despite its title hinting at closure, I’m highly pleased that this is actually the debut from these Finnish heavy metallers, otherwise I’d have missed one helluva band! Formed just five years ago, and remaining relatively low key in only issuing a prior EP, single and being on a compilation, Satan’s Fall now feature a solid line up of experienced musicians judging by their sterling performances on the 8 tracks here. Despite the band’s name evoking thoughts of Mercy Fate, there’s nothing obviously dark, let alone satanic about these guys, who instead seem to owe their musical inspiration to the classic heavy metal of Priest, Maiden, W.A.S.P and Accept, to name but a few. Ably mixing melody with muscle in their metal, it’s abundantly obvious in tracks like ‘Madness (Finds A Way)’ as the flowing melodies from the twin guitars of Tomi Mäenpää (Ominous, ex-Deather, ex-Urn, ex-Bestial Torture) and Lassi Tiainen (Blood Region, Clandestine, Evil-Lÿn, ex-Drawn Awake) don’t mess around in going straight for your heart as do Miika Kokko’s high ‘n’ screaming vocals in building to the ultra-catchy but punchy chorus that prepares the way perfectly for even more melodic soloing – which they all fit into just 3 1/2 minutes – amazing! Awash with even more melodic splendour on ‘They Come Alive’, fast-chugging riffs propel the energy toward the singalong chorus culminating in Kokko’s power screams before a momentary lull as they build up the excitement once more to another blissful blast. Unleashing the steam on ‘Juggernaut’ through Ville Aatsinki’s (ex-Drawn Awake, ex-Sixteen Eleven, ex-Wömit Angel) power drumming, along with razor sharp riffs, fast breaks and crescendo screaming more than lending to Accept’s Udo Dirkschneider or Dirk Schröder (Iron Angel), it’s actually the hook laden melodies and subtle backing harmonies that give Satan’s Fall their own defining touch, as well as proving that in going beyond their acknowledged musicianship, they’ve accomplished the high standards aimed for in their composing. Closing on an epic note in the 6 minute ‘Final Day’, there’s plenty of atmosphere in the plucked and wailing guitars before the thumping hard rock kicks in with plenty of catchy hooks, complemented by the matching emotion in Kokko’s soul and passionate highs as Mäenpää and Tiainen simply have a field day in demonstrating their axe mastery at every turn in culmination to this superb release. Self-recorded, but mixed and mastered at the famed Finnvox Studios, the sound on “Final Day” is as sharp as it is seductive in taking you back to the days of mirrored sunglasses, denim, studs ‘n’ leather!