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Classic Review: Satan - Court In the Act
Court In the Act

Label: Steamhammer
Year released: 1997
Originally released in: 1983
Duration: 40:53
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.75/5

Review online: January 15, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
Court In the Act

Rated 4.57/5 (91.36%) (44 Votes)

When the NWOBHM was in its infancy there were a bunch of bands in their early stage that would release important records in heavy metal history. One of those bands is Satan; formed in 1979, they released two demos and a single until 1983 with Court in the Act. With this first record, they knew that they would have to make it stand out in an overcrowded scene.

This album starts with the intro "Into the Fire" followed by "Trial by Fire" which is one of the best songs on the record. Having an extremely catchy riff that will pierce your skull repeatedly, it starts the album in fine fashion. Every song from that point is a classic, no question about it. Featuring fast and cool riffs, each song stands on its own. Court in the Act showcases unreal songwriting using fast riffs and solos, very unique especially for that time, making it a tremendous influence on the Power Metal genre.

Satan's musicians are very good, as it was the case for most bands of the 80's London scene. While they won't amaze you with super technical ability, Satan compensates with energy and delivery that most bands would kill for. Brian Ross' voice is not the best of the world but he makes up for that with a shitload of charisma. This is a singer that is "perfect for the band" - no one else would have fit in Satan. Their duo of guitarists, Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey, play with great enthusiasm making it the centerpiece of the album.

Production-wise, I've heard a lot of complaints: guitars are too loud, singer sounds terrible, can't hear the drums etc... Most of it is bullshit; sure it can be better but remember this was released in 1983 people!!! There is no problem with it, the production is outstanding for the time, you can hear every song perfectly and most importantly it captures a great atmosphere. And they did this with probably a sub-par budget, besides an ultra-polished sound would not fit this band at all.

This album has its faults: 1- "Into the Fire" is too long of an intro. 2- The instrumental "The Ritual", while entertaining, could have been a lot shorter. 3- Aside from "Trial by Fire", Court in the Act takes time to get used to, so this is a real grower (at least for me). Some songs are flat here and there but only in bits, however this is just me nitpicking.

With this record it is a shame that they weren't as famous or had a long lasting career like Iron Maiden, Saxon and Venom. Well, at least they left us this masterpiece (maybe they should have stuck just to one name). Court in the Act is indeed a classic that should have a lot more recognition than it has. Essential.

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