April 11, 2017

Satan's Hallow - Satan's Hallow

By Calen Henry. Satan's Hallow piqued my interest on the strength of their advance streaming track, "Beyond the Bells". Sounding like Christian Mistress but faster, it’s a blistering traditional metal track kicked up to speed metal velocity, overlaid with Mandy Martillo's soaring vocals.
By Calen Henry.

Drawing by Eric Rot.

Satan's Hallow piqued my interest on the strength of their advance streaming track, "Beyond the Bells". Sounding like Christian Mistress but faster, it’s a blistering traditional metal track kicked up to speed metal velocity, overlaid with Mandy Martillo's soaring vocals.

Their self-titled album is a solid start for a band who show a lot of promise, but it doesn’t live up to the excellent “Beyond the Bells”. The foundation, speedy traditional metal with a female singer is great and puts a new spin on a pretty common genre as well as featuring lots of great guitar work. The album, though, is a mixed bag in terms of successful implementation of their formula. Initially I thought this was based on speed, with the faster tracks working better but that's not the case.

Some tracks, regardless of speed, absolutely nail it while others never quite come together. "Hot Passion" and the title track, "Satan’s Hallow", for example both unfold at a more standard metal pace. The former never quite comes together. The various parts never quite lock in and the lyrics are trite, seemingly featuring arbitrary lines for the sake of rhyming. The title track, on the other hand really comes together. The guitar and vocal grooves lock together for a truly fist pumping song.

Their sound is most of the way there, but simply lacks on a couple of fronts, most evidently the vocals. Martillo seems unwilling to fully commit to either totally clean soaring, powerful vocals, or middle finger to the world, sloppier-than-thou delivery. Some tracks lean one way or the other and show great promise. She delivers "Satan's Hallow" with a metal sneer, whereas "Black Angel" and "Beyond the Bells" are much cleaner and powerful. But all the tracks sound a bit restrained; the soaring vocals, in particular, lack power and the sustained notes are a bit flat.

These are blemishes on a really, really solid sound which is both disappointing and encouraging. Satan's Hallow have all the pieces for an absolutely stellar second album. I hope they put them all together to get there. In the meantime, their hits are hits and absolutely worth checking out.

Tagged with 2017, Calen Henry, heavy metal, Satan's Hallow
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