Album review: Satan’s Fall – Final Day

Final Day is classic heavy metal with heart that is made for the ages 

High Roller Records have really flown the flag with bands playing in the classic heavy/speed metal vein over the past decade. Acts such as Stallion, Air Raid, Lethal Steel, and Ambush have all made a considerable mark playing classic styles, and High Roller have nurtured their roster to produce some of the best music in modern metal. Satan’s Fall are a Finnish band that look to join those ranks with their debut opus, Final Day.

As with the majority of throwback bands on the label, the production quality is extremely high and Satan’s Fall are all accomplished on their respective instruments. For bands like these that are clearly looking to keep the old-school metal flame alive, it makes all the difference when modern production meets vintage material, and Final Day is nothing if not polished while still retaining all the necessary balls.

Finding a comfortable balance between mid-paced crunch and a speedy gallop, the eight songs on offer here get the adrenaline going with little effort and keep the listener’s interest throughout. Frontman Miika Kokko has a soaring vocal that, at different times, evokes everything from Udo Dirkschneider to Kai Hansen (on the early Helloween releases) – in fact, the band take a fair amount of influence from the early 80s German speed/power metal scene without aping the style or falling into any stylistic trappings. Kokko holds his own from softer, spoken passages to the soaring choruses and chest-beating histrionics, but he has a voice all of his own and his tone and range are amazing.

Satisfaction is sure to wash over the listener due to the standard of guitar work from beginning to end. As mentioned, the riffs are fat, ballsy chunks of heavy metal fury, the dual-guitar melodies build the songs to brilliant heights, but the leads and solos… yowza… the leads and solos. As tasteful as humanly possible, they shred and ride peaks and valleys that are home to legends like Malmsteen, all the while picking notes and phrases that are highly musical and draw emotion like bees to proverbial honey. Safe to say the state of heavy metal guitar is nothing if not as healthy as ever – possibly more than ever if we’re being honest.

As for the songs – with only eight of the gems in a short running time of 36 minutes, each one has its own personality and voice. A perfect vehicle for the shit-show that is 2020, the lyrics deal with our short time on the planet and how to deal with the hardships that we all face day-to-day. It’s a breath of fresh air to find a band that play this style of metal and avoid the swords-and-dragons tales, and the music supports the theme completely. Songs such as “Juggernaut”, “The Flamekeeper”, and “They Come Alive” are highlights, but each of the eight have quality written broadly across their faces and the record plays smoothly and without a second wasted.

Final Day is as fine a debut as any metal band could ask for. This is classic heavy metal with heart that is made for the ages; packed to the rafters with guitar and vocal hooks and songs that actually mean something. Of course, having a killer debut means the band are probably already wondering how they can possibly top it with future releases, but that shouldn’t be an issue for Satan’s Fall.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

FFO: Helloween, Mercyful Fate, Air Raid

Final Day is out December 11 via High Roller Records

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