Von is certainly the Black Metal band with the most interesting history. Not only did they set the landmark for what was later to become traditional second wave Black Metal, but they also contributed to the progress of Black Metal music, especially with their Satanic Blood demo.
As said by many, if it wasn’t for Von, Black Metal wouldn’t even exist.
Maybe you have already heard some of these tracks from the 2003 compilation Satanic Blood Angel, as they are also available on that album.
Von Satanic Blood album review
Although officially Satanic Blood is only a demo, it is regarded as if it was a full-length album. And not any album, as it is now widely accepted as one of Von’s greater efforts and one of the best Black Metal albums of all times.
Recorded soon after Venien’s departure, this album was released in 1992 which makes it one of the earliest Black Metal projects.
Whilst Satanic Blood can best be described as raw and atmospheric Black Metal, it is not the slow-paced atmosphere of ambient Black Metal bands like Xasthur or early Leviathan, it is a cold and brutal atmosphere that fits the mood of an ancient torture chamber full of despair.
The vocals are pure and chaotic, everything you want to hear in Black Metal music. Despite the fact that Goat uses here some low-pitched growls which is mostly uncommon in this genre, they fit the music perfectly.
The guitar work is brilliant. Goat has once again managed to create a dark and macabre atmosphere with simple yet catchy and hypnotic riffs.
The drumming is minimalist, which fit perfectly the mood of the album once again.
Surprisingly enough for an album this gruesome, the lyrics are obscure and almost cryptic. A beautiful contrast with the brutality of the music, especially on the track Watain :
“Lucifer killed his unborn child
So he may be a victim of circumstance
The wicked child lays in shallow, crowded graves
This unholy place is where the black sacrifices are performed
Here is where He kills…
Satanic Blood track by track review
Devil Pig – 5/5
Devil Pig starts of with a dark combination of distorted guitars with a gruesome blast-beat. Goat’s vocals seem to pop up randomly on an irregular interval, breaking the monotony of the song yet adding to the macabre atmosphere. After a little more than a minute and a half, a diabolic solo kicks in : it is both beautiful and cruel. Then it comes back to the original riffs, and it goes on for the rest of the song.
Veinen – 4.5/5
Then comes Veinen (not to be confused with Venien). A complex and raw riff starts the song out, and soon Goat’s vocals make their apparition. They are more structured and add a dark feeling to this song. Close to the two minutes Goat switches from the growls to the “clean” singing. The result is bizarre and disturbing. A mini-solo kicks in, and it’s back up to the first riff to finish the song.
Watain – 4.75/5
Watain is probably one of the most notorious songs of this album, unfortunately not my favorite. The riffs are more complex then on the two previous, but still as minimalist and brutal. The drums too are more technical and diverse. Unlike the two previous tracks, Goat seems to growl during the whole song, with the exception of the magnificent solo near the two minutes mark, which will also serve as outro.
Lamb – 5/5
Next comes Lamb, a very minimalist track which is also one of my favorites.
It starts out with a single riff accompanied by a drum fill. After the first thirty seconds there is a slight riff variation, the blast-beat kicks in and Goat starts to growl.
After the first minute stands another brilliant solo, that perfectly blends into the atmosphere of the song.
Veadtuck – 5/5
This track is not even classic, it’s above classic. It’s legendary.
Veadtuck is probably the track on which the most riff variations occur. It is also a full-instrumental track, if you exclude the first ten seconds. While still maintaining the macabre mood of the album, there are several dark riffs than follow each other, until the blast-beats kick in and accompany the song to the end.
Satanic Blood – 5/5
There are quite some bands following Von that tried to produce songs containing a single riff, they all failed miserably (Black Metal ist krap as an example).
If the song is not technically challenging, it must have demanded a great deal of instincts to produce something of this ilk.
Christ Fire – 5/5
Another dark track composed of very few riffs, all more demonic than the other. There are very slight guitar and drum variations, but all under the same demented atmosphere. Near a minute and a half, Goat speeds up and starts a short yet chilling solo to reinforce the mood of the track.
Von – 5/5
Minimalism at its best. If you don’t get Black Metal atmosphere you may walk right past it, but if you do enjoy the dark melodies of bands like Von, this track is pure gold.
Goat’s vocals are sick as ever, especially near a minute and a half where he sounds like a demented hound barking aloud.
Satanic Blood final score : 93 / 100