May 1, 2024

Emerging like a shadow from the underground, Saturday Night Satan is an occult doom heavy metal band hailing from Greece, a country infamous for its dark metal tradition. Based on the artistic endeavours of a core duo—Kate Soulthorn on vocals and Jim Kotsis on bass, guitars, and backing vocals, who is also a member of the traditional heavy metal band Black Soul Horde— Saturday Night Satan began as a studio project. And what a great band name! – so good it was inevitable that it became a full-on band performing live, being augmented by experienced and long-time members of the Greek underground scene.

The one on the right is Kate!

The Athenian collective draws inspiration from the masterpiece albums of their favourite decades in heavy music, offering 70’s proto-metal vibes, 80’s metal grooves and riffage, and 90’s heavy rock heaviness. Influenced by the occult rock movement, horror cinema, and all things dark and gloomy, Saturday Night Satan, with the recent release of their debut endeavour All Things Black, are looking to carve their own niche in the world of heavy metal.

Nine hunks of heaviness are on this beast, and all are worthy of your attention! We open the selection with 5AM, the lyrics and Kate’s vocals coming straight out of the Ozzy Osbourne Book Of Satanic Rock! A fairly derivative chord and rhythm section drives this opener but it’s decent enough with good melodies in the tune. Rule with Fire follows, sounding uncannily like a Thin Lizzy riff to start with before settling into the doom chug-a-chug. By now the listener will have realised there wont be too many musical boundaries pushed by this band. Nice burst of a solo towards the end though, they can certainly handle their instruments!

Devil in Disguise is really tasty, the main riff has more twist and intrigue to it and the vocals powerfully deliver a decent melody and a barn-stormer of a chorus. Quirky bridge sections abound, I like this one, and the video is a great vehicle for the song! As the title track, All Things Black features a darkly synth-led intro before chant-like vocals come in. It builds nicely, albeit with more than a hint of radio-friendly Paramore about it. quite commercial and more main-stream than your average occult-doom band? There’s a lot packed into this one, a microcosm of their signature style – and it works!

Lurking in the Shadows is another sing-along occult track, if such a blend works for you….slightly slower in pace than previous numbers, still built around a generic chugger of a riff with some nice lead licks thrown in, all underpinning a quality melody that Kate handles more than capably…it just has a ring of what I might call “Identity-kit Euro-Metal” about it, another sing-along chorus that feels like you’ve heard it before.

At this point however, things get more interesting – By The River drifts in with a delicate semi-acoustic intro featuring some lovely clean lead licks. Its a ballad that doesn’t get submerged as the more meaty middle section sweeps in in Classic Rock style. A sense of Ash-like twin guitars, strong melodies, what’s not to like – the strongest track so far.

Crown of Arrogance has another classic hard-rock initial riff and some more very nice guitar solos – including another burst of twins followed by the best solo so far on this album. Good stuff.

Witch’s Dance is a pacey yet moody number. In my head I still can’t quite reconcile “dark, doomy, occult” material with an up-front up-beat vibe…”proper” Satanic stuff should somehow feel more scarey?! There’s another nice performance here, the track builds satisfyingly. Of Love and the Void signs us off with another serene acoustic guitar intro, delicately accompanied by flute and an angelic chant that calls to mind the Canadian band Blood Ceremony. Sure enough the riffery soon kicks in, albeit more energetically than most here and still tunefully without drowning flute and acoustics. A fitting finale to the album as everything is ramped up to a crescendo.

As an outfit, Kate Soulthorn’s vocals are an obvious strong-point, but Jim Kotsis guitar work is also of a high calibre, particularly his lead licks. All in all, Saturday Night Satan (again, Great Name!) produce rock-infused metal with a big nod to the commercial ’80s and even some radio-friendly power-pop. Whether you can genuinely class this as occult, dark rock is up to you! There’s an element of Sabbathesque ’70s but maybe a bit too accessible and “packaged” for me. A worthy effort though.