Have you ever heard an album that you never actually listened to before but immediately though “I know I’ve heard this before” but simply couldn’t place where? That was me the entire drive into town. Under Satan’s Sun was so incredibly familiar but for the first six songs just could not figure out what it reminded me of. It wasn’t until I started heading back home and “Welcome to the Horror Show” kicked in that the random though of “If this isn’t a Danzig than may Satan put a deer in my path!” entered my head. That was when it all started to fall into place.
This whole album sounds like Danzig!
Well, the majority of it anyway. In reality it is laced with your traditional Rock and Gothic Rock foundations. The closer I listened, the more I heard bands like Entwine and the melancholic latter days of Beseech‘s career pre-disbanding. I even started picking up on H.I.M.-style melodies in the title track and “Dead Man’s Shadow on the Wall.” None of it sounded good. In fact, it was incredibly boring.
Aside a very small handful of songs including “The Town that Dreaded Sundown” and “Welcome to the Horror Show,” most were just simple compositions that were kind of catchy, but not enough to really be memorable or make the band stick out on even the local Modern Rock and Alternative radio stations. But it’s not even the bland music that killed it for me, but the incredibly generic mid-range “singing,” if you can call it that, had so little range it just made things even worse, especially when layered with often off-key harmonies. I kept saying over and over “If the vocals were at least deeper this could be better.” Bands like Lacrimas Profundere and even the aforementioned Beseech or Danzig kept coming to mind as acts who got it right.
As I pulled back into the driveway from my late night venture, I couldn’t help but ask repeatedly “That’s it? This is what most of my Facebook wall is creaming themselves over?” Under Satan’s Sun was an overly basic Alternative/Gothic album under the guise of “Doom Metal” and “Hard Rock.” I felt let down, especially considering they are now signed Napalm Records, one of my favorite labels when it comes to talented bands and rich atmospheres, the latter of which was barely present on this album if at all. My excitement to see what Bloody Hammers was all about was quickly dashed, and after hearing Under Satan’s Sun I can safely say I am not interested in hearing anything more.