Monday, March 4, 2013

Von - Satanic Blood

An old demo that sucked in 1992, sucked in 2002, and continues to suck 10 years after it's most prominent re-release.

Satanic Blood puts to shame the drum sound of Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" and the goofy vocal-only tracks at the end of Havohej's "Dethrone the Son of God" - otherwise great albums with notoriously bad components that would be embarrassing for the legendary content of the releases. Von don't have any quality to redeem themselves from the poor sound quality of this demo. The sound quality of the demo is actually the best thing here, because the songs are boring as hell. The drums clunk away on slow blast beats for nearly the whole album, the exception being "Veadtuck", which is a reminder of how poor the guitar work is. There are no riffs, just repetitive droning of power chords shifting two or three times then repeating, and some occasional noodling that sounds like an amateur with poor phrasing trying to pick out a melody.

The worst part is the vocals. They sound unforgivably goofy, like a comedian trying to imitate David Vincent in a silly voice. There's no charm to them, like the awkwardly phrased but excellent vocals on Stillborn's "Necrospirituals" where the vocalist drones pleasantly like a drunken Transylvanian. Those sound a bit goofy in a good way, this sounds goofy in a bad way, a vocalist in the earlier days of death metal who hadn't figured out how to pull it off but tried anyway. So many amateurs have made charming, memorable, or at least entertaining vocal performances that were technically horrible but fun to hear. This one is bad and drenched in reverb that makes it sound even worse under a thin, trebly guitar tone.

The potent amateurism is unsurprising considering that it's from 1992, and there weren't many terrible black metal bands around yet at that time. Bestial Summoning matured and put out a classic that Von could strive to be - Von sounds like a Bestial Summoning cover band that couldn't play their way out of a wet paper bag nor find their way to the second part of the song by way of a transition. The complete lack of anything to make the music memorable - hooks in the guitars, vocals, and drums, is terminal for this demo. It's not atmospheric, the feel of it is quite crappy, but there's no hook that grabs you, something you'll find in every black metal band that didn't suck - it was quite a highlight of the French LLN scene, especially Vlad Tepes, and the Norwegians and Greeks blended melodic and rhythmic hooks and atmosphere quite well. Such pronounced attributes of songwriting were out of this band's grasp in 1992, and seem to be to this day.

Von did absolutely nothing well. Pitiful.

1 comment:

Orion M. said...

Yes the production on this is awful, but I think there is a certain charm here which can make Satanic Blood a really excellent example of when poor as hell production works in favor of a release.

Of course this was all before the band reformed and made total fools of themselves in the modern metal landscape, asking ridiculous guarantees for shows and expecting to be worshipped like some sort of ancient pig God.