Satanize – Baphomet Altar Worship Review

Satanize. Now there’s a verb I can get behind. Satanize my music, satanize my wardrobe, satanize my life. For the past few months I’ve been on a metal reviewing hiatus and “satanizing” does a pretty good job capturing what I’ve been doing in my free time.1 I’ve been spelunking deeper than ever in the infernal netherworld of bestial blackened death metal, listening to every act I can find that worships at the altar of goats and blast beats. Thus, when I saw a band called Satanize in the promo bin, I knew it was time to stir from my reviewing slumber. How could I resist that spiky red logo? That black and white cover art? And that goat man-demon reigning over it all? Give it to me! FUKKIN SATANIZE ME!

Despite my best efforts to listen to every black/death metal band in existence, Satanize are a new name to me. Formed in 2001, this Portuguese duo2 have apparently released five prior albums and a slew of splits over the years. Baphomet Altar Worship is the group’s latest assault on the senses and it sounds exactly how you’d expect it to sound. This is bestial black metal that takes more than a few pages from the Black Witchery spellbook: the drums blast nonstop, the guitars roar like a never-ending explosion, and the vocals sound like a fire-eater decided to start a second career in a metal band after an unfortunate accident at an unlicensed sideshow. The opening title track could very well pass for a lost Black Witchery song with the way it relentlessly charges forward, the charred chords only loosely held together by a groaning tremolo line. Follow-up “Council of Nuclear Holocaust” fares a little better by juggling around some slower chords, ultimately resulting in something slightly heftier and more memorable than its predecessor.

Of course, in an album like this, the word “memorable” should be taken with a huge grain of salt. Catchy moments are not the goal of this music, to say the least. Fortunately, Satanize do offer a few somewhat notable ideas to help stave off monotony. “Shrine of Antichrist Victory” and “Merciless Profanation” unveil some squirming tremolos that sound like something from the last Abominator album, while “Barbarity Enthroned” unleashes a particularly predatory progression that feels a bit more bludgeoning and bloodthirsty than the other ideas to be found here.

Sadly, these moments don’t go far enough. It’s easy for music like this to become tedious and Satanize simply don’t do enough to keep things interesting. Aside from a couple (very brief) moments, the drums do nothing but blast for the album’s entire 29-minute runtime. Oddly enough, because of how constant the blasting is, the album actually starts to feel almost trance-inducing near the end, which is almost certainly not what the band were going for. A groove, a stomping rhythm, or even just a slight shift in the beat (a la Revenge or Proclamation) would have gone a long way to make these tracks more engaging and pummeling. It doesn’t help that the vocals are equally monotonous and don’t sound anywhere near as pissed as, say, Black Witchery’s Impurath. The production here is almost exactly what you’d expect, with smoldering down-tuned guitars dominating the soundstage and a hellish, bassy veil draped over everything (though fortunately, it’s all nowhere near as loud as you’d think).

Satanize make niche music. But even for those who dabble in said niche, it’s not hard to see that Baphomet Altar Worship is a flawed album. That said, for a decent piece of bestial black metal, you could do a lot worse. The guitars spew forth enough decent ideas to at least keep me listening till the end, and the short runtime works in the album’s favor. Those who enjoy stuff like Morbosidad, Goatkraft, or (of course) Black Witchery will probably find this a decent little addition to their Bandcamp collection. But for those who really want to satanize their lives, I’d recommend slightly more interesting stuff like Blood Chalice or Profane Order instead.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Regain Records
Website: Too trve for that
Releases Worldwide: January 20th, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. What little I’ve had as a law student, that is.
  2. Who seem to have photographed themselves separately for the band pic, so only one of the two gets featured here.
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