Review || Satanic Surfers - "Back From Hell"

Holy guacamole. Fasten your seatbelts, the boys are back and on this run, they will take no prisoners. "Back From Hell" marks Satanic Surfers' first release in 13 years. The album drops on April 13th via Regain Records lemme tell you, it was more than just worth the wait. Speed, riffs and angst paint the canvas of this album, as the Swedes pick up right where they left off. 

The single "The Usurper" opens the album, with vocalist Rodrigo Alfaro boldly declaring "we will survive/bring back to life/the Satanic Surfers" and there's no doubt this is exactly what they do. Also, that weird Joker-meets-King-Diamond-esque laugh at the end of the song adds extra points of awesomeness. The second single, "Catch My Breath", which follows is quintessentially what the band is about, on a 2.0 version while "Self-medication" sports some lovely and very catchy vocal harmonies, an engaging solo, and the most unexpected reggae-ish? twist. As we move to "All Gone To Shit", I can't help but notice the beatiful resonating basslines, courtesy of Andy Dahlström, over the rambunctious guitar. To be fair, the following track, "Ain't No Ripper", doesn't fully stray from this path, although it's really full of vibrant and quite frenzied rock n roll parts.
We have already gone halfway through the album when "Madhouse" kicks. More politically charged than I expected, it deals with the adult realization that the world is on a very dangerous path, failing to learn valuable lessons from recent history. While we're on the subject of adult realizations, "Going Nowhere Fast" manifests with a pretty cynical monologue about wasting time, the title also paying homage to their acclaimed 1999 release. At this point, you are probably very well aware of the numerous influences of the band so it doesn't come as a surprise when they decide to take it a step further with "Paying Tribute", which is indeed paying tribute to RKL's "Seein' You" interlacing with an inside joke. And if that song didn't make you question your hearing, and very likely your sanity, "Pato Loco" will. In under two minutes, the ostentatious instrumentation gives place to what I consider probably the weirdest vocal approach Alfaro has ever employed, even if it's just chanting one line... Finally, the title track closes the album. The lyrics "It sure feels good to be back home/this place that I can call my own" seal the best comeback of the recent years, while its fast and raging solos make a memorable last impression.

"Back From Hell" is all lean muscle from start to finish. Uncompromising and unapologetic, it marks an unquestionable rebirth for Satanic Surfers. If change is the only constant, it is only natural that this record feels so fresh and youthful. The band, which by now has risen to historic status, is mindful of the fact and consciously chose to invest in a nothing-to-prove approach (age being a key component to be taken into account too). The result is this impressive release, which I believe exceeded all our expectations.
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