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Before we go any further, we have to address a few things about Von.  The Misfits of black metal, Von have become more of a franchise than a band.   With a line-up that requires you to dig your way through a genealogy of the band to figure out who the hell recorded this record,  many will simply dismiss Satanic Blood as a cheap cash-in on a classic name.  Go ahead.  Honestly, how can anyone objectively listen to the first full length of a band who split up 20 years ago and not wonder what the hell was going on throughout the recording process?

However, let us focus on the music for a while, devoid of context.

What do we end up with?

About as classic sounding of a  black metal record as you can hope to hear in 2012. Reverb drenched and layered with hypnotic riffing, Satanic Blood is old school in a way that many will find downright archaic.  At nineteen songs averaging about two and a half minutes in length, Satanic Blood is a journey from the earliest recordings (redone here) to new material, such as the opener, “Jesus Stain”.  The template for this record as a whole, “Jesus Stain” opens with manic riffing, gruff, reverb laden vocals, and simplistic drumming that moves the song forward at a breakneck pace.  As we weave through songs like “Devil Pig”, “Veadtuck”, and “Goat Christ” this  pattern rarely changes.  There are points where the song breaks, such as the middle of “Dissection InHuman” which devolves into an eerie, clamorous soundscape with near spoken word vocals, or the end of “Blood Von” which dissolves into sparse riffing before fading into silence.  These points serve as respites from the frenetic riffing that drives most of this record.  It’s the sheer violence of Von’s sound that will leave most of us exhausted before we even pass the midpoint.  What was once a vital sound becomes numbing as you pass through nearly twenty tracks.   However, for fans of the bestial sound early 90’s black metal, Satanic Blood will be a welcome return of the old school

Von are history.  Crucial to the 2nd wave of black metal, they should (and will) always have a place in the pantheon of American metal.  Time has moved on, and as we stand on the threshold of 2013 it’s impossible to listen to this record and not get a twinge of nostalgia for a time when black metal was truly off the radar.  Whether you’re willing to let yourself steep in this nostalgia is key to enjoying this record. A time capsule from 1992 produced in 2012, Satanic Blood is a paradox.  A record humming with the nascent energy of black metal in it’s earliest days, but one that is fundamentally out of a place at any point in time, Satanic Blood is a fascinating listen.  Just not one that is particularly relevant 25 years later.



  1. BreadGod

    April 26, 2013 at 8:31 am

  2. Patrick Brown

    November 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Von really wasn’t anything significant or influential during the 2nd wave of Black Metal. They did release a demo in 1992, but it wasn’t known to any extent at the time. Lets keep it real. 

    • BreadGod

      February 6, 2013 at 4:04 pm

       I agree. Satanic Blood is the most overrated demo in the history of black metal.

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