Satan – “Court In The Act” (1983)

Satan!  Is there a better band name than Satan?  Gets right to the point, no bull shit.  I like the cut of their jib.  Satan debuted with Court In The Act on Roadrunner Records (also Neat Records and Metal Blade Records).  This album shows a real progression of the prototypical NWOBHM sound into a more technically agile direction.  Simply put, Court In The Act is a blazing heavy metal album.  The guitar duo of Steve Ramsey and Russ Tippins made an excellent case for themselves as upper echelon heavy metal guitarists for their time.  There are tons of riffs, fills, and leads to get ya all boned up.  With furious but controlled speed and plenty of catchy melodies, Court In The Act finds itself in that rarefied air where speed, power, and catchiness come together perfectly.  Well, almost perfectly.  You see, the production on Court In The Act pretty much blows.  All the instruments seem to bleed together, and the final product sounds cheap and soupy.  Brian Ross’ vocal track sounds like it was recorded over the phone.  That’s another thing, Ross (ex-Blitzkrieg) is really no better than an average vocalist.  His milquetoast delivery doesn’t do justice to the knockout tunes on Court In The Act (in my opinion).

Despite my two quibbles, Court In The Act remains one of my favorite NWOBHM albums of ’83.  Indeed, it may be one of the most cutting edge albums of that year, along with stuff like Mercyful Fate’s Melissa and Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All.  Killer tracks include Trial By Fire and Blades Of Steel.  The latter tune is NOT about the old Nintendo hockey game that torched my thumbs to a point of uselessness back in the day (although that would be awesome).  It’s actually about marauding vikings doing their viking things (rape and pillage, perhaps?). 

Despite the band’s blasphemous name, Satan’s lyrics were not concerned with occult themes.  In fact, the name became somewhat of an albatross for the band.  Several name changes were ahead for these guys.  The next time we heard from them they had a new singer and were called Blind Fury (see review of that album here).

The bottom line is that Satan’s Court In The Act had all the makings of a metal milestone, but any possibility of such an impact was likely stopped in its tracks by a production job that may be the suckiest suck that ever sucked.  CD re-issues add three bonus cuts, including the “single version” of the kick-ass Break Free.  My score: B+


3 thoughts on “Satan – “Court In The Act” (1983)

  1. Whoa..what a wild f*&!, buy the record industry. To bad Neat, Roadrunner and Metal Blade/ Restless, did not know, that is a favorite top 20, top 50 or top 100 or top 200 favorite album, by a lot of metal fans.

    I took 11 years for this to get pressed on CD as a stand-alone title. By Roadrunner/ Far East Metal Syndicate Records in Japan. Circa 1994 As FEMS APCY-8173.

    This is the real CD version of this. It blows the other repress out of the water, no problems.

    The next CD was a horrible one done by Neat Metal as, cat # NM 019 this title should always be a stand alone release, as it originally was in October 1983.

    There is a “collectors” item of this. On the crappy bootleg label called Reborn Classics in 1992, this had to be bootlegged because Neat Records, had no presence in the music business and Roadrunner was a full-throttle death metal specialist label, when the bootleg hit the market place.

    Since Brian Ross the vocalist on this awesome metal classic, went on to record another stellar metal album Blitzkrieg “A time of Changes”.

    Here is the CD info’s for this title.

    A Time of Changes + More — Neat Records Japan Cat # TECP-25355
    This is the Superior press of this because of the bonus tracks Buried Alive/Blitzkrieg from the 7 inch single.

    A Time of Changes — Castle Communications- CLACD 268, has a track “Take a Look Around” not on the Japanese Pressing. But missing the bonus tracks from the 7 inch single.

    I have the GOLD DISC version of “Court in the Act” on Metal Mind Records. This is the version I play every day, since I have retired the first 2 CD pressings, of Court in the Act

    Metal Nations Records (formerly Neath Metal Records) deleted Satan’s “Live in the Act” (p) 1982/1983 and (c) 2003 from its back catalog.

    “Court in the Act” has always been in my top 100 favorite heavy metal albums of all time, since its original release.

  2. Hi, maybe you’re interested in this? 🙂

    “Satan are currently adding the finishing touches to material for a new album. The album will be released next year around springtime to coincide with the 30th Year Anniversary of the release of the first album ‘Court In The Act’. It of course will feature the original members who performed on that album and the band look at it as the recording that would have been the follow up featuring that line-up. […]”


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