Hey do you guys remember that Kanye album last year? You know, the shitty one that a bunch of old people strained really hard to enjoy? Well what if it was a powerviolence album that was 4 minutes shorter, had better politics, and – most importantly – was actually good? That album would be Satan Is King, the latest from powerviolence/grindcore madmen Antichrist Demoncore (stylized ACxDC).
Barreling through 15 songs in 23 minutes, the band leaves no room for bullshit. They do cover a ton of ground though, with songs railing against topics like police brutality (“Copsucker”), white supremacy (“Turncoat”), factory farming (“Gorged”), fascists (“Back in Black Bloc”), and politicians (“Mouth Breather”). Satan Is King serves as a catharsis of America’s political and socioeconomic ailments. While the album title is tongue-in-cheek, it can also be viewed metaphorically. Corruption and evil have long run through America’s institutions regardless of who’s been in charge, so fuck your idols – satan is king.
If anyone is capable of delivering the unbridled fury these topics require, certainly it’s ACxDC. Vocalist Sergio Amalfitano has so much range that I initially thought this band had two singers. His primary vocal style is a rabbid howl, but he frequently switches to these deep, cavernous death metal growls. This versatility makes the band’s wild short-form compositions even more thrilling. The amount of venom with which he delivers these spiteful lyrics makes them all the more impactful.
ACxDC does a lot within the confines of songs that are only a minute or two long – not only lyricaly and vocally, but also in terms of song structure. The riffs-per-minute gauge for Satan Is King is off the charts. The band intersperses plenty of groove amidst break-neck speeds. Songs like “Gorged” and “Come Out Fighting” are excellent examples of this whiplash in tempo. They start off blindingly fast, but then see the band delve into free-form, free-for-all breakdowns. “Propaganda of the Deed” has the inverse effect of those two songs; it predominantly lies in a hefty sludge, but with a frantic outburst in the middle. The band dips into other metal subgenres too, like with the thrashy intro of “Revenge” or the title track’s death metal chug.
The two factors that make all of these elements work so well are the guitar tone and the drumming. The band brought back producer Taylor Young (who’s also worked with Nails and Twitching Tongues) for this album, and it really shows in the ferocious guitar and corrosive bass tones. Also, drummer Jorge Luis Herrera has a ton of great moments on the album – whether it’s the blast beats and avalanche of toms on “Exercise In Futility”, his swagger in the intro of “Mouth Breather”, or that lurching double bass on “Urban Blight”.
ACxDC doesn’t miss on Satan Is King. There are no weak points, only strong runs of songs to choose from. The album serves as an excellent release of all of the frustrations of the world. The song “Maggot Museum” is a tragic yet perfect ending to the album. “Another year, another loss. / Another loved one forever gone. / And everyone just moves along. / I’m fucking stuck, but life goes on.” Amalfitano’s heartbreaking lamentations knell over looming, cacophonous guitars. The message rings ever true, especially in these times of pandemic.
ACxDC’s new album Satan Is King is out this Friday (5/15) via Prosthetic Records.
Best Tracks: Gorged, Maggot Museum, Turncoat, Satan Is King, Ashes to Ashes
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Nails, Gulch, Nasum
Overall Score: A