You like to rock? You like to boogie? Well then Satanic Bat are about to kick your ass with their debut full-length “Tales from the Southland, Tales from the Sea,” a hefty slab of heavy duty southern-friend stoner/doom hymns that knows how to swing and shake with the best of them. I could reference a hundred bands but picture Clutch, with riffs that have the volume and groove of Cathedral served with a side of Maryland doom for sheer weight and a little Sabbath salt n’ Skynyrd pepper to make your meal taste just right. There’s a little sludge and psychedelic rock in there too so you get a nice array of flavors to sooth your palette. Twin guitars trade-off licks like nobody’s business while a thick bass presence will rock the foundation of any home that you kindly crank the disc in. Vocalist Sven is a talented man to say the least because he is one of those precious few that manages to not only belt out some soulful, possessed preacher style vocals but bash the skins with authority as well.
“Dead Dixie Driver” gets this ruckus started off proper with huge southern licks that really show off what this band is all about; down home groove that is sure to shake up the dance floor of any club that they play (I’ve seen ‘em live several times, so I can attest to that statement). The riffs are rock solid and they nail a big hooked-laden chorus that should certainly stick to the ribs if you are really listening.
“Norse Sagas” follows next with a more mid-paced groove that sees the band ripping out some killer, southern guitar harmonies. I feel a little bit of Thin Lizzy here and just when you think the song will explode into a full-on rocker they mellow out and get psychedelic. A wandering bass line weaves around expanding guitar noise with Sven belting out equally far-out lyrics that make me think of Clutch’s “Spacegrass” just a little bit. I’m saying think of, not copying…you dig? While Satanic Bat surely remind me of a number of bands they’ve got their own thing going for damn certain. For example this track descends into a sad, groovy guitar harmony further down the line that really shows that Satanic Bat are more than capable of incorporating a good deal of moods into what a lesser band would just handle as a basic rock track; cut and dry with no additional flavor. They further expand on their psychedelic tendencies with “Human Genome Worry Doll” that rumbles with a mean and dirty groove akin to Earthride but with a more melodic vocal component. Things get downright weird midway through the song with all sorts of meandering space noise and astral vibes sending you to the cosmos. The vocals are even laden with a bit of effects and there is a riff that is so damn low and full of effects that I can’t tell if it is a guitar or bass playing it. Then out of nowhere Satanic Bat explode into a sludge pummel with screaming vocals that ride a punishing riff straight into the dirt; killer track for sure.
The bass heavy “Great Things from Sand and Clay” is a bluesy rocker that manages to kick up one hell of a dust storm while staying melodic and bent on a mean groove that paves the way for a quick intro in the form of “The Kraken Returns with Saturn” which is a brief, instrumental interlude that features guitar noise almost making the sound of whales. The mighty “Southern Rock Plantation” is next in line to give you a whipping and it lives up to its title with a lurching determination. This is big time southern boogie in all of its glory. The riffs are powerful and boogie in the fine tradition of Earthride but with less filth and a larger emphasis on soulful twin guitar work. There a few spaced-out textures in this one but the main point here is to repetitively hammer home a series of excellent grooves until they are the equivalent of cement in your mind.
The instrumental “Skull Bong Rock” is a quick blast of speedier riffs and white-knuckle rhythms. I feel a touch of punk and metal influence in this quick burst and a little less flat-out blues. Once again, it acts as a nice little break-up to bring us into the home stretch. “White Gypsy/Dirty Talkin' Flower” is one of my favorite Bat tunes. It lives up to its name as thick, resin-caked grooves fill your ears with that southern goodness that I dare you to try and get out of your mind. The song builds nicely managing to get pretty damn crushing in the middle as they lock onto a sludge-y groove that they’ll eventually steer back into the song’s main riff to lock you in one more time. They finish you off with another speedy run too that shows some full-throttle sludge/rock that’ll knock you flat on your ass. It is an epic 7+ minute track that traverses a very diverse set of waters all of which equate into solid gold setting them up to strap in and take you on a ride one last time with epic closer “A Generation of Digital Drones vs. Jazzbot 6,000” that is one part stoner swing, one part weighty doom and a whole hell of a lot of droning, 70’s noise/fuzz as it comes to a spiraling finale.
This is a great record through and through and one that I think all fans of syrupy, stoner/doom can get into. There’s not a bad song in the bunch! I must also recommend that you check these guys out live. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and sharing the stage with them and they are tight players who suck you in with their special brand of groove and damn nice guys to boot! This is great stuff and it isn’t by the numbers stoner rock by any means! Satanic Bat is heavy, experimental and lay down a mean riff. So no more waiting and reading, check these guys out; good stuff!