SATHANAS, Ripping Evil (1988, demo)
Yes! This is what we’re talking about! There is nothing left out here, nothing spared. Front and center is a skull whose forehead is branded with an upside down star. He looks fried and possessed by lunacy. That’s a fantastic start. He’s got horns that look like carrots. There are two cloaked figures flanking him (the Sunn dudes?), each holding a large inverted cross, the crosses chained together in satanic matrimony, crossed in an X behind the skull. They seem to be taking this job very seriously. Fire burns above the entire unholy scene. Ripping evil? Ripping evil what? Ripping evil a new asshole, I say! That makes no sense, of course, and neither does this tape cover. But it rules beyond all holy hell.
The fact that Pennsylvania’s Sathanas have been active since 1988 is something to respect. This is their very first demo, and it’s clearly influenced by Possessed, Mantas,
Hellhammer, Celtic Frost and possibly even Morbid Angel’s early material. They don’t
have the songwriting and/or playing skills and/or charm of those bands, so appeal is limited, but it’s still a document of the ’80s death metal movement, even if it is of minor importance. Ultimately each of these four songs is mediocre, but the crudeness and conviction with which it’s delivered is notable, and that it was released in the ’80s makes it a bit of a cool relic. Nothing more or less.
— Friar Wagner