SATAN Burning Earth Infernal

NWOBHM gods Satan are back for another strike with their deadly new album Earth Infernal which continues their winning streak started with comeback album Life Sentence. We just had to get guitarist Russ Tippins to give us all up to date information we needed about this legendary act!

Greetings and hail Satan (I had to say this)! How are you guys doing these days?

Hello this is Russ from Satan! Uh, you have me at an advantage since I can’t see your name written here? Anyway thanks for the interest Metal Sound Serbia it’s my pleasure to answer your questions.

The main reason for this conversation is of course your new album Earth Infernal so now that everything is said and done how are you satisfied with its final outcome?

You know, we could not be happier with the finished product and given the circumstances over the previous two years, it’s all the more satisfying because at one point we didn’t think we were ever going to get it completed. Also at this time the record has just been released 3 days ago and already feedback is flooding in from the from the press and our followers. It seems from the reviews that our excitement is justified – we’ve never experienced such universal acclaim as this – even for Cruel Magic! It really makes it all worth the effort.

Fourth album after the reformation and Earth Infernal is one more in the line of killer releases, so it seems there is no end in sight for Satan! How the Hell do you guys manage to stay so inspired and fresh?

Well thanks for saying so! Let me think about how to answer your question ha ha. For starters we don’t rush into anything. We spend an insane amount of time and diligence at the writing and composing stage, in fact I’ve already started work on two new song ideas. By contrast when it comes to recording the tracks we like to get through that stage as quickly as possible to instill a sense of urgency into the grooves of the record, so to speak. It’s crucial to how the record comes across. You can’t add energy or freshness at the mixdown, it has to be there within the performance.

I know that the album was supposed to come out earlier but Covid got in the way, just like with everyone else. How did you guys get through that horrible pandemics, and did you perhaps find some inspiration for the album in these cruel times?

Not so much inspiration, but more that we were afforded bountiful time and space in which to get our music exactly how we wanted it. When the world shut down it actually worked to our advantage. Suddenly there was no reason to watch the clock anymore. No more getting half way through a song idea then having to pack up and head out to a gig. No reason why you couldn’t stay up all night writing, then sleep the whole of the next day. Life wasn’t getting in the way of creativity as it usually would.

Besides the music, one of the main qualites of your albums is raw production sounding totally in your face. Are you guys opposed to modern styles and do you keep it deliberately old school?

Look, all we want is to get our music across with as few instruments as possible, so that our performances are laid bare for the listener. We want the production to be ’in your face’, to be transparent. We don’t want the guitars to be layered 16 times then drowned in a sea of synthesized orchestras. I just don’t understand who could possibly enjoy listening to that. If that is the new school then yes, I want to stay old school.

Satan was cult act back in 80s, no doubt about that, but I can guess that climate for your band is much better now than back then. Can you compare the two eras in which the band exist?

Hmm the reality is that in the 80s we endured years of living in poverty and/or occasionally crawling back to our parents when things got really bad. Five of us lived in a rented house in London. We used to hop across the channel to play in Europe and that was like luxury since we could eat and drink for free for as long as the tour lasted. Over the entire 1980s we never got anywhere near the level we are at now. I really think we could’ve made a bigger impact if we had done what we’ve done over the last ten years, that is, to build up our reputation through continuity and consistency of output. We were just too young to see that.

In connection to my previous question, you guys were hailed by huge acts such as Blind Guardian and Metallica and on the other hand, a lot of young bands are citing Satan as an inspiration. How do you perceive that position on hte sece, would you rather be millionaires or cult revered act?

I’d rather be a millionaire of course but not if it means I have to tune down my guitar and paint my face, and dress up like a fucking viking. That just isn’t worth a million quid to me – to look and sound so ridiculous. That whole scene is 100% gimmick without a shred of sincerity. With Satan, the only thing we are able to offer is sincerity.

Eliran Kantor is once again responsible for cover art so I guess that you guys are keeping him for creating recognizable image for Satan, am I right?

Absolutely. Eliran is the type of artist who has his own ideas and though he listens to our suggestions he always ends up doing his own thing. If we were ever to have an idea that we were totally set on, we’d probably need to find another artist who’d draw what we wanted. But of course his vision is way more advanced than our own – the guy is a true artist. In the beginning we tried to get him to paint specific ideas but now we just give him a title, a song lyric and a demo and he creates the cover from there.

You guys workd with Metal Blade back in 80s and now you are with them for two albums already, so how do you feel being back on this legendary label?

We never worked with Metal Blade directly in the 80s. We were signed to Roadrunner and Metal Blade bought a licence from them to release Court In The Act in the US. But sure, it’s a great label to be on if you’re in a Metal band. They are very ’hands on’ and we have a pretty cool working relationship with our project manager and the label boss. The success of Cruel Magic was mostly down to their skill in marketing and worldwide connections.

Pariah albums are available online on Bandcamp again so are you perhaps planning to do something else with the band, maybe new album?

No not at all. The whole re-issue thing is something that our manager takes care of. We don’t have any personal involvement in those projects but the extra revenue enables us to spend more time on creating new music going forward.

What are your personal highlights in Satan’s career, the moment that you feel that you really made it with the band?

I think the biggest thrill was probably our Live Sentence world tour in 2014. We circumnavigated the globe travelling west. So many great moments in that year, so many firsts! Opening for Iron Maiden in France. Playing our US debut in New York. The Whisky a go go (LA). South America! Japan!

Unquestionably our most successful point has been the release of Cruel Magic and entering the national charts in Germany. It changed a lot of things for us. It lit up our profile on the world stage as being relevant artists. Vindication.

Speaking of which, the name Satan was one of the reasons why Pariah was formed so did you have some problems with religious fanatics because of it, do you think that the band could have been bigger if it was called a bit tamer so to say?

No, as I said earlier, if we had stuck to our guns in the mid 80’s things would’ve worked out better. It was all a knee jerk reaction to the failure of Court in the Act. We didn’t just change the name of the band, we also came back with a new singer. That is a suicidal move if you are trying to build a brand, but we didn’t know anything about that We were nineteen years old and had no one to advise us who had a good head for business.

Are you guys perhaps planning a tour for the promotion of Earth Infernal, where can we expect to see you in the next period?

You bet! We have a string of festival appearances coming up, starting in Germany this month (April). Over the summer we’ll be playing on the Full Metal Cruise and also in Ireland, England, Portugal, Belgium, Germany again for ’Keep It True’ then a full European tour in October followed by dates in South America.

That would be all for this time, I would like to thank you for this conversation and wish you all the best! Your last message…

Thanks man I appreciate it, all the best to yourself, the magazine and all metal heads in Serbia. We hope to be able to play there some time soon.

Questions by Slobodan Trifunovic

Answers by Russ Tippins

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