Satan's Cross is a two-piece Black/Doom Metal act based out of Mexico. The duo, known only as Sulphur (guitarist/bassist) and Mercury (vocalist), brought this band to life through their love of Italian Metal and theatrics. It's unclear when Satan's Cross actually came together, but in December of 2014, with the help of session drummer XI, they unleashed a two song self-titled EP digitally through their official Bandcamp page, which will be released on seven-inch vinyl through Dying Victim Productions in April of 2015. But is this a spiritually crushing nod to the glorious first wave, or is it an unimpressive mixture of styles?

The accompanying press release states that bands like Mortuary Drape and Death SS are two of the inspirations behind the group's sound. Their presence can be felt in this somewhat rawer sounding release of slightly sharpened guitars, crisp drums with a slight echo on "Sumarian Night". This one starts off with a slower Doom Metal pace, pulling the deeper bass guitar forward in the mix to create an occult-themed rhythm with catchy blackened hooks. Things do pick up about a minute and a half later, giving way to early second wave grooves with additional two-step in the drums, though the bass kicks suffer from being drowned out at this point due to the rest of the kit becoming louder, as well as the on the toned down raspy vocals.

In many ways, "The Conjuring" is about the same as "Sumerian Night" after the half-way point. What really differs here is that there's more of a Speed Metal or early Crossover Thrash influence in the vein of early Venom releases, as well as the volume increased on (what I believe to be) the bass guitar so you can hear every note of the twanging instrument as if it were unplugged and they just held the microphone up closer to capture the notes that way. It's an odd approach that gives the otherwise old-school sensation an oddly mechanical/robotic touch that makes you question why such a sudden change. Outside what might very well be a production glitch of some kind, if you can look past it, you'll find plenty of enthusiasm on display, not to mention a much tighter performance equal to that of a long established band to the point where, when comparing the two tracks of this EP, if this were an uncredited cover I wouldn't be surprised (which is in no way a shot at the band, but rather praise for their abilities).

Overall, Satan's Cross really isn't a bad two song EP, it's just that the asking price for the digital version is still pretty steep. With the bar set to four dollars or more in US currency for two songs, one of which with an odd tuning or production glitch that does wind up distracting enough to kill the atmosphere a bit, it's hard not to prefer the physical version due out in April of this year over it, which is just great to see happen. Given the quality and love for the old-school sound of the first and second wave of the Black Metal style, it simply belongs pressed on a seven-inch vinyl. Satan's Cross is a surprisingly impressive duo (or in this case three piece considering the use of a session drummer) which fans Black Metal should take notice of.

Review originally composed for Apoch's Metal Review.