Satan is more-or-less the best still-standing band to come from the NWOBHM movement and their third album found the band with their second of three name changes over their career. After the first album the boys decided to re-brand towards the spandex rock spectrum so that they weren’t associated with scary beasts like Venom and their extreme sound. The songwriting here is somewhat more in line with Iron Maiden‘s output at the time, but with the melodic leanings of something closer to Tank or Tygers of Pan Tang. The production is in service to a more accessible 80’s rock sound but Satan haven’t lost their fantastic guitarists and the recording is dominated by their signature dual-guitar sound. It is decidedly 80’s hard rock in it’s style well beyond the production with catchy tracks like “Contact Rock n Roll” and “Living on the Edge” managing a 50/50 cheesy hard rock and classic heavy metal ratio.
The name change also brought in new vocalist Lou Taylor who, like an intermediate Bond film casting, never fit in with the band’s style as well as Michael Jackson or Brian Ross. Taylor’s voice has great tone and impressive range that is exemplified on the title track, but ‘Out of Reach’ is weighed down by his contribution to it’s campy 80’s rock re-branding. I enjoy this era of music, corny and horny as it is, it doesn’t offend me solely because of the highly effective guitar work. I prefer their next album as Satan, ‘Suspended Sentence’, where they went for a sound closer to Mercyful Fate as they began to edge in thrash metal influences before re-branding again as Pariah. It is an interesting step in the career of the band that doesn’t completely pay off if you’re 100% serious-faced about crossing that line between classic 80’s fantasy metal and corny cock rocking.
A lot of the value in ‘Out of Reach’ comes down to your interest in 80’s hard rock as well as NWOBHM. I’d say it is on par with fluffier rock albums put out by NWOBHM bands of that era like Tygers of Pan Tang or Angel Witch‘s similar sell-out album ‘Screamin’ and Bleedin”. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with playing to the crowd with this kind of pop music but the style was dated sounding even for 1985’s post-‘Ride the Lightning’ metal standards. I think what draws me to this album is largely it’s relation to the rest of Satan‘s discography more than the excellent guitar work alone. I would only recommend it if you liked 80’s Thin Lizzy, or the more melodic side of NWOBHM.
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Far beyond the reaches. 3.5/5.0
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