Album Review: Devil Master – “Satan Spits on Children of Light”

Especially good at expectorating

Last year, Philly coven Devil Master entranced crusty ears new to their cemetery punk with a compilation of demos called Manifestations. Satan Spits on Children of Light is their debut LP for Relapse, and it is further introduction to a band ready to headline your next black mass or haunted house keg party.

Most of Satan Spits on Children of Light rips straight from black metal’s primordial ooze, when Hellhammer and Bathory were forging the genre from death-thrash and fanged punk. But if Devil Master occasionally sound like Integrity playing a reverb-drenched Halloween soundtrack, there’s good reason: Integrity’s live bassist Francis Kano is one of Devil Master’s vampire-caped riff-demons.

But just how Integrity have experimented with everything from end-days sludge to soul singers, Devil Master has more than one trick to pull from their bubbling cauldron. They dish out demonic surfer vibes in “Skeleton Hand” and “Christ’s Last Hiss,” reimagining Dick Dale as a leather-clad incubus. “Desperate Shadow” even conjures the mystery and menace of transcendental death metal like Morbus Chron.

In the hands of Arthur Rizk, the album embraces lo-fi cult pastiche with every creeping synth line and Tom Warrior OOGH. The songs still conclude roughly and without warning; the record’s seams are exposed and raw. But that’s part of Devil Master’s allure. The garish album cover feels like a darker version of Coney Island’s Dante’s Inferno attraction, and the production captures that same feeling of a grimy hellride. Without visual aids, you can listen to the record before seeing them live and accurately hypothesize, “These freaks rule; I bet they’ve played behind a veil of prop cobwebs.”