Hey Satan – Orange Moon (2019) – Review

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It is good that not all bands and artists fall off the deep end and indulge themselves in pseudo-hip-hop, and/or some sort of bastardized Latino tunes. You know, those cookie-cutter tracks that overwhelmingly populate the hit and chart lists of radio stations.

And I admit, after much metal, a dram of Salsa with pretty hot rhythms will do you good. As long as it is genuine. If not, this quickly veers into overkill. Often these fake tunes are so simplistic that it actually hurts to even stay with them longer than a few seconds.

So, luckily we got ourselves outfits like Hey Satan that finally hit the market with Orange Moon, their sophomore album. The band already released their self-named debut back in 2017, the one with a very strong orientation to Stoner Rock.

And sometimes promises are not kept. We know that from the world of politics. Or from those various business types that promise you the world, and deliver nothing but lies. But by Loki, that Hey Satan would let me down? They promised me an Orange Moon. And – in return – I get a pink album cover with a bonehead in a space helmet. But then, thinking about it, their first album already was so orange, they probably got complaints from Easy Jet. 

So, what course did they steer for this new record? After all, you need to avoid these icy, black cliffs that so many bands wrecked their sophomore albums on.

Well finally, the new tack of Orange Moon barely veers off the old course. And by a couple of degrees to the South only, at best. They definitely did not fall off the deep end, that’s for sure.

And why should they?

You will find a better focus on sun-drenched Heavy Rock, with a little less weight on stoner-esque shenanigans. Along the lines of bands like Red Bullet, Bear Bone Company, and Vinyl Hero, the ones that make you kick off your boots and sip your ice-cold beer on the porch. Whilst their sound thrashes out of your boomboxes to annoy your neighbors some. If you have any nearby, that is.

I also detected a pretty cool shift to some more Grunge and Punk Rock. Which culminates in KO Computer with its blatant nod to Nirvana’s best. This particular swamp is actually all over the second half of Orange Moon. And I daresay that they are now much closer to Blues Rock, than they were ever before. It’s that idle Zep thing all over again.

But certain elements do need a bit of pruning.

All those tracks at bite-size length are kind of disturbing. Nothing reaches seriously beyond the 3-minute mark. Somebody must have told them that old lore about radio stations and stuff. And that goes hand-in-hand with the ubiquitous 10 tracks that they display. So, here Hey Satan really play it safe with pretty much no risk to add some fire. Which is good, and – potentially – can be bad simultaneously.

Yet nothing will take away the undeniable, yet somewhat subdued groove that the vocalist belts out into the open in all its scratchy splendor. And I definitely like the taste of the bare bone arrangement of two guitars and a drum-set for some real rock’n’roll. Very far from that synthesized cheating that some other bands like to indulge in sometimes.

So really and in this sense, Orange Moon is all about getting back to the red-hot roots of rock. Modern, yet still fully anchored with the masters of the past. And they did this pretty artfully on this new record.

In the end, Hey Satan opted for the safe road, the one without bumps, and aligned to the music industry’s perceived wishes. Which leads to an amalgam that, whilst reasonably juicy and hot, somehow strangely lacks in spice. In a way, they went for Jalapenos, when they should have gotten some more of that Carolina Reaper for their hot sauce.

Yet, sticking with your style and a traditional track list for a sophomore album is actually a smart thing. Too much change so early on risks turning away your fan crowd that is not necessarily too established yet. 

The above notwithstanding, Orange Moon gorges with a truckload of pretty traditional, mid-tempo Heavy Rock. All of that sprinkled with a fair amount of Blues Rock, and a pretty good focus on Grunge and Punk Rock. A record that we are sure will please the band’s fan community.

And – for sure – this band will sound like a fucking pressure cooker on stage. RMR’s secret agent 005,5 might even visit one of their events. Just stay tuned for secret tweets right from the music hall. 

Record Rating: 6/10 | Label: Cold Smoke Records | Web: Facebook
Release date: 5 April 2019

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