Steve Ramsey


Being a source of an inspiration almost four decades and still telling the tale about it, it is a jewel. The British NWOBHM band Satan, has been as such. Even if not in the same scale as juggernauts of the British Metal scene, they still a hold a special place in countless of Metal fans worldwide. Coming in with "Cruel Magic", Steinmetal had a little chat with veteran guitarist Steve Ramsey about the new release, his perception of what is going on and his judgement.
September 14, 2018
"The album was recorded just like we did back in the eighties
Cheers Steve, it is a pleasure having you for this interview on Metal Temple. It is quite an honor. You have been a busy bee, swinging between Satan and Skyclad. How do you keep it up?

It's certainly a big juggling act with working full time as a music teacher too! I use up all the school holidays haha!

 "Cruel Magic" is Satan's new album, and also under a new label, Metal Blade Records. How did you capture the ears of Mr. Slagel? Were you on his list for some time, while you were signed to Listenable Records?

Don't know about that but when they heard we were free there was instant interest from them to sign us. It was a difficult decision to leave Listenable as they had done such a good job on the last two studio albums but one we thought we had to make for the future of the band. We're having some success in the USA and with the strength of an American label behind us it can only get better.

What can you tell me about the theme of "Cruel Magic"? At first it sounded like a straightforward title for an album, but I sense that there is a hidden message lurking from beneath.

No, there's nothing conceptual about the album. The title is taken from the song itself on the album. However, the artwork may give a different impression. We gave Eliran the artist two songs with lyrics from the album as we had done on Atom by Atom. He picked the one that has nspired him the most to create the cover. Cruel Magic is about using voodoo as a way of exacting revenge. Kind of a warning about being aware what you wish for because '…Once you invoke it someone must pay…' Eliran took a different slant on by using the injustice or drowning witches to see if they're innocent or guilty which also fits with the title perfectly.

If there is something that I have always liked about Satan is that it has the ability to preserve the old NWOBHM sound unlike the vast majority of the old guard of British Metal. Heck, it seems natural for you guys. I read various of statements and such of early bands talking about being relevant to the younger fans, but you don't seem to care of not sounding modern. What is your view of the matter?

When we reformed the band we saw no good in trying to compete with the young blood. The fans got us back together because they loved the energy and vibe on CITA and that's what we intended to give them a bit more of. The album was recorded just like we did back in the eighties, no massive overdubbing and drum sampling etc. like bands use nowadays. No altered tuning, just straight forward concert pitch and played and sounding like we do live.

Musically, I have always viewed Satan as a band that has been devoted to the same musical pattern that empowered its reputation, at least with you as a guitarist. Listening to "Cruel Magic" actually strengthened my perception. After all these years, what still draws you guys to continue write songs in the manner of the old British Metal vibe?

We developed a style of our own that was a bit ahead of its time back on the first album. It was received very well by the press because it was different to what was around and successful at time. I think that's the reason that younger fans have sought us out because they can see that we stood out from that era. Our influences were wide and varied, from punk stuff all the way to Rush and we wanted all of those elements in our music. We're just continuing to make music influenced by all the styles and genres we still love.

Which songs in "Cruel Magic" are the ones that mean most to you? What can you tell me about them?

The band members all have different favorites on the album but Ophidian is the one which we all agree on. It's a slight departure for us as its the slowest track on the album and slower than most of our previous material. The lyrical content is pure Old Testament, serpents wanting revenge on man for being sentenced by God to 'crawl on their belly' as punishment for corrupting Adam and Eve. Readers interested need some familiar with the book of Genesis. Looking up the title word might be interesting to them too. The music goes completely hand in hand with the lyrics and has some great riffs and a cameo by Brian of Alice Cooper! My personal favorite is the title track. It has a real seventies style rock riff in the verse in which we backed of the gain on the guitars to emulate the time and a strong chorus. Also one of the most innovative guitar harmonies I think we have produced in the mid-section.

General question, do you believe that current Metal market worldwide still holds a special place in its heart for NWOBHM? Do the revival bands that have been swarming the scenes have something to hope for?

Judging by the fans that are turning up at shows and how much they appear to be enjoying it then absolutely yes. How long it lasts for who knows. We're hoping to have established ourselves enough to survive aside of it if the bubble pops at any time haha!

This year marks 35 years for your critically acclaimed classic "Court In Act". I know that you will be supporting "Cruel Magic", crossing also to 2019, but won't there be any special "Court In Act" shows?

Funny you should ask because on our upcoming North American Tour we are playing the Frost and Fire festival in Ventura and are performing the whole of the album in order as a special one off concert. Who knows if we will be asked to or decide to do this again…..

Steve, if there is something that I really want it to see Satan playing live. Maybe I will be able to do so soon, I sure hope so. You guys are iconic, seem everlasting and I am positive that you will continue releasing classic Metal jewels. I thank you for the interview and bid you luck on the upcoming support shows for "Cruel Magic"

Thanks a lot Lior it was a pleasure and hope to meet up with you on tour soon.

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