“I remember looking out at the desert and going, ‘You know what? What happens if, let’s just say, people got impatient for Judgment Day?’”
This wholesome moment of reminiscing is brought to you by lead vocalist/guitarist Tyler Satterlee from the thrash metal ragers Blessed Curse. The morbid concept, which sparked the theme for the band’s first album in a decade, Pray For Armageddon, came to Satterlee way back in 2005 on a family trip through the American Southwest. The story emanating from this 10-track hair-whipper is well thought out, featuring provocative characters with deadly motives.
“The concept really started to manifest with the cover art: three prophets, including the main one—our mascot, a werewolf—using black magic to curse the earth into immediately committing absolute sin,” Satterlee’s enthusiastic brainchild begins. “It would be, like if everybody on Earth did the most horrible, unjust, inhumane things right off the bat, and in doing so, catches God off guard and meets instant punishment–boom! What those three prophets ended up basically doing was praying for Armageddon, and they get their wish,” the singer concludes with a triumphant chuckle.
The main prophet of the three—the aforementioned Blessed Curse mascot—is named Larry after the Universal monster character Larry Talbot from the 1941 classic The Wolf Man. As an homage to renowned metal mascots like Iron Maiden’s Eddie and Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead, one hopes that Larry makes the leap from the Pray For Armageddon album cover to join the band live on stage.
“It’s actually been an idea that’s been circling for a while,” laughs Satterlee. “We’ve had some friends, fans of ours through the years, volunteer and suggest that.” With Larry playing such a huge role in the ripping saga, it would be foolish for the three-piece not to unleash him. “Larry will make an appearance for sure,” the stoked shredder obliges, “He’s been itching to get out there, especially when it’s a full moon!”
Along with an intricate premise for their full-length, Blessed Curse set themselves apart from new school thrash bands in other ways. Satterlee cites their stomping grounds of Sacramento as a factor. “We have a ‘victim of circumstance’ mentality–where we come from. We’re from the foothills of California, which is gold-mining country and very isolated. There are towns here and there, but there’s no metal population; there’s no nothing. So, with that, we basically are left to our own devices.”
In his mind, the lineup itself also gives the band a unique allure. “We’re back as a trio again,” Satterlee notes. “And with some of the trios that that have inspired us, like Motörhead and Exciter, you have to rely on what you got, and for us it was always trying to be the most powerful we possibly could be as a trio. We were one of the first bands to start doing this whole new wave of thrash metal. As much as it’s thrash, we were really concentrating on the songs in general. We’re always trying to concentrate on what’s best for the song and not trying to fit into what something should sound like.”
Photo courtesy of Shirley Borba.