The heavy metal world is in shock tonight following Satan's announcement that the loud, guitar-based music is no longer his music of choice. "It suited me when I was younger. Songs about death, war, gratuitous sexual encounters and drugs were fine two or three decades ago and reflected what I was about at the time, but I've matured."
Bands such as Black Sabbath, Venom, Danzig, Iron Maiden and AC/DC have built successful careers which have lasted decades on the back of the Devil's endorsement. But record company bosses are set to re-evaluate their ongoing commitment to heavy metal now that the chief evangelist of the genre has turned his back on it.
"Metal has never been an easy music to sell." said Tom Welsh of Polymer Records. "It has always swam against the flow of the mainstream. It has its moments when it is in vogue, such as during the mid-70s, most of the 80s and occasionally during the 90s, but it takes a lot of money and effort to break bands.
"One way in which metal bands have managed to establish themselves is by playing the satanist card. Black Sabbath did this to great effect, even though Ozzy and Tony Iommi were actually good chapel going boys."
AC/DC, Van Halen and Led Zeppelin have all encouraged rumours that they were in league with the Devil, to great effect. Their album sales rank in the 10s of millions. But without Satan's support, these bands will be powerless as they watch sales of their back catalogues dwindle.
In an exclusive interview Satan - Prince of Darkness, Lord of the Underworld and Father of All Sin, revealed the reasons behind his change of heart. "It all got a bit tiresome and generic to tell you the truth. All the bands had songs about me, or about hell. It was all a bit samey and I found myself getting very bored.
"These days I find myself preferring the classical stuff like Vivaldi and Mozart, or if I'm driving I really enjoy some of Chris Rea's stuff."
Chris Rea's record company refused to comment. However, rumours are circulating that the title of his soon-to-be-released album has been changed from 'Always The Blues' to 'Forever in Thine Satanic Service' to capitalise on the Devil's comments.