Well, you probably know who Satyricon are. If you don’t, you should be ashamed of yourself, so stop reading, go out and get a hold of “Nemesis Divina” or “Rebel Extravaganza” and listen to it on repeat for a few days. These guys are one of the most well known bands in Black Metal and rightly so, they have some truly classic albums and songs which really helped define the genre as a whole. Unlike many, I’m even quite a fan of the later albums (“Volcano” and “Now, Diabolical”) so I feel I can look at this release from an objective viewpoint without it being marred by thoughts of ‘this band are fucking sell outs’ or whatever the KVLT consensus is.
I’m not going to beat around the bush; the mighty have fallen and they’ve fallen pretty hard. I’m not even entirely sure what angle these guys are going for with this album. Most of the riffs don’t make any sense at all, they’re not catchy or imaginative and sound, in places, like they’ve been written by a child. Add to this the fact that most of the guitars sound weak as hell and you’ve pretty much got one big fat load of disappointment. Frost has continued his transformation into a clapping cymbal monkey, playing practically the same 3 things on repeat for the whole record. A big shame considering everyone knows how much of an awesome drummer he can be. While we’re here; gothy clean vocals? Really, Satyr? Really? Please stop that.
While there are a few tracks on the album that have got something going for them if you ignore the rubbish production, like “Ageless Northern Spirit” (which retains a bit of dignity), on the whole this record sounds like the band are coming to the end of a record deal that they’ve really hated being a part of and have just composed and recorded an album as fast as they possibly could just to make a clean and speedy getaway at the cost of pretty much all quality. It’s pretty monotonous, lacking in any sort of dynamics and, if I’m honest, just plain boring. If you imagine the worst parts of “Now, Diabolical” dragged out for a full album, that’s what you have here. There are no stand out tracks, let alone timeless tracks like “Mother North“… I really don’t understand what has happened here.
If you’re a long-standing fan of the band, or even if you’re just curious, you may like this record, but I can pretty much guarantee it won’t have any lasting impact on your life. In fact, I’ll be surprised if you listen to it more than once. Don’t get your hopes up folks, I really think this album will be buried by time and dust sooner rather than later.
Here’s to hoping it’s just a phase.