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Dark Medieval Times

Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times ©1994 Moonfog
1. Walk The Path Of Sorrow
2. Dark Medieval Times
3. Skyggedans
4. Min Myllest Til Vinterland
5. Into The Mighty Forest
6. The Dark Castle In The Deep Forest
7. Taareslottet

Satyricon have always been one of the more aristocratic of the black metal reptilian class. Norse, viking clad, and theatrical to the hilt. But musical enough to --if not warrant a your undivided attention, than to certainly provide a double-take of Merrickian proportions, being alternately enthralled and frazzled by their post-Sodom-cum-Bathory purge. Since Dark Medieval Times, Satyricon have improved. In terms of production, songcraft, and the overall cold, underlying ancient atmosphere the band is stabbing for. Which is not to say Dark Medieval Times is crappy. By Satyricon's present day standards, perhaps (and I would argue this point). But by traditional black metal measure however, it stands out like a jock on the honor roll. Buzzing guitars, funeral synth-melodic strains, hissing vocals, and even some tempo changes (gasp!) encapsulate this intrusive, ambitious, finely executed black metal record. Harsh, but not grating. From-the-depths, but not silly or redundant. Although not earthshattering or groundswelling, and staggering somewhat to the finish line at the behest of a burdeningly flat mix, Satyricon, nonetheless, get a nod in a positive direction.

Review by Lee Steadham

Review date: 11/1998

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Nemesis Divina

Satyricon - Nemesis Divina ©1997 Century Black
1. The Dawn Of A New Age
2. Forhekset
3. Morther North
4. Du Som Hater Gud
5. Immortality Passion
6. Nemesis Divina
7. Transcendental Requiem Of Slaves

I have never been completely sold on Satyricon as a powerful black metal entity. For whatever reason their music has always seemed just calculated enough to rob the band of a honest degree of aggression and emotion. Nemesis Divina is a perfect example of an album that, on the surface, is a well executed record that cannot be faulted for musicianship, yet leaves me feeling ultimately unfilled by the end. You would think that with their music being so manically paced that one wouldn't get lulled into boredom halfway through the album but that is the case here. My impression of Satyr is that he doesn't inject enough raw emotion into his songwriting and the result is a product that is contrived. In other words, black metal is composed of all these specific elements such as trebly guitar riffing, occasional majestic atmospheric breaks, helicopter double bass thumping, trollish vocals, etc. But rather than creating a natural flow, it's as though he pieces all these things together using a black metal monochromatic-by-numbers. It is competent and not entirely unenjoyable, just ultimately lacking the depth necessary to really impress me.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2000

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Intermezzo II EP

Satyricon - Intermezzo II EP ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. A Moment Of Clarity
3. Nemesis Divina
4. Blessed From Below

Satyricon, to me, has been this band hovering just below the radar of my attention. Based on a couple compilation tracks, there was no burning desire for me to pick up any of their product before. So for whatever reason, this short EP has come into my clutches and all I can ask is, "What's the point?" Three of the songs are extreme high speed black metal. In fact, "INRI" even lists the BPM on the inlay card (251, in case you are curious). But what is missing is depth beyond the expected black metal barrage. All the elements of the first three songs are precisely as one would expect and done with precision and clinical care, but seemingly lacking heart. The only exception to this is the song that steps outside the realm of traditional black metal, "Blessed From Below", which is, of course, a keyboard/ambient excursion. With the other three songs being rather stale, this song actually benefits from being different. Compared to current Dødheimsgard, however, "Blessed From Below" isn't anything to get too excited about. I'm sure there is a small legion of Satyricon fans who get excited over everything this duo releases. I just don't think I'll ever count myself among them.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 08/1999

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Rebel Extravaganza

Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza ©1999 Nuclear Blast
1. Tied In Bronze Chains
2. Filthgrinder
3. Rhapsody In Filth
4. Havoc Vulture
5. Prime Evil Resistance
6. Supersonic Journey
7. End Of Journey
8. A Moment Of Clarity
9. Down South, Up North
10. The Scorn Torrent

My initial listens to Rebel Extravaganza found me somewhat appreciating where Satyricon was going, especially on the heels of the quite ho-hum Intermezzo II EP. But subsequent attempts to sit through this entire disc have been fruitless and each try ends up with me digging through my CD collection by the time I reach "Havoc Vulture". So what is it about Satyricon that leads to such a wide-open yawning mouth?

One of the things I've noted about Satyricon is the sterility of the music. It seems to be designed with a cold, calculating mind that says, "Scientific evidence states this note should go here" rather than throw their heart into matters. The production adds to this. Unfortunately, while Satyricon might be striving for a cold feel, it is a clinical sort of feel rather than chilling that they achieve. The next problem is that there is a glut of unnecessary material. "Tied in Bronze Chains" goes on for over ten minutes and could have been effectively shaved down to five. This sort of redundancy also leads me to believe they could have left off a couple of the tracks in the latter half of the album and not harmed a thing. The frustrating thing about this album is that Satyr pulls out quite a few interesting riffs from his bald dome, but they aren't used as effectively as they could be. The drumming tends to suffocate a lot of the feel of the music, being far too busy to let the music breathe. All that said, Rebel Extravaganza is not the worst thing to ever surface in the form of recorded music. The interesting moments do keep me coming back on occasion, but on a whole I just don't think something this deliberately clinical will ever hold much more than curiosity appeal.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/1999

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