Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Friday, January 11, 2013

Satyricon ~ Now, Diabolical

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: black metal, death metal, Norwegian
Label: Roadrunner
Year: 2006
Home: Oslo, Norway

Members: Satyr ~ vocals/guitar/keyboards/special effects
Frost ~ drums

Additional: Lars K. Norberg ~ bass
John Woz ~ b. vocals
Oivind Westby ~ horn arrangements
Erik Ljunggren ~ special effects


Whatever some people may think, I'm not really a fan of double bass drumming, two note guitar playing, growled vocal black/death metal onslaughts. I appreciate it when its great (i.e. shows some creativity beyond the Mayhem template), avoid it as nauseatingly predictable when its not. But, every so often a black metal band comes may way that makes my head spin ... in a good way & suddenly I can't wait to listen to some wonderful metal. Sadistik Exekution, Nunslaughter, The Kalling, The Militants & Elvira Madigan are my top favorites in the blackest genre of genres, though all are more obscure than not but each have great signs of creativity. Another band I actually saw as an opening act for Cradle Of Filth & they were the highlight of the night ... so much so that I didn't stay for Cradle's encore but when the opener returned a year later for their first U.S. headlinging tour I was there with a friend. The secret was in their un-stereotypical short haired fist pumping, & very good looking which not a asset for a lot of metal, lead singer Satyr. The band being Satyricon. Their earlier albums don't get my ears tingling as much, being more traditional black metal, but their last two (The Age Of Nero & Now, Diabolical) are delightful. They are a little less raw than what came before yet still super intense black metal that for me shows the best of the genre. The growing fanbase echoes my thoughts. Further, some of the songs are quite memorable ... another non-given for black metal. Some fans may decry the fact that Sayricon has shed some of his onslaughtish roots for a more experimental sound at times, but that's normal for any band with a long history & the genre is not dominating by Mayhem or Burzum anymore. Times change. My preference of their newer albums is for Now, Diabolical, as while The Age Of Nero may have the great "Die By My Hand" I find much of the album repetitive & that's the only song I really remember ... compared to Now, Diabolical which gets me singing along. Satyricon is a black metal band that hasn't played by the template, but broken it numerous times ... particularly in terms of being able to understand the vocals which I greatly appreciate. The title track also has a one of the best sing along choruses probably in black metal, another rarity to the genre being able to sing along, with the two words of the title chanted over & over in ominous delight. It's hard not to raise a fist & chant along. Satyr doesn't sing or scream. He almost talks his way through the songs with a growl & with tight meter in short soundbites (i.e. "Now, Diabolical"). Further, in these later days of Satyricon they're not playing the same hyper-speed tortorous riff oriented black metal so many bands seem to want to churn out for already numbed eardrums. There's emphasis on melody that is often lost in the genre. & they make be dark but they don't go too far, too cocophonic into the realm of tortorous noise. There's even som einstrumental moments to give the music some breathing space (i.e. "The Pentagram Burns", "Delirium"), though without the keyboards that clutter the later The Age Of Nero. In many ways this might be more mainstream sounding than a lot of black metal fans would prefer, but for the rest of us that might be a major selling point. The world may still be angry but its time the music sounds a bit more mature. Many bands have already realized this & begin to fine tune the fierceness & Satyricon is one of them. Though, black metal still has a ways to go before it'll be mainstream, so no one should really worry. It's still a-plenty raw & will always be, that's what keeps it black metal. In the meantime, Satyricon is a band to be inspired by. The secret though is vocalist Satyr. A good songwriter but also a charismatic singer who you really need to just hear ... or see, to fully understand why.

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