Originally a trio, Norway's Satyricon, fronted by Sigurd "Satyr"
debuted with Dark Medieval Times (Moonfog, 1993), one of the albums that
codified Scandinavian black metal.
The first two songs (both eight-minute long) are actually mini-suites.
Within a few seconds minutes Walk the Path of Sorrow undergoes
a series of dramatic mutations from the symphonic overture to grindcore
frenzy to the serene guitar solo to the gothic choirs of the keyboards
to a more manageable "thrashing" rhythm with distorted guitar drones.
Dark Medieval Times is both less vehement and more melodic. The
usual fibrillating guitar distortion gets soon modulated into a gothic
melody, while the drums refrain from grindcore excesses and maintain a
steady beat. The first acoustic interlude introduces the folkish aspect
of the suite, reminiscent of
Jethro Tull. Suddenly the drums erupt
a super-frantic beat, but after only a few seconds a flute intones the
folkish theme in all its baroque lightness. After another couple of
sudden bursts of extreme metal music, both times inspired by voodoobilly,
the flute returns to complete its exquisite sonata.
The compact Skyggedans continues to explore the relationship between apocalyptic guitar riffs/drones and voodoo-inspired rhythm, while
Min Hyllest til Vinterland returns to folk music with a tender
flute and guitar duet (and the sound of the wind in the background)
and absolutely no drums or metal guitar.
The pummeling, scorching assault of Into the Mighty Forest,
ignited by vocals screamed out of Satyr's head, seamlessly bridges two
extremes: first when the keyboards repeat a simple funereal melody,
and at the end in a Black Sabbath-ian sequence.
The Dark Castle in the Deep Forest is the wicked satori of the
album, a satanic dance drenched in guitar noise, eerie choirs, atonal
organs, that picks up steam as it goes until it becomes a hurricane of
evil metal stereotypes.
The equally sinister
Shadowthrone (Moonfog, 1994) featured three more suites:
Hvite Krists Dod/ The Death of White Christ (8:27),
which is weakened by synthesizers, a spoken interlude and even a grand piano (towards the end);
In the Mist by the Hills (8:02), which features a memorable folkish riff but doesn't quite build on it,
Dominions of Satyricon (9:25), the epitome of black metal's
All in all, the best combination of dynamics and energy can be found in
Woods To Eternity (the closest thing to the debut album's folk-metal
fusion), and the oddest effect is the male choir in Vikingland.
Satyricon's most ambitious work was probably the seven-movement metal opera
Nemesis Divina (Century Black, 1996).
The Dawn Of A New Age begins the album in stereotypical death-metal
fashion, replete with agonizing growl, scorched guitar and blast-beat;
and after the acoustic interlude the degree of brutality only increases.
The magniloquent Forhekset relents a bit: the rhythm evolves subtly,
an actual guitar riff emerges (and eventually even a folkish dance motif).
A male choir towers over the majestic atmosphere of Mother North,
a further step back from the first movement's frenzy; and electronic keyboards
enhance the vision of the cold, somber soundscape.
However, Du Som Hater Gud regains the savagery of the beginning,
erecting a progressively more intense wall of noise (despite the rather lame
vocal performance). Ironically, it ends with a piano performing a folk theme.
Guitar and keyboards launch in a folkish whirlwind at the beginning of the
Immortality Passion, and the rest sounds like a set of more and more
extreme variations on that theme.
Nemesis Divina marks another peak of tension and electricity, another
dense and intricate wall of guitar distortions and epileptic beats.
The most intriguing piece is actually the closer, Transcendental Requiem Of Slaves, an ambient industrial metal hybrid that opens the gates of hell.
The vocals are certainly the weakest aspect of this "opera".
The real loser however are the keyboards, that are understated by the standards
of the first album.
This is, in effect, their harshest album, all about guitars and drums. It is
therefore even more surprising that the vocals do not contribute much to the
Rebel Extravaganza (Nuclear Blast, 1999) is a complex work, reminiscent of the most conceptual Voivod.
After a long hiatus, during which only two
EPs, Megiddo (1997) and Intermezzo II (1999), were released,
the band returned with a much more melodic work,
Volcano (Virgin, 2002 - Columbia, 2004),
featuring guest vocalist Anja Garbarek.
The album was the classic sell-out (the first sell-out of
black metal) advertised as "they didn't sell out at all".
With Ravenous Hunger and the lengthy Black Lava are cliches
for newcomers of the black-metal subgenre. Fuel For Hatred veers towards
more conventional hard-rock.
Ten Horns Ten Diadems (2002) is an anthology.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Marco Spagnuolo)
I Satyricon sono un originale trio proveniente dalla Norvegia che debuttarono con l'album Dark Medieval Times (Moonfog, 1994), uno degli album che codificò il Black Metal Scandinavo , seguito da un successivo lavoro ugualmente sinistro intitolato Shadow Throne (Moonfog, 1995). I Loro capolavori furono probabilmente i sette "pezzi" della monumentale "metal opera" Nemesis Divina (Century Black, 1996): The Dawn Of A New Age, Forhekset, Mother North, Du Som Hater Gud, Immortality Passion, Nemesis Divina, Transcendental Requiem Of Slaves.
Rebel Extravaganza (Nuclear Blast, 1999) è un lavoro complesso ricco di reminiscenze dell'album Nothingface (Combat, 1989) dei Voivod.
Dopo un lungo periodo di stasi, durante il quale pubblicarono solo due EP Megiddo (1997) and Intermezzo II (1999), i Satyricon ritornarono con un album molto più melodico dal titolo Volcano (Virgin, 2002 - Columbia, 2004), i quali si avvalsero della collaborazione della cantante Anja Garbarek rilasciando due brani come Fuel For Hatred and Black Lava. Quest'album ricalca un genere assai melodico e mistico ovvero l'Epic Metal che vede tra i suoi principali esponenti i finlandesi Nightwish in cui il canto(di solito femminile) è quasi trascedentale a volte fiabesco, epico appunto.
Ten Horns Ten Diadems (2002) è un' antologia.