"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Satyricon - "Satyricon" (CD)

Satyricon - "Satyricon" CD cover image

"Satyricon" track listing:

1. Voice of Shadows
2. Tro og Kraft
3. Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
4. Nocturnal Flare
5. Phoenix
6. Walker Upon The Wind
7. Nekrohaven
8. Ageless Northern Spirit
9. The Infinity of Time and Space
10. Natt

Reviewed by on August 22, 2013

"Although there are moments of old-school glory to be found on the band’s new self-titled release, for the most part, there isn’t much here that’s going to change the opinion of anyone who didn’t care for 'The Age of Nero' or 'Now, Diabolical.'"

Moving away from traditional black metal to a black ‘n roll amalgam, Satyricon garnered a fair share of negative reviews for its last several albums, as fans of the older style didn’t care for the drastic departure. Although there are moments of old-school glory to be found on the band’s new self-titled release, for the most part, there isn’t much here that’s going to change the opinion of anyone who didn’t care for “The Age of Nero” or “Now, Diabolical.”

“Satyricon” is a mid-paced to slow-moving exercise in metal for the majority of the run time, from the plodding marching beat that kicks off “Voice of Shadows” all the way to the folksy and atmospheric “Natt.” The album as a whole reaches far, far back into the days of yore when there weren’t as many sub-genre divisions, having a proto-metal aesthetic that brings to mind the fledgling works of a variety of long-running European bands.

The old-school feel, in both production and simple songwriting, results in an album that doesn’t feel like a 2013 release at all. That may be a selling point for some or a deal breaker for others. While fans of this sound may praise the “clean simplicity” or espouse the proper use of “space between the notes,” others may see as a total lack of those things that draw people to metal in the first place – fury, heart, passion, and energy. The simplicity by itself isn’t a problem, as there’s some truly classic metal from the ‘80s and ‘90s that is the very antithesis of technical or epic. The issue is that a good deal of “Satyricon” comes off as lifeless, as though very little effort went into it.

As should be expected by Satyricon at this point, there’s not an ounce of straight black metal to be found for more than three quarters of the release. That particular sound doesn’t really appear except for “Ageless Northern Spirit” (a mighty black metal song title if there ever was one!) and for segments of “Walker Upon the Wind.” The vocals across the album drop the black metal focus altogether, going deeper and more guttural, but with just enough of a clean edge to make the lyrics discernible.

An eclectic offering, this self-titled release has a range of sounds to offer, from the occult rock of “Phoenix” to the spaced-out doom on “The Infinity of Time and Space.” Unfortunately, much of it is ultimately boring, which can’t be salvaged by frequent stylistic changes. If releases from the very earliest days of extreme metal (back when black and death and doom weren’t as sharply defined) are still in your rotation, then the album may be worth your time. Otherwise, this is another Satyricon experiment that’s likely to disappoint.

Highs: Channels the feel of the earliest days of metal, and the album as a whole is eclectic.

Lows: Much of the album is simply lifeless and boring.

Bottom line: Satyricon goes for a simplistic and old-school sound on this self-titled album.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)