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Satyricon - "Now, Diabolical" (CD)

Satyricon - "Now, Diabolical" CD cover image

"Now, Diabolical" track listing:

1. Now, Diabolical
2. K.I.N.G.
3. The Pentagram Burns
4. A New Enemy
5. The Rite Of War Cross
6. That Darkness Shall Be Eternal
7. Delirium
8. To The Mountains
9. Storm (of the Destroyer)

Reviewed by on June 13, 2006

"you will find that this is not a great Black Metal album, but rather it is a great album period."

If a stripped down aggressive, yet ambient Black Metal is not your thing then do not read any further. If concise, identifiable chords, and lyrics that are clearly audible is not your cup of tea, then by all means exit this review and don't buy this album. But if this has sparked your interest as it did mine, then you owe it to your self to check out the Oslo based duo Satyricon's new release, "Now, Diabolical."

For years I have searched high and low for a band to replace Venom as my favorite Black Metal band of all time. In all due honesty that will probably never happen, but I have at long last found a group that I would be proud to place next to them in my CD collection. Satyricon was one of those bands that, before I received this disc for review, I had previously only had the privilege of hearing one track, "Fuel for hatred." This has it's advantages, and disadvantages; I was able to listen to this disc with none of the expectations that a hardcore Satyricon fan might have and therefore my opinions are unbiased and focused on this album and not how it relates to their back catalog. That being said, and all the P.C. disclaimers now in place, on with the actual review.

The very first thing that I thought after listening to this album was, "is it possible I have stumbled across the bastard offspring of Venom and Celtic Frost". The second thing I thought was I must now purchase as much of their back-catalog as I can find, because there was something different about this band it was like a bridge between black metal roots (Venom, Celtic Frost, Possessed etc.), which I love, and what today's Black Metal has grown to become. Something that - if I am being totally honest - contains some really good bands, but on the flip side of that statement also has a lot of unmusical noise within it. The riffs on "Now, Diabolical" are huge and at times have a sort of extreme metal groove to them that outshines its aggressive nature. This makes for a Black Metal CD that you can tap your foot, and bob your head to. That also helps the disc sound more musical and less sporadic, setting it apart from a lot of other releases in it's genre. "Now, Diabolical" is definitely not a CD that hides behind speed and noise, but rather stands center stage amidst great riffs and emotion-evoking ambiance. Some Black Metal bands almost become cheesy and ridiculous in their attempt to oversell Satan in their CD's. Satyricon, however, manages to sidestep that pitfall and concentrate on making a great well-written and produced album. If you look past the cover art and some of the song tittles, you will find that this is not a great Black Metal album, but rather it is a great album period.

Satyricon's new release contains many great songs, and surprisingly only had one track that I felt took away from the overall feel of the record - the blast-beat-infected "Storm (of the Destroyer)," which also happens to be a bonus track. It is not a bad track, but I just don't think that it fits in with the overall feel of the album, sounding almost as if it was written in a different era and then added to the record later. There are a lot of things that can be said about this album, but with the exception of one or two tracks, the one thing that can't be said is that "Now, Diabolical" is predictable, or typical.

Highs: This is a very raw and organic feeling aggressive album reminiscent of old Celtic Frost

Lows: A few more solo's, even if not technical, would have added a little more atmosphere and depth to the mix.

Bottom line: This is the album old school Black Metal fan's have been waiting for, and an all around good purchase.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)