The T 666
After a fair –if not great- debut album, legendary Norwegian black metal band SATYRICON came back with their sophomore record, “The Shadowthrone”. Therein one can start to notice some of the ideas that would be more fruitful in their third release, their masterpiece, “Nemesis Divina”.
The biggest difference between this album and its predecessor, “Dark Medieval Times”, is the quality of the recording, which allows the listener to understand the music more clearly and further helps Satyr’s good ideas to be appreciated. Although I wouldn’t love a totally-pristine and crystal-clear production for a black metal record (it would go against the genre’s principles and would erode the magic that the poor sound generates), when the music is more complex than average for the genre, as it’s the case with SATYRICON, the typical extra-low-fi recordings of black metal can hide some important details that, if heard, could elevate the experience to an even higher point of enjoyment.
This is exactly the case with this album, whose songs tend to be longer and more elaborated than contemporary bands of the 90’s like DARKTHRONE. On this album one can find choirs, keyboards and even some pianos. Anyway, not everything is perfect in the land of Satyr, Samoth and Frost. Glorious riffs like the one that would inform "Mother North" in “Nemesis Divina” are not here yet, even if some little sparks of genius can be heard. Some songs get lost in irrelevance when the music wanders off for longer than necessary. The sound of the record lacks that magic that was present on the debut and also on the third album whereby we were transported over cold forests and mountains overcome by a dense fog. Here, the scenery is diffuse, and, curiously, at the same time too immediate, too direct. A good work that deserves a listen but only after having visited the truly essential contributions of SATYRICON to the black metal genre: both the album that predates this, and the one that came after “The Shadowthrone.”.