SATYRICON - NEMESIS DIVINA - MOONFOG/CENTURY BLACK
There are two breeds of black metal bands roaming the nether world in 1997. The first breed is honest in its art. It understands it has to be black; it understands it has to be metal and commits itself to this cause. This is where bands like Satyricon, Ulver, Immortal and Impaled Nazarene belong. On the other hand there exist mediocre second-raters like Arcturus, Evol and virtually the entire Greek scene (not forgetting the couple of thoroughly cheap Canadian clones wagging about either) which is best described by taking the 'b' off the 'black'. By all accounts Satyricon's last EP was a major disappointment and a let down for all listeners. That's why I am glad to write that the full-length is no disappointment and maintains the band's high standards which belong to the aforementioned former group. Those standards, for the wondering, are beginning to rival Immortal. The band does change pace and even introduces the keyboard for a moment, but assuredly it does not last and the band rises forth once again. A song like The Conquering knows no faults and it is by composing such arsenals that Satyricon is 'conquering' one and all. Now if I could figure out how the anti-black metal staff of Century Media justifies releasing this stuff on this continent... surely cash isn't a factor, is it? - Ali "The Metallian"
SATYRICON - NOW, DIABOLICAL - CENTURY MEDIA
Mysterious comma aside Now, Diabolical starts off with a promising opener and title track. Satyr’s aggressive vocals and the lyrics help the somewhat catchy but not necessarily heavy or fast take on black metal. K.I.N.G. comes off as a rock song at times, mid-paced and again minus the raspy vocals and lyrics it is surprisingly non-evil. Pentagram Burns’ title holds promise but names don’t make songs, as this is another pretty ordinary one that perhaps can grow on the listener if one listens to it a few times. New Enemy starts off with what is probably Satyr’s take on Type O Negative, but the song is somewhat rescued by higher tempo segments and some lively drumming by Frost. The Rite Of War Cross starts with a thrash metal era type acoustic intro before speeding up for a few seconds and the subsequent mix of speedy and heavy riffing are easily an improvement over what preceded it. The Darkness Shall Be Eternal is still just not very heavy, not a bad song but nothing spectacular either. Delirium is atmospheric at times and seems to have been slowed down intentionally in the recording process. To The Mountains is over eight minutes long and is back in the Type O Negative territory again, however one can classify its heavier and faster segments as classic black metal but none of it is ever overly convincing. The bonus Storm (Of The Destroyer) is totally another matter as it stands at nearly three minutes of brutal and unrelenting speedy death metal attack. It is a very out of place and surprising addition that lifts the whole album. Now, Diabolical, is, often, ordinary, and, surely, disappointing, to, many. - Anna Tergel