This was my first black metal CD. I didn’t really have much idea what to expect from a full length of this particular genre. I had been foolishly lead into believing that bands like Dimmu Borgir were about as black as you got. I now realise that that could barely be further from the truth. Dimmu Borgir are far too over hyped and too well produced to be REAL black metal. So I embarked on a hunt. My hunt bought me far and wide to many different (cyber) places until I finally came to rest upon this particular album, The Shadowthrone .
The first few seconds of Satyr’s opening war cry was enough to tell me that I had now found “true” black metal. I was then pummelled into my chair as the full 8 minutes of ‘Hvite Krists Dod’ (which loosely translates to ‘The Death of White Christ) blasted by. I feel safe in saying now, I wasn’t overly impressed. There was far too much synth, the drumming was purely blast-beats (and some of it sounds like Frost has strapped a bean bag to the skin), and I couldn’t understand what he was even saying, seeing as the entirety of the song is in Norwegian.
The rest of the CD rolled by in much the same fashion and I’m ashamed to say I didn’t really take much of it in.
That was a few months ago now. I have given this CD many repeated listens and it has risen in my expectations and play lists. The opening track which I have just flamed is now highly respected by me and I’ve learned that all of those factors I mentioned above were meant to be like that. With this realisation I now love this song. My favourite moment has to be when the male choir comes in towards the end with their baritone voices to sign the track off.
‘In The Mist By The Hills’ starts in a rather boring fashion, with merely a distorted guitar playing a very simple riff, then what sounds like at least six people scream and the song begins in earnest. The riff continues but with the drums following in succession. Satyr then begins to growl away in English but it is still very hard to decipher because of his raspiness and aggression. The drumming is once again mostly blast-beats but it suits the music perfectly so that gets a thumb up from me and there are some good rolls and fills throughout, especially towards the end. The synth is once again very high in the mix, almost blotting out the guitar. But the guitars become prominent again when it needs to, so it’s all good.
The rest of the album continues in much the same vein as the opening two tracks, with some good variety within tracks. Good examples being ‘Woods To Eternity’ which has changing riffs and good acoustic bridges, and ‘Vikingland’ which has a male choir singing between Satyr’s frenzied Norwegian cries. It is worth saying; the tracks with Norwegian titles are obviously going to be dealt with in Norwegian, with the same applying for the English tracks (Remember: ‘Vikingland’ is not an English word, but it does have an obvious definition).
The album highlight is the longest song ‘Dominions Of Satyricon’. The opening is very bombastic with marching drums and everything else following their beat. They even found time to write a piano line just before the vocals enter. The song continues to stay varied like all the other tracks and Satyr’s compositional skills and imagination continue to impress.
All in all, I like this album. The bad production that is a trademark of black metal still bugs me however. It just lays a sort of permanent fuzz over everything and renders the vocals pointless from time to time because there is no way that anyone could make them out due to them being so quiet. The album does strike a good nerve with me though. It was my first black metal CD and definitely not my last.
Hvite Krists Død
Woods To Eternity
Dominions Of Satyricon
Excellent review Theo! Ive never really been into these guys and thats because they are just mediocre (even though I havent checked this album out, I will for sure because of your review). Just one question, give me one source that hypes up Dimmu Borgir. Ive never heard them hyped up before and I do believe they are black metal. They may not be the truest black metal, but they still have the melodicism and darkness that perfectly encomposses what black metal is all about.
great review. and a rather good album. amazingly good, compared to their latest album (which sucked, a lot).
btw, as for the whole Dimmu Borgir debate - it's nonsense. they _are_ black metal. they're just melodic black metal (a.k.a. poppy black metal). and I'm sorry, but calling Satyricon "real" black metal and not Dimmu - is bollocks. compare Satyricon to Gorgoroth, Burzum, Darkthrone, Mayhem or newer bands such as Anaal Nathrakh and Ruumisvaunut - and you'll find that Satyricon isn't all that raw.
but both Satyricon and Dimmu are good black metal bands, even though they aren't as extreme/serious as the above mentioned.
I said that Dimmu Borgir are melodic black metal (a.k.a. pop black metal).
look, everybody here aknowledge them as a black metal band. like the frontman of Darkthrone said:
"melodic black metal is like cake. but if you only were to eat cake, you'd not only get sick of it - you'd also get fat. somebody's gotta make the bread. bread is more important than cake. but I'm not denying that Dimmu Borgir is black metal... they're just not 'our' type of black metal. bread."
Satyricon's latest album is not even metal. it's freaking pop. just as the latest Cradle of Filth album.
They're a popular band, but to say they have anything to do with contemporary pop artists is absolute ludicrous!
Btw they arent in america and since america is the only country that matters, you lose.
that would certainly make the world a better place.
you should listen to Crotchduster (though they mix powerviolence, black metal, metalcore, gameshow music, space pop, dance pop, hair metal... I could go on for ages), they are teh sexxx.
Popular Black Metal and Melodic Black Metal are not synonymous. As such, if a Black Metal band were to reach some sort of fame by playing Black Metal, they would retain the genre label.
Dimmu Borgir, along with Cradle of Filth, reached popularity by dropping much of their "black" sound in favour of a more symphonic, and in CoF's side, gothic sound. What they play is not even close to being Black Metal, they're both now just Extreme Symphonic Metal, a term that makes me feel a little gay for saying.
Satyricon, on the other hand, went from a relatively traditional Black Metal sound (see: Dark Medieval Times) and got more popular by altering their music in favour of a more "Rock and Roll" sound, which is why they're often regarded, at least as I see it, to be "Black and Roll".
You tossing ludicrous claims about said bands being "Pop" or "Chart Music" are completely irrelevant, as you're obviously completely ignorant to the genre (and most genres) itself.
Indietrash, just give up. For all of our sakes. Keep your ridiculous and false ideas out of other people's reviews, because you've got people involved here that almost definitely haven't read the review yet. This Message Edited On 04.15.07