If a musician changes direction abruptly with little or no consent from fans, then two things are guaranteed to happen. New listeners will come in and your current ones will most probably get a proverbial slap in the face. It’s a very risky business. If pulled off correctly, an artist may be able to keep their current fan base and merely increase its size. If done incorrectly then soon enough that artist will be playing to about four people in dirty back-alley clubs. What could possibly drive an artist to make that kind of choice?
Money is the answer to that one. Having throngs of people queuing up to buy their latest CD is something most musicians dream about. Satyricon’s former style and genre, Black Metal, had no chance of entering the collective conscience because some people these days don’t really want to listen to harsh screaming from a load of sacrilegious church burners from Norway. I should know, I was one of them just a few months ago.
However, Satyricon is slowly seeping in, while still being defined as Black Metal. How can this be? Everything sounds the same in essence, so what’s going on?
What’s going on is that everything is not the same. Gone are the synthesisers, dark atmospheres and the fuzz of bad production. Even the vocals are weaker, allowing the lyrics to actually be listened to. The guitar riffs and drum patterns are definitely far more rock oriented and groove filled. The darkness is still noticeable but nowhere near as prominent as on earlier releases.
Take the single, K.I.N.G.
. The very simplistic riff comes in and repeats itself a few times until Frost enters on the drums playing a very simple beat. A few more seconds elapse until Satyr enters with the vocals. These are definitely Black Metal vocals singing lyrics seemingly about the devil and the apocalypse. The chorus is a duet done of course solely by Satyr, possibly making this song hard to perform live. The song gets rather repetitive towards the end but still, in my eyes, remains enjoyable towards the end. The drum patterns of this song don’t really do much for me, apart from the brief bass drum sections, but these are still no where near fast enough to be considered “blast-beats”.
A New Enemy
is an interesting song to note. It starts off slowly with Satyr gently talking the seemingly meaningless words. After this brief section, some excellent war drumming from Frost enters which really does sound impressive. After the second verse, He finally gets his chance to shine with some great double bass work that sadly does not last long enough.
The standout song on this CD is The Rite Of War Cross
. This is the song that goes furthest back to their roots and the will be the most familiar song to listeners of less recent Satyricon. Excellent drumming from Frost, simplistic heavy riffs and the angriest vocals on the whole CD combine to make a very competent Black Metal song.
Listeners looking to get into Black Metal with little or no experience need look no further. The Black Metal approach with hints of rock makes it an excellent entry point into the genre. Those who already like Black Metal and prefer their music raw and cold may have to take everything this CD has to offer with a pinch of salt. All in all an enjoyable record but change can be hard to take sometimes.
The Rite Of War Cross
A New Enemy