Review Summary: An album that seems to just fly by lifelessly for much of its duration, with only a couple of bits that leap out
Satyricon are one of the best known and most influential bands to the black metal scene. Whilst they have more recently become famous (and infamous within their native scene) for selling out and moving toward more of a commercial style of hard rock music with black metal elements through their single K.I.N.G. , their is still no denying the impact their first few albums had.
They are a band that has released numerous albums to this date, and albums like Nemesis Divina are seen as being among the best in their ***ing genre. True Tier 1 black metal; black metal that inspired legions of bands to attempt to rip off the heavily Satanic, aggressive sound. By the time of the release of their fourth studio album however, it was clear that they were not going to stay with the black metal sound they had helped to pioneer before. This was a turning point for the band, in which they at times showcased more of an industrial influence, and even occasional signs of their hard rock sound that was to come seeped through. At face value, however, their fourth studio album is still rooted in their black metal style nearly from cover to cover, and it is just a few moments that show what would come later to them. The vocals from Satyr are still the ***ing high pitched shrieks many love from the band, the hyper-fast blast beats and lightning quick tremolo picked guitar lines are present and correct, there are just certain niggles in their sound.
It is sadly the incorporation of other elements that ensures this release does not live up to their past works. Whilst the black metal riffs on songs like the ten minute opener sound nice and full of energy, the slower portion in the middle of that track does this release no favors and completely ***s this album over. The hard rock beats that seep through at times are probably the most annoying thing about this, however, and makes you wonder what was going through the bands head.
This is also a release that is over-drawn to the point of becoming boring. It clocks in at just over an hour in length which is far too long for a release of this nature. Whilst Satyr's vocals in particular sound cold and angry as always and command attention from cover to cover, some of the tracks are just too long. Of the ten songs here, only three or four are fine at the length they are, two could have been cut in half and one could have been axed entirely to help this release flow a little better. The shoe-horned in guitar solo near the end of the opening song is one of the worst sounding things out there as the song fades out and really shouldn't have been an aspect that the band even considered using on a song like this, especially when it is ten minutes and is better suited to being four minutes.
Satyricon's fourth studio album is a mixed bag of an album that definitely has some good aspects but just feels too dull at times. Filthgrinder is probably the best song here, with its technically proficient guitar work and varied drumming with monster fills at the start, but this album in general is one that only die-hard fans of the band should check.