Oct 10, 2013

Satyricon - Satyricon (2013)

September 9th, 2013
Roadrunner Records

The new album by Satyricon is the most controversial by them to date and everyone has been stating an opinion since the news spread, even from the first single they streamed before the release. Coming from a band with a twenty year history and heavyweight albums on their backs, they had made it clear that you can't really expect what to listen from them. Five years after The Age of Nero, which was also questioned by the scene for it's unclear dispute, while they where playing in fashion shows and not only, it seemed like the demise of the band was eating them from the inside. I rarely throw dirt on an album before I get an insight on it and despite the hate everyone except the well paid big zines was showing on this new effort by them, I was curious to check it out myself. I knew it was going to be different because that's what Satyricon do, they would never release the same record twice, their developmental nature is useful and neccessary, even though it has not always worked for them in the past.

When the first song "The World, It Rumbles Tonight" came out, I thought they were joking. It clearly is one of the lamest and most washed out tracks I have listened lately, so much that I couldn't even get pissed at it at first glance. I had hopes that the album would be different and I can now say that it is tricky, difficult to judge with a clear mind. Satyr has stated that he enjoys playing black metal and rock together and I wasn't baffled until I listened to this, understanding what he meant. Satyricon contains ideas never introduced by the band before . It is way slower and a bit mellow. Like a forgotten, harmless recipe for rock, with bland harsh vocals and no agressiveness at all. Judging from the band's latest photoshoots, they decided to become cute for the sake of money and that's what their music represents as well, a mediocre mainstream band that has misunderstood the meaning of evolution. Popular belief is, that Satyricon is full of innovation and personality just because no one else has combined two note hard rock with worn out black metal vocals before, definitely not an arguement to prove it's meager value.

No wonder they went that soft and aimless, with a grunge producer like Adam Kasper and misleading promotion with statements like "the eighth album of the Norwegian black metal pioneers". Seriously? Using their glorious past to desperately ask for attention is what gives the feedback to this band, whose album would already be in the garbage bin if they were newcomers. It's not the mixing and producing that fail, since the sound is polished enough and the instruments (especially the drums) sound quite natural. It's the songs that are weak and the pattern that has been followed in mixing them, which makes the whole album unfathomable and lifeless. I'm not complaining because this isn't another Nemesis Divina or something, but because it is bad on it's own. I was always resilient with them and supported them up until The Age of Nero, which had it's moments, but they have completely lost the way. This album is void of compositional power and foresight, something that characterized their previous albums. One can be easily fooled by it's warm approach, which is just a facet to hide the artistic imperfections that can be spotted everywhere on the album, from the cover art to the ten year old boy band riffs, lacking integrity and spirit.

Apart from the prosaic first single, other songs like Nocturnal Flare, Natt, Nekrohaven and The Infinity of Time and Space prove my point. Even for rock, they lack any strengh or quality, sounding as if some instruments are missing, like they were half-recorded. There is one moment that reminds of their early period, with the song Ageless Northern Spirit which has the title and the sound of something closer to black metal in the beginning, but sticks to being as unimpressive as the rest.  Phoenix, the track which features Sivert Hoyem of Madrugada in the vocals, is the one-eyed man in the land of the blind. I would hate it if the rest of the album was any good, but now it is just one neat song, which was composed relying on the included musicians rather than the actual content. Satyr does not participate in there at all, which makes it the track closest to actual rock off the whole album.

Middle-paced, nonthreatening, boringly emotional rock, like the Kiss version of extreme metal. They kick their fanbase right in the guts with this embarrasing record. I recommend you avoid this album, since it has nothing to offer to you. I get the feeling that this easy to go pop rock/metal was written in a couple of days, a sad presentation of a once visionary band that has been dead for a long time. It's members, pillaging on their own corpses, making me wonder even more how they will continue and I'm looking forward to their future albums, leaving them space for a deeper grave, the most likely scenario. Satyricon is no more.

DAMAGE: 2.0/10

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