Now, Diabolical

Century Media
Reviewed by: Cosmo Lee
Reviewed on: 2006-07-05

Posted 07/05/2006 - 11:25:40 AM by meatbreak:
 Satyricon must be the only Black Metal band to actually court popularity and go out of their way to find a wider audience. I find this approach to such a marginalised genre appealing, amusing and positive - again, alien attributes to such a misanthropic, humorless cult of musicians. Satyr has never made any bones about his desire to be the biggest band on the planet and has tried to work his way up the billings of many large metal festivals that would not usually feature the blacker arts on their line-ups. He has succeeded, of course. With Volcano, they seemed like they were headed in the right direction for world domination, filled as it was, with dark grooves and danceable riffs - nothing to thrashy, harsh or occult. Fuel For Hatred really should have been a sunday tea-time charter, born from the purest rock and roll, then welded onto a menacing atmosphere. With Now, Diabolical, Satyr has insited on using the same, never changing, tempo for each track (not the whole album, different tracks, different tempos), and working with rhythm to create the effect of changing speeds. Possibly this approach has had a negative impact on the album. Whilst K.I.N.G., The Pentagram Burns and To The Mountains have a fair momentum behind them, Frosts drumming is never truly allowed to let rip as it has been before, and you can feel the guitars straining at the leash against the restraint Satyr has forced on them. Maybe this album is too clean and too restrained - a bit of dirt and impetuousness is present in the biggest arena filling bands, so it's not an element that needs to be left out in order to achieve that kind of status. But then, this is also the approach that gives this album an originality and freshness that is all to absent in most other releases of this kind – Black Metal of Norwegian origins. There is much repetition here, in the vocal elements as well as the guitars. Delirium for instance is the ultimate repetitive chorus, simply repeating the word over a simple slightly fuzzy riff that slowly bends, rather than shifts. The album serves as more of a languorous drone than any empire baiting hellstorm and maybe it is cynical of me to assume the whole conceit of this album is designed to shift numbers big time, but Satyr has been very candid about this, and it's also pretty clear from the development of Satyricon's sound these last few albums. This is by no means a harsh album, and if ever BM could get close to Pop, then this must be the closest it’s ever come.
Posted 07/05/2006 - 03:39:23 PM by cleric:
 I agree that BM is a very narrow genre with very narrow-minded people involved. No doubt about that. However, i have to disagree that change or branching out always means progress or an positive outcome. That may work with many genres, but not with black metal (nor would it work with someting like gabber). BM is settled on the very extreme axis of metal in general, with metal itself being pretty extreme. So a change for Black Metal can only mean that it moves towards normal metal. Something that already exists, so no need to branch out. Plus normal metal just sucks compared to black metal, so branching out is both unnecessary and damaging in this case. Black metal is only interesting when it has grim atmospheres, shrieked vocals, and raw production. Well the production doesn't need to be raw, but it helps. And when these things aren't there anymore, it just ain't bm anymore. It's thrash/speed/death/goth/whatever metal. Then at least call it by its name. And i say this from a pure musical point of view, i'm not at all interested in all that "true" satanic scene thing. If a black metal band wants to change their sound the way most did in the recent years, it is not a ideologic but a musical problem to me. Which again shows, that bm is dead (except for some obscure underground bands). But please stop calling this kind of music black metal than.
Posted 07/10/2006 - 06:39:19 AM by meatbreak:
 Yeah Cleric - I quite agree with everything you have said. Black Metal exists soley within its grim harsh noise, and once these have been smoothed out it really shouldn't be considered Black Metal - The problem with Satyricon is, that they are,resolutely, a Black Metal band, so what they produce should first be approached from a BM angle. After that,it can then be analaysed for what it actually represents in relation to BM, but Satyrs songwriting will always be rooted in BM origins, no matter how populist he tries to make his music. I imagine. Hopefully! I also 100% agree that most metal other than the Black stuff really is quite embarrassingly lame and juvenile rock posuring and bellowing. There is not enough appreciation of the subtlety and atmospherics that make Black Metal what it is ans what an important counterpoint it is to the rest of the metal community. Trust me - there are definatly plenty of true/real BM bands out there basing somgwriting on the original ideologies, with music that reflects that. You can hear they are not trying to copy the blueprint or base their work on it and take it somewhere else. I simply find it interesting that something close enough to BM as this Satyricon album is, is being aimed at a wider market - this is progress, if not the actual sound of the album.