“Siege and Advance”
I was exposed to Satyricon back in 2006 when the single K.I.N.G. got released. A friend of mine told me to check it out and also check out the other new song the band had put out, called The Pentagram Burns. The last mentioned is a song I fell in love with straight away and up to this day it is still my favourite song by the band. Back then I had never heard anything in the vein of this melodic black metal style that Satyricon had developed. Even though this album leans more towards some kind of modern black metal since the core of the black metal sound are more, think the other term is more fitting, since they continued down that road as well.
It’s been some years since it has been released and I have grown very fond of the album. But of course subjectivity comes into play. The album has a rather rough production, even though this it not something that may strike you at first, compared to their later work, it is. If I had done this review prior to 2008 my opinion would more likely be different.
Compared to the successor this album proves to be more evil in its sound and also vocally. A thing it shares a bit with “The Age of Nero”, definitely is the dark sound, but as the darker sound took over on “The Age of Nero” and I think the black metal roots are easier to hear on “Now, Diabolical”. That may make it more easy to listen to if you’re a black metal fan and prefer the stuff done in the ’90s, if not, I can describe it as a harder version of “The Age of Nero”. Through some tracks, for example The Rite of Our Cross, the band uses some slower riffing played in the likes of a more atmospheric sounding guitar to kind of give some of the song a kind of haunting feel and sound, and it works really well.
Satyricon have the ability to pick out some really good covers from time to time, the only cover I don’t really like is “Rebel Extravaganza”. A cover I really like from the bands earlier days is “Nemesis Divina”, even though “Dark Medieval Times” also has a splendid cover, “Nemesis Divina” is more relevant since Per Heimly who was behind the work of that cover back in ’96 was also employed for the artwork of “Now, Diabolical”. Since it is the most recognized cover from the band, at least when I look back it is fair to say a good job was done for this cover, and I think it looks great, but you be the judge of that!
Songs I would call fourth from this album are K.I.N.G., The Pentagram Burns, The Rite of Our Cross and To the Mountains, but it is worth going through the whole album. Even though it contains some really good gems and my favourite song by the band the production and consistency of the album just can’t match “The Age of Nero”. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t get your hands on this record. It is worth every penny.