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Black Metal…infamous and laughable in all aspects. While the culture does have many moments, only some bands break through the void to actually create worthwhile music. One of which was the likely couple of Sigurd (Satyr) and Kjetil (Frost), two young adults who would become pioneers in the genre. Over a year of culmination led to the spawning of Dark Medieval Times, the duo’s mysterious and sinister debut. One should know first hand that the atmosphere on this album is concise and dark as fuck; no fooling around. Another reason the album is somewhat scary is the fact that the lyrics are a complete mystery, as they were never printed for some reason.
The cover uses only white, black, and the correct shades of gray to display what we call the Middle Ages. “Walk The Path…”, the title track, and “Min Hyllest…” display strong atmospheric presence and are filled in with misty guitars and (pun coming up) frosty beats. The catchier and Metal oriented tracks include the title track and the last 3. There is also the use of acoustics and an assortment of folk instruments, notably on the title track and “Min Hyllest…”. This criss-cross use of lighter instruments and Black Metal techniques shows the views on Norway itself, elapsing between how Norway is to the rest of the world and to how Norway was “meant” to be. These elements will definitely make you feel like you’re on a journey through Medieval marketplaces, heavily forested trails, and dark paths within lands of evil.
Seriously, I can develop a concept off the top of my head for all the tracks, even though the album is a concept on its own. An example is “The Dark Castle In The Deep Forest”. The shriek of Satyr stirs up the tenebrous hordes, rampaging out of the forest to overwhelm the hidden castle. Progression leads to victorious succession, as the hordes begin to consume all in their path. No good-hearted soul is kept alive, and the forest becomes forever tainted by the black mark when Satyr’s flag of evil is raised. While this may seem corny as hell, it works. However, I will put my money on the title track, “Dark Medieval Times”, as the best track. This track displays both light and dark elements of Satyricon’s music while also showcasing uncommon styles of playing. The song opts for alternating Black and Hard Rock rhythms, brooding for a very catchy and accessible work of art; believe me, you’re gonna be bobbing your head to this one.
The synths, eerie guitar riffs, tortured screams and benevolent chants of Satyr, and the typical “Frost” drumming pattern which we all love make up pretty much the entire album. The bass isn’t heard so well, as production wasn’t so standard as they are today. Nonetheless, the production suits the album well and creates a superb atmospheric effect. Satyr provides guitars, bass, keyboards, and vocals, an incredible task for anyone who has experienced such stress. One should give Sigurd credit, as he manages to perform very skillfully at such a young age on his first record. Frost…shit what’s new about this ill motherfucker? He’s the dopest sidekick to have, and in Satyricon he commands the battery mid-tempo and simplistically, trailing beside the main melody of each song.
One thing to take note of is when to listen to this. To let this CD fully envelope you, I would suggest listening to it late at night (during sleep is best) when it is really dark. That way, you can allow the sorrow of lives during the Middle Ages seep through your ears, not only listening, but feeling the music. With that in mind, I urge you to pick up this album. Really, what better way to celebrate Halloween and kick off the bleakness of winter with Dark Medieval Times? …The Shadowthrone? Well, we’ll get into that one later…