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Ah, Satyricon those who would love you for ever more if you were to say “Lock up your daughters, here’s Satyricon!”. A band who’ve, once again, gone for the jugular shocking-all-of-us by forcing together black metal (or is that a black metal aesthetic at this point?) with more traditional heavy metal; that ever illusive mix that seems too good to be true. But perhaps it only seems that way because its practitioners happen to have lost whatever respect they had for either style when they decided that Metal Hammer photo shoot was just too good an opportunity to miss. While the value of Satyricon’s early work is still up in the air for me, personally, I’d hope we’d all agree that the band are doing their dwindling credibility absolutely no favours with this unfortunate wants-to-be-called-black-n-roll-but-sounds-like-Marilyn-Manson-got-Lords-of-Chaos-in-the-post garbage.
They’ve never been a truly respectable band, really, but I think Nemesis Divina was a relatively decent pop black metal album (think of it like Def Leppard’s debut, except for black metal’s second wave… and a bit better than the said Leppard album). Not something I’d listen to much, or admit to liking, but a nice enough album. But now, they’ve followed the stirring in their loins and grumbling bank managers, uh, sorry, artistic inclination to quite an astounding level of audience pandering. Yes, Satyricon are the black metal band your sister will like -- straight from her first listen, too, she’s not going to be scratching her head over what this funny noise is! No, Now, Diabolical is an album she’ll love from first exposure. But again, there’s got to be something in those band names, hasn’t there? The ‘Satyr’ part, yes, he’s a horny fucker -- a voracious appetite for all sorts of things; namely the sorts of things that lay betwixt the legs of young girlies, never mind the whole ‘integrity’ thing. Ha, you can almost picture the A and R man popping his head round the door after the girls and wine have all been finished off with… “Right lads, now… Diabolical! Let’s get a really intense take, here!” Can you smell phoned-in bullshit? I sure can. Way up in my ivory tower I think I can usually sense when a musician is bored out of their wits by that meddlesome music thing, or moreover, has other, extracurricular activities on the mind. Satyricon seem all too into this sex and drugs bit, never mind the rock ’n’ roll part; that’s just some distant, mid-tempo buzzing noise they’re not sure they understand. They had a better understanding of the other distant buzzing noise, what was it? Ah, black metal. Yes, they did… but unfortunately their understanding of either doesn’t really amount to a justification of the attention they’re still getting.
And what’s that? Oh, it’s the song’s main riff don’t worry about that, you’ll be hearing it more than enough times for it to be DRILLED INTO YOUR HEAD. Christ, Now, Diabolical may not have anything I’d truly say was a great hook but Satyr and Frost must disagree with me what with their nauseating repetitions. Nauseating repetitions. Sure, you’d probably find similar levels of actual black metal on a mid-90s Smashing Pumpkins record but that’s not stopping the lads from digging out some of its more dubious synth-brass sounds. Oh yes, keeping parts of your initial fan-base on board sure is important to expanding your audience. Let’s just hope some token blasting (‘The Rite of Our Cross’) and dubious brass-keys are enough to please, eh?
Well, not just that! Giving the fans the utmost value for money we have shitty, unbearably twee black metal lyrics. Can you smell phoned in bullshit? Oh, wait, I’ve already said that. Okay then, let’s think of a shocking theme in metal today: let’s say, National Socialism: an obsession with your own country and race, a fetishism for big black cars, strapping young boys in uniform, men with moustaches and being “amongst the boys” … er, actually scrap that, National Socialism isn’t all that shocking; homosexuality has been legal in western Europe for quite some time now and one can probably find similar fetish clubs in any major city in Europe or North America. Ahem, anyway, isn’t this somewhat cutesy “sing about Satan and nature because it’s what the older boys did” stuff? I doubt even if Catholic parents would get all flustered other this. For shame, Satyricon, just when you really giving Marilyn Manson a run for his money in the utterly boring drivel stakes, you can’t quite can’t make the leap to being true professionals…
Poor Satyricon, you’ve pandering and begged for every scrap from the big boys’ table. You’ve whored yourselves blind (never mind the funny contact lenses, you’ve got to spend money to make money!), and now you can’t even make the real leap into being major league whores. Alas, always the bridesmaid and never the bride! Maybe even In Flames will snag that big hit before you do. The horror! Oh, the horror!