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Gone are the days of the castle dwelling, corpse painted Norwegians we once knew as Satyricon back in the ‘90s. Their latest offering, Now Diabolical, is similar to 2002’s Volcano in that it is heavily rock n’ roll influenced with plenty of black metal flavour. It seems to be a sort of tribute to bands such as Venom or Bathory for arguably creating the genre of black metal. If you actually give the album a chance for a decent hearing before screaming heresy and betrayal you might actually be impressed with what Satyricon bring to the table this time around.
Musically Now Diabolical isn’t a whole lot different from Volcano, although it seems to be a bit more straight forward with shorter songs and simple structures. Opener and title track is a good mid paced headbanger with cool breakdowns and a catchy chorus. The following two songs, K.I.N.G. and The Pentagram Burns were the singles of the album and more or less carry on from where the first left off. I much prefer The Pentagram Burns as we are shown some awesome guitar solos from Satyr and it carries a dark atmosphere that reminds the listener of older Satyricon releases. Delirium is a slower paced song which nearly feels out of place but thankfully showcases some darkness to the music. The final two songs are clearly a treat for the fans. To the Mountains is an eight minute epic and Storm of the Destroyer is the fastest and most chaotic song present. If only the song was around five minutes longer it would sound like something off of Rebel Extravaganza.
Although Now Diabolical doesn’t capture the melancholic grimness The Shadowthrone did so well, atmosphere is something Satyricon haven’t lost. This impressed me because although the music is completely different, the messages and values of Satyricon remain. One thing that was a disappointment to me was the drumming. Having heard earlier releases from this band I know full well the ferocity and speed that Frost is capable of. Although full throttle blast beasts would sound largely out of place throughout most of this album, it is something that I missed nonetheless.
If you are a fan of this band or black metal in general and have not yet heard Now Diabolical I would recommend that you look into it. It may not be your favourite or theirs, as it isn’t mine, but it’s a good and interesting listen anyhow.