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Satyricon has changed, no more folk stuff or the ‘traditional’ Black Metal production, like in Nemesis Divina or Shadowthrone. When something like this happens to a band that has its name already carved in the scene (this is hard in the Black Metal scene, believe me…) a new record always bring something like “Oh, will this be Dark Medieval Times 2?” to the mind of all the fans, but let me tell you, this is NOT Dark Medieval Times 2, not Shadowthrone 2 and not Nemesis Divina 2, it’s Now, Diabolical, it’s the new Satyricon, get used to it. Satyr doesn’t want his band in the underground, he wants the spotlights. Can you blame him? I don’t, now it’s up to you to judge.
Well, let’s start by the name. Black Metal bands tend to be seen as the bad guys in music, that’s the way these bands try to gain mainstream status (okay, perhaps Dimmu Borgir just popped in your head…), but the name Now, Diabolical sounds kinda pretentious in my book, specially for Satyricon that didn’t named their records so obviously evil. Sorry, Satyr, but this is for Dark Funeral patterns…
Now, kids, let’s go to the sound? Yes! Production? Clean, clean and clean. That’s not a bad thing, but, as I see, if the sound were a little more Black Metal, the CD could be a bit evilest, cause songs like ‘The Pentagram Burns’ with its mid-paced riff would sound like Satan likes. Speaking of riffs… Satyr wrote lots of ‘em, in part they’re stoner riffs, like on the bridge in the title-track. It worked quite well in Satyricon’s sound; it’s good they add some new influences to their sound, though this is often bad-seen due to the ‘sell-out’ crap.
To the songs now, finally. I’ll try to describe them the best I can, since every track has a particular thing, I’ll not describe them generally.
1. Now, Diabolical: The title-track. Heavy intro with a very catchy riff. Frost as always, showing his skills with the double-bass. The entire song has bended riffs, very Iommi-like. The song itself is very head-bangable and has a nice, slow-paced interlude. To me what ruins the whole song is the chorus, it seems so obvious and cliché the “Diabolical now” screaming.
2. K.I.N.G.: Weird title, could be easily called KING, but I’m not Satyr, so…
Anyway, this song has the most commercial appeal, is by far the shortest song on the album, by far the most straight-forward, by far the simplest, the catchiest, this could go on for a while. The lead 2:33 is quite good; you’ll probably shake your neck during this one. Good song, period.
3. The Pentagram Burns: Cliché Black Metal title but besides that, this song is excellent, as I said before, if the production were a little poorer, this song could sound very evil (it actually does a little bit). It’s mid-paced almost all the time, doesn’t have any blast-beats and like almost every song on the album, this one has a very good interlude. One of the best songs in the record.
4. A New Enemy: This song starts with a moan (NOT Vikingland 2, okay?) and worked quite well, I must say. After the first 50 seconds you can hear the Iommi riffs again. The verse has fast drums and a good guitar riff. Good song.
5. The Rite of War Cross: Hmmmm, clean guitars in the beginning, that’s an improvement, but don’t expect to hear it for a long time, soon the distorted guitars starts to scream. Another surprise in this CD, a blast-beat! Yes, a miracle. This song follows the same pattern as the other songs: Intro, Verse, Bridge, Chorus, Verse, Bridge, Chorus, Interlude and the Verse, Bridge repeats a few times.
6. That Darkness Shall Be Eternal: The intro riff it’s a little dull, followed by Satyr doing a spoken part. Nothing much to be said about this one… Below average Song.
7. Delirium: This song has also an intro with clean guitars; it matches the song quite well. The verse has a good riff. What ruins the whole song is the chorus. Damn, to yell Delirium 900 hundred times followed by a spoken part in the middle? No, that’s made for hard rock or something.
8. To the Mountains: Satyricon loves to put the last track as an epic, and with Now, Diabolical is not different. This song has a special feeling, it has lots of tempo changes and has pretty dark riffs, a perfect closer. The main aspect here is that there’s not a pattern followed, like the other songs and the bended riffs are not here anymore, I guess Satyr wanted to leave the last song a little bit TRUER or as you may wish to call. One of the best songs in this record.
An advice, if you are open-minded and liked the two last Satyricon records, buy this one, you’ll not regret it. On the other hand, if you only listen to blurry Black Metal, stay out of this.