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The Forest is My Throne - 35%

Noctir, October 8th, 2012

Satyricon was never what I would consider to be one of the better black metal bands to come from Norway. When compared to the core bands like Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Gorgoroth and Enslaved, Satyricon ranks beneath every single one of them. While so many of the aforementioned bands seemed to be carrying the torch of old school black metal, while adding their own vision, Satyr, Lemarchand and Frost came off as having really no connection to the First Wave bands. In fact, rather than taking inspiration from the '80s, they seemed to be among the first that were influenced directly by their countrymen, instead. The Forest Is My Throne, released in 1993, is a prime example of this.

Musically, the first thing that comes into mind is Darkthrone. Of course, the songwriting is nowhere near as talented and fails to conjure up the same kind of dark atmosphere, but there does appear to be some attempt to follow in the footsteps of Nocturno Culto, Fenriz and Zephyrous. From the fast-paced tremolo riffs of "Black Winds" to the old school rhythms of the title track, this sounds heavily inspired by A Blaze in the Northern Sky. While one can say that Darkthrone were merely carrying on what bands like Bathory and Hellhammer started, no one can deny that they also added their own ideas to it and made something special. Satyricon just seems generic and unoriginal. There is hardly any point in mentioning the instrumental track, as its presence here adds absolutely nothing. There guys were not very creative and the music is clearly directionless. Outside of imitating their fellow Norwegians, it is obvious that they had nothing to say with this release.

The production is fairly raw and that is about the only positive thing that one can say about this. At least the guitar has a razor-sharp sound, which suits the first track more than the others. This sounds rather decent for a demo, certainly lacking the necro qualities found on releases like Wrath of the Tyrant or Under A Funeral Moon. The guitar tone is not too far off from that which would later be featured on the band's debut album, but the drums are much less clear and low enough in the mix to refrain from being annoying.

The Forest Is My Throne is certainly not essential. Its best selling point is that it includes at least one fairly decent song (by Satyricon's standards) that isn't drowned in synth nonsense, which gives a good idea of what the band could have sounded like. If you truly feel that you must have this, go for the reissue that also includes Enslaved's Yggdrasill demo. At least, that way, you'll get your money's worth.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

War Drums, Evil Sounds, Chicks Moaning: Awesome - 83%

WinterBliss, May 30th, 2009

Well for starters, Black Winds sounds a lot like the first two tracks of Darkthrone's A Blaze in the Northern Sky... A LOT like it, and seeing that they're dudes in the same circle and this came out a year later I wonder if Darkthrone ever had anything to say about this.

Moving on, Satyricon's demo boasts a surprisingly excellent production. The drums are full and alive (although Frost is nothing here compared to what he plays with 1349 and mid era Satyricon). Satyr's vocals actually sound evil and don't sound monotone and annoying like they do after The Shadowthrone. The guitars have this cool hazy/thin tone to them, something that I can't recall elsewhere.

As for the music? Well if you Like "Kathaarian Life Code" and "In the Shadow of the Horns" a lot like I do, then you'll enjoy "Black Winds." Catchy riffs with a sense of groove at times. I can ignore the "similarities" 'cause this genuinely kicks ass. "The Forest is my Throne" has a cool beginning (lightning's always cool) and is pretty damn good and still maintains that Darkthronesque vibe of headbangablity; where the song does stray is the unsuspecting and foreboding snyth that gets interjected somewhere along the middle. The haunting choir, cheesy, but cool, put together with a cool break in the drums and bass create a chilling atmosphere which explodes into a blast beat. It's cool to see Satyricon making genuinely interesting music, even making a chilling atmosphere. "Min Hyllest Til Vinterland" is a throw away, nothing's worse then a song of wind and acoustic guitars then a song with wind and boring acoustic guitars; I can see why Satyr stayed away from guitar on this release, and allowed others to play solos down the line.

"The Night Of The Triumphator" (making up words is not cool unless you're Lovecraft) starts with a clip of two girls moaning. The only reason why the intro is cool because you hear the guitars squeak and feedback as the player gets ready. This song showcases a very Celtic Frost style beat, as well as a riff from Mayhem's Deathcrush (listen at 1:46) and some cool riffs that don't really seem to Satyriconesque (3:02-5:00), this is probably due to the dude who's actually playing the guitar, Lemarchand (played in Ulver I believe).

Having not listened to this for roughly four years it's funny to come back to it and realize how unoriginal Satyricon were. More then half the riffs on this demo feel like they belong to other bands, notably Darkthrone, Mayhem, Celtic Frost. Despite the unoriginality, and the lame acoustic track I really like this demo. Satyr's vocals actually sound evil and the music itself is executed quite well, not to mention good production for a demo. Worth exploring if Norway's your thing.

A Grim Triumph - 90%

Razakel, September 4th, 2008

Let’s start things off with Satyricon. The Forest Is My Throne has a very similar sound to the bands first album. Raw production and fast yet melodic music. It opens on a very sinister note with battering war drums and deep horn instruments. After this short intro we hear an explosion of thunder and Black Winds kicks off into a fast, shredding black metal tune. Frost doesn’t seem as confident as he does on later albums and definitely isn’t as fast as we hear him on Nemesis Divina but his mid paced blasting is far from amateur. The title track features some awesome riffs from Satyr, as do all of the songs here. This track picks up where Black Winds left off, leading into a nice and fast piece of work. Min Hyllest Til Vinterland would later appear on Satyricon’s Dark Medieval Times debut but this version is a little longer. The Night Of The Triumphator (which isn’t a real word) is a great and vicious closing track. The first 50 seconds of this track opens with a sample that sounds like a woman experiencing an orgasm, suddenly Satyr gives out a cold shriek and the song erupts with some nice blastbeats and fast riffs. In the album sleeve Satyr explains that this song is dedicated to ‘the old bands of the genre’. The lyrics are also included in the inside cover and they seem to mostly concern killing Christians. Awesome.

If you're a fan of primitive, early Norwegian black metal, then this is a release you will want to check out. It is fairly easy to find as it was re-released as a split with Enslaved's Yggdrasil.