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True And Mighty Norwegian Black Metal - 91%

Razakel, June 28th, 2008

Satyricon and Enslaved are two bands with a similar history. Both bands began their career with classic black metal that has secured them a legacy in the genre. This was true, under-produced, and beautifully golden music that has been embraced and remembered by fans of the early black metal scene. Now Satyricon and Enslaved make more accessible music with catchier riffs and choruses and very crisp production. This release concerns the two bands’ early days. Very Early days. This split release contains Satyricon’s second demo, The Forest Is My Throne and Enslaved’s second demo, Yggdrasill.

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. This gloomy passage was the conclusion to the original pressing but for this split re-release they recorded another song, The Night Of The Triumphator (which isn’t a real word). 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.

The latter half of this split consists of Yggdrasill by Enslaved. Like Satyricon, the sound is not unlike their debut album which would come out two years after this release. The production is significantly poorer on this demo though, nearly to the point in which it effects the music, but instead I think it adds to the overall sound. This is considerably lengthier than Satyricon’s portion, clocking in at just over forty minutes, it’s a wonder they didn’t release this as an album. The chaotic sound and production takes some getting used to. This definitely isn’t a good starting point for black metal, try some early Darkthrone and see if you can handle that first. However once you are able to appreciate the music, it is more than rewarding. Enslaved waste no time, and open with some drum rolls and then some buzzy guitar riffs whisk you away on an epic adventure to the northlands. The speed on this release (Heimdallr, for example) is quite impressive for such a band that was so young at the time. This is especially showcased on some rapid guitar solos featured on almost all of the seven songs. A notable exception is the interlude, The Winter Kingdom Opus I: Resound of Gjallarhorn which is a short and melodically beautiful piece of work which leads nicely into what might be the strongest offering here, interestingly titled Enslaved. This is a nice reflection and summary of what this demo was; fast, brutal, and relentless black metal for true Vikings!

So what we have here is a real treat. A great chance to get your hands on some hard-to-find demos that were the starting points for two great bands. If you’re a fan of true, raw, and blasphemous black metal I strongly recommend seeking out this split. I highly doubt you will be disappointed.