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Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times - 89%

UnseenForces, December 14th, 2007

Although I am by no means a long-time fan of black metal, I seem to enjoy the earlier releases of the genre rather than the garbage labeled as "post-black", or the thousands of clone bands who have releases with production so poor that neither "lo-fi" nor "raw" suffice to describe how unlistenable they are. Luckily, I found this gem of an album after searching for recommended bands on Last.FM, and hey, the recommendation wasn't half bad!

Dark Medieval Times is a brooding, ambient exploration of the very nature of black metal itself: to be as grim and depressing as Hell itself. The production is quintessential of black metal albums released in the early 1990's; the guitars sound extremely raw, almost like chainsaws to the ears. However, they can be so low in the mix that at times (such as in Walk the Path of Sorrow) they just sound like a buzzing noise overpowered by Satyr's vocals and the keyboards. The riffs I can hear, though, are memorable and one may find them stuck in their head if they listen to this album enough. Another nice addition is the incorporation of acoustic guitars, which do not detract from this album's menacing atmosphere whatsoever. The bass almost seems like it isn't there, but at times you can hear it droning through (not enough for me to really rate it, though). Frost is a hell of a drummer, but actually a creative one on this album, since he doesn't turn it into a blast beat hell like he seems to on every other black metal album he has been personnel for (1349, anyone?). The beats are catchy and at times hypnotic, layered behind the keyboards and melodic guitar leads. Keyboard work on this album is top-notch and the vocals seem full of hate (in a good way). Satyr's voice reminds me of early Burzum at some points, but without the suck.

Overall, I simply have to recommend this album to anybody who likes black metal. I constantly find myself coming back to listen to it, even after the hundredth, even the thousandth time.