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Avalanche - 91%

Felix 1666, March 22nd, 2020
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, Moonfog Productions

The peak of the Norwegian black movement is roughly 25 years ago. Today we have three types of black metal musicians from Norway. Some play in bands like Svarttjern that are doomed to stand eternally in the shadow of the national role models. A minority, - thank God a very small minority – falls drunken from stage and the last group has become its own parody. Satyricon have a tendency to the third category and so it is not easy to listen to their most impressive classic without a tear in the eye. Anyway, we are strong metal maniacs, right? Thus, we hold back the tears. So let’s start with the obvious highlight: “Mother North”, maybe the most famous song of Satyricon ever. The obvious highlight? Frankly speaking, it does not justify its outstanding status from my point of view. It’s a good track, maybe even a great one due to its pretty surprising twists and turns, its effective tempo changes and pristine Scandinavian mood. Yet I must confess that I never got used to some of the vocal lines. Especially the background vocals sound pretty terrible, powerless and crooked. To avoid misunderstandings, this is just one detail of a complex and well-arranged piece. “Mother North” scores with fantastic instrumental parts, an enormous depth, irresistibly fast sections and melodies that herald the triumph of a new force. In view of these advantages, it would be the best song on many albums, but it cannot compete with the real jewels of this high quality output.

“Du som hater Gud” has this demonic, hateful and hyper-fast sequence that comes from the deepest pits of true black metal. The song is somersaulting during its most rapid sequences and the fact that a piano takes the lead at the end seems to be an ironic twist of fate. However, this mix of background harshness and unexpected piano power works excellently. And what about the opener, the aptly titled “The Dawn of a New Age”? It comes in like thunder and lightning, a fiery weapon from the coldest regions of the North. This is really diabolical music, not the songs that were released under this name ten years later. The density and aggressiveness, both boosted by the professional, very intensive mix, make this song to a fanfare of the original Norwegian black metal explosion, regardless of its short soft break and the intermezzo with female vocals. The final line (“For the great day of wrath is coming and who shall be able to stand?”) summarizes the entire message of the song (and the album) perfectly.

What makes the ambitious, evil and majestic full-length a special one? Well, it is no unique selling point, but “Nemesis Divina” belongs to those outputs that combine a strong affinity for aggression, juvenile bravado and mature song-writing skills. Moreover, it marked the beginning of a new metal era, because works like this, “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” or “In the Nightside Eclipse” opened many doors for the fresh sounds from the top of Europe. And just like early Dimmu Borgir or Emperor, Satyricon connected melodic elements with harsh recklessness elegantly. “Forhekset” marks another prime example for this approach. Furthermore, its pagan melody at the end implies the many faces of the band. Satyr, the creative main man, shows the world his admirable potential (just to waste it afterwards). He produced the brilliantly sounding album and wrote all songs and (almost) all lyrics.

Okay, after having reached its zenith with “Du som hater Gud”, the following material is marginally weaker, if one might use the comparative of “weak” in a review of this milestone at all. But let me lose some more words about Satyr. His commanding vocals send shivers down the spine. He sounds like a wargod that commands the legions to die. While expressing total control and pure diabolism, he does not vary his pitch very much. Nevertheless, the overall impression is everything but monotonous – and the same applies for the entire album with its homogeneous yet multi-layered and complex songs. “Nemesis Divina” made clear: it is one thing to hold “only” good music, it is something different to trigger an avalanche. Yes, it was not the only initial impulse for Norway’s metallic emancipation, but it constituted one of the indispensable building blocks. Even the partly ambient closer adds value to the work while symbolizing the calm after the great, god-like wrath. You do not know the album so far? Rest assured, the title “Nemesis Divina” does not promise too much.

Pure evil incarnated! - 100%

The Clansman 95, May 21st, 2019

Satyricon are surely one of the most famous, but also controversial Norwegian black metal bands of all times. Their first three efforts, although true to the classic Norwegian black metal sound, retained some interesting and original influences, making up for three indubitably fantastic and timeless classics. Then, since the late nineties, they decided to move on and to start experimenting, throwing in a certain gothic contamination to their music, plus some minor influences coming from industrial and symphonic metal. While their later efforts are widely discussed and often harshly criticized by many, their "unholy trinity", consisting of their first three albums, is revered by each and every black metal aficionado alike, without exceptions.

"Nemesis Divina" is probably the most loved effort of the band, and surely it's also the best. The secret to the success of this release dwells in the above mentioned perfect combination of the true Norwegian black metal sound with a pinch of outer musical influences, in a way that stays true to tradition, while at the same time being able to incorporate original elements in it. This way, the music stays atmospheric and evil, but also extremely varied.

The combination is completed by the strong sense of melody instilled in each of the seven tracks the platter is made of, a constant for the entire duration of the album, something that will magically drag you back to listen to the whole thing over and over again. Examples of what I mentioned above can be found in "Forhekset", a song ended by a pure, awesome folk melody, in symphonic-influenced pieces like "Du Som Hater Gut" and "Mother North", where respectively the grand piano and the keyboards play a huge role in terms of atmosphere or even lead parts, and in the gothic-influenced "Immortality Passion" (whose brief keyboard intro is almost reminescent of a Nightwish song).

The keyboards hold indeed an important role in the album, and, in conjunction with the duo of electric guitars, are able to make each song progress and stay interesting, resulting in entertaining and varied compositions. For example, "Du Som Hater Gut" stays raw and black-metalish for almost the entirety of its duration; when the song is leaning towards the end and you don't expect it, the mood changes and the grand piano enters to play a lead melody, that feels totally unexpected but not forced even in the least. "Immortality Passion" starts in a gothic fashion, but as the song progresses, it becomes more gloomy and disquieting, complemented by the ever changing tremolo-picked riffs and the excellent vocal performance by Satyr.

This sense of progression can be felt not only in the tracks considered as identities on their own, but also in the album as a whole: indeed, the platter starts with a song that is the exact definition of Norwegian black metal ("The Dawn of a New Age"), to later shift towards the inclusion of elements coming from different musical backgrounds, and ending with an atmospheric instrumental piece. If you add the fact that the whole process feels as natural as the flow of a river, and that the folk/symphonic elements are so well mixed with the rest that this album doesn't lose even an ounce of his traditional black metal fashion, you can't help but praise the musicians for the amazing work they did here.

Going more in-depth with the music, I'll start saying that the guitar work is absolutely top-notch, inspired, evil, atmospheric and also quite technical, especially if compared to your average black metal band, with the guitars playing often different patterns that complement each other, and employing a wide variety of black metal features, such as the unmissable tremolo-picked riffs, the arpeggios, the particular chords used (dissonant, minor...) and so on.

The drumming is absolutely awesome, being relentless, brutal and fast, with lots of blast beats and a fantastic use of the double bass, and also capable of being atmospheric when needed, thus adding dynamics: it perfectly matches the songs' progressions, or even triggers the above mentioned changes/progressions throughout the tracks, being able to completely change the overall mood of the music. Satyr's vocals are absolutely evil and raw, probably some of the most malefic I've ever listened in any black metal album; the production is just perfect, and perfectly matches and enhances the music: it's raw and evil, without being lo-fi, making all the instruments perfectly audible (even the bass), with all the volumes perfectly balanced and a nicely distorted and sharp guitar tone.

Mentioning only certain songs seems rather unfair to me, as this kind of flawless album needs to be listened to in its entirety. However, I'll say that "The Dawn of a New Age" is probably the best track of the platter: it retains an extremely aggressive and quasi-apocalyptic feel (which was to be expected, since the theme of the song is Armageddon), and it stays absolutely thrilling from the beginning to the very end, thanks to awesome riffing, great and varied drum work and frequent tempo changes.

"Mother North" is another highlight and a real classic, being Satyricon's most famous song and featuring an interesting use of the keyboards and of the atmospheric parts, giving the track an epic, but also melancholic feel (the lyrics talk about the rage felt towards those who disrespect nature and abuse of it, and foresees that one day Mother North herself will hunt down and kill those who once disrespected her). "Immortality Passion" is probably the most atmospheric and trance-inducing track of the lot, while title track "Nemesis Divina" is the most evil one, and features a great guitar work with constantly-progressing guitar riffs, plus some guitar harmonies thrown in between, adding to the whole melodic feel of the album.

"Nemesis Divina" is one of the absolute best black metal albums coming from the Norwegian second wave, Satyricon's best work and an essential listen for any black metal aficionado; it's original, slightly innovative while also true to its roots, memorable, evil, atmospheric, varied and absolutely flawless. Recommended to any extreme music aficionado.

Majestic transition - 93%

gasmask_colostomy, June 21st, 2017

In terms of black metal, one does not really think of Satyricon among the frontrunners of the genre. Perhaps they might be in the list of the first 20 names that you would hear if the instruction was to blurt out as many Norwegian disciples as possible, though there are few who believe that the young Satyr and his group grasped the strict essence of the style with their early work, while even fewer will support his ventures into simpler directions under the name of black metal. That is, unless the conversation turns to Nemesis Divina. A weird fluke in Satyricon’s discography, this album seems to have come at an odd juncture for both band and scene, where the first major wave (I’m thinking of the one that kicked off with Darkthrone and Burzum’s debuts in 1992) had come to an end, the initial bloodlust had waned, and Satyr and Frost were shifting away from their medieval roots towards broader pastures. Despite sounding slightly similar to The Shadowthrone, this stands alone among the band’s work like a bright torch on a night time hilltop.

Indeed, within the album itself, ‘Mother North’ can be described in much the same terms, that song illuminating the surrounding landscape more intensely than the other fine compositions. I think it’s more the fact that ‘Mother North’ has become such a signature statement from the band that has garnered its plaudits, but although its actual quality is nothing outstanding on the album, the song certainly acts a totem of the Norwegian movement of the early ‘90s, capturing the whole essence of the style in an intricately grim six minutes. It's really the only song that benefits from the icy fuzz of distortion, while the progression of the music and backing details are of the species that allowed Enslaved and Emperor to put the other bands to shame on their first full-lengths, particularly the awe-striking keyboards and the flaring patchwork of the stricken main riff, not to mention Satyr’s scornfully longing vocals.

What this album is not, though, is one song only. Always attempting to push the envelope on each of their first four albums, Satyricon found a way to fuse storming fast riffing and Frost’s assault of blasting with some atmospheric and emotional scope, allowing Nemesis Divina to sound primal and incensed without losing its sense of magnificence. The daring piano outro of ‘Du Som Hater Gud’ is a spectacular reminder that one need not let anything stand in the way of ambition, even at the risk of recklessness; likewise the ending of ‘Forhekset’, which peels off from staunchly belligerent riffing into a folk romp that is as natural as it is catchy. Other songs are no less fluent in their transitions between sections, if not so thoroughly flamboyant, while the verve and momentum that the guitars give to the eight minute ‘Immortality Passion’ make neither the track’s length nor the meagre vocals an issue. There are glowing words to be bestowed on all the main songs, though ‘Transcendental Requiem of Slaves’ is a disappointing conclusion to the album, the instrumental being made up of too many disparate segments that, for all their skill elsewhere, the band cannot unite.

What raises this head and shoulders above other Satyricon albums, as well as most other releases in the extreme metal pantheon, is not its constituent parts but more the way they have been fitted together. Naturally Frost is relentless in his two-footed attack and more creative arm work, Kveldulv and Satyr’s riffing gleams with northern glory and vague intentions, while the vocals are relegated to a mere Abbath croak in the main, yet one feels most privileged to witness the weaving of threads throughout individual tracks and the resulting unity of the album as a whole. None of the jumps between styles occur as they did on Dark Medieval Time, no blind fury appears as it did on many of the early Norwegian releases, nor does the strength of the production inhibit the majesty of the atmosphere a jot. Instead, everything seems of the highest quality and the most meticulous planning, as if this were a revenge concocted on the principles of The Count of Monte Cristo, eclipsing theretofore unprecedented achievements of scope such as Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse by some margin.

As those last words suggest, I rate the songwriting of Nemesis Divina very highly and consider it a significant step in widening the division between traditional and progressive bands in the black metal movement, a rift which was beginning to appear around the time of this album’s release. It isn’t a perfect release, owing mainly to the blemish of the closing track, though the purely instrumental ambition displayed on the other songs should be enough of an incentive for anyone to experience this, not to mention the howling glory of Satyr’s ode to his home on ‘Mother North’. Nemesis Divina is almost as godly as its title indicates.

One of the best albums of all time - 100%

Myrkrarfar, May 12th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1996, CD, Moonfog Productions

By many considered the magnum opus of one of Norway’s most notorious black metal bands; “Nemesis Divina” delivers from the very first second. The cold, harsh soundscape of the guitars conjure up images of bone saws, while Frost pounds his drums with a somewhat dull, ominous air. Satyr’s croaking vocals enter with “This is Armageddon” and KA-POW (60’s Batman-style) we’re away on a blast beat journey through one of the bleakest, rawest and most mysterious visions of hell ever summoned in music form. The main riff on “The Dawn of a New Age” is based on one of mastermind Satyr’s trademark odd-period folkish melodies (with a twist), which make frequent appearances throughout the album.

The overall atmosphere of the album is very cold and raw, and somehow the melodies (which could rather easily become tinky-winky folk pop tunes) manage to sound haunting and twisted and blend really nicely with the harsher, dissonant black metal riffs. These two ingredients, along with Frost’s blast beats and mid-tempo patterns make up the meat and potatoes of this album. The gravy consists of some atmospheric clean guitar parts and potent bass lines; and to complete the meal we’re served a tasty beverage of Satyr’s grim voice spewing out his hatred towards Christianity as well as his passion for national romanticism (no, not in a Nazi way, fucko).

Though a blood red line is easily discerned throughout the album, there is plenty of contrast to be found here. Most tracks combine all of the ingredients mentioned above in song structures unorthodox more often than not; the one fairly one-dimensional track is the in-your-face blasphemous church burner “Du som hater Gud”, but even that song has an epic, melodious ending.

So we have all the right groceries and shit, and that in itself would be enough to satisfy a starving black metaller’s hunger, but what sets this album apart from 99.99% of all others is the cock. Sorry, cook. Must’ve been distracted by the hot guys in leather pants on the record sleeve waving their weapons about…rrawrr. Anyway, Satyr has done an amazing job at using the right riffs/melodies/parts at the precisely right time, in the right order and for the right amount of time to achieve something most composers can only dream of – a complete and whole big picture. An entirety where all details work for the greater good (or evil) and the end result is greater than the sum of its parts. I admire his sense of time, as for how many repetitions a riff needs to be played to create a sense of completion of the idea but still keep the momentum driving forward. Obviously, Frost’s nice fills and small beat adjustments chip in to keep the listener interested, but there is no question who is Satyricon. Read the name again and you’ll get a clue.

All in all, this is one of the best black metal albums of all time. In fact, this is one of the best albums of all time, all fucking categories and genres included. Every single track is killer; “Mother North” has, of course, emerged as the band’s unofficial anthem, but under-appreciated tunes like “Immortality Passion” and the title track will also crush a priest’s skull easier than Conan, and that’s saying a lot. What also speaks volumes is the fact that I’ve been listening to this record very actively since its release 21 years ago, and it still sounds as fresh and rejuvenating as it did the first time. Some shit just doesn’t get old, and on some rare occurrences, that’s the kind of shit that can be worthy of a perfect verdict.

Flawless and beautiful - 100%

BlackMetal213, February 3rd, 2016

"Nemesis Divina" was the first Satyricon album I had ever heard. I specifically remember seeing the music video for "Mother North" and thought it was slightly strange. Nevertheless, the song remained an all time favorite of mine and convinced me to give the rest of the album a listen. This album is often viewed as one of the greatest, most innovative black metal albums ever crafted, and I definitely agree. However, two years after this, Satyricon's musical direction would take a sharp left turn and they would never create music like this anymore. While I enjoy most of what this band has put out, their first three albums will always be their finest work. I have a hard time choosing this or "Dark Medieval Times" as my favorite album as they're both great, as well as "The Shadowthrone".

This album blends beauty with the chaotic nature of the classic Norwegian black metal sound. Songs like "The Dawn of a New Age" (the spoken-word female vocals in the latter half of the song are pretty damn cool) and "Immortality Passion" with their beautiful melodic, clean interludes and the classic "Mother North" truly give this album the right to be considered an essential classic. There is not one track on this album to be skipped. The music, such is the case with most black metal, is not all that technical. However the atmosphere and flow make technicality obsolete. Everything works seamlessly to create a hypnotic, beautiful atmosphere combined with amazing, rich melodies which could actually be described as bright and vivid. The guitars are amazing. As previously stated, I have a hard time choosing a favorite album when it comes to this and "Dark Medieval Times" but as I've said with the aforementioned album, this contains some of Satyricon's greatest guitar work. This can definitely be said about the instrumental closing piece "Transcendental Requiem of Slaves" with it's combination of distorted and clean passages alike. There are some really cool groovy, almost rock-inspired riffs within songs such as "Forhesket" that would eventually dominate Satyricon's sound on albums to come. Also, this song even contains a medieval folk-inspired piano section towards the end which isn't surprising, as Satyricon was definitely influenced by medieval themes during this time.

Satyr's vocal performance is, by this point, instantly recognizable to my ears. He sounds a bit different at this point but not at all in a bad way. He would carry this sound over to the band's following albums. He sounds evil and possessed here and it's really darn cool. I have no complaints about the guy's performance, as it is solid. In fact, I'd say here, on "Nemesis Divina", he gave his best vocal performance throughout Satyricon's entire album catalog.

With its beautiful, colorful, uniquely rich cover art and absolutely classic songs, "Nemesis Divina" will always be a true classic black metal album and remains adored by fans of Satyricon, as well as those who are quite disappointed with their following efforts. Whether you love or hate these guys for "selling out" or whatever, this album is still an amazing listen and I recommend it to any fan of black metal who, for some reason, may have not yet had the pleasure of hearing it.

"Úlfhéðnar, bare-chested for Mother North" - 97%

Qayn, January 14th, 2015

Generally considered one of black metal's greatest albums, "Nemesis Divina" presented various elements that were generally uncommon within the black metal scene at the time. This made the album a quintessential stepping stone on the road that would make Satyricon one of the most enduring black metal bands of the 90's and would make black metal make its next step. Satyricon's expression is in constant motion in "Nemesis Divina" and looking back on the release, it is evident that black metal found its turning point on the new elements of this record.

Released by now defunct Moonfog Productions on the 22nd of April 1996, "Nemesis Divina" was Satyricon's third full-length, after classics "The Shadowthrone" and "Dark Medieval Times". "Nemesis Divina" was recorded by Satyr (Sigurd Wongraven) and Frost (Kjetil-Vidar Haraldstad) featuring also a new addition to the lineup, Kveldulv, better known as Nocturno Culto (Ted Skjellum) of Darkthrone. The album also had guests Nebelhexe (Andrea Meyer) performing the spoken part on "The Dawn of a New Age" and Geir Bratland performing all synthesizer and grand piano sections we hear on the album. The whole group of musicians already had released several works, so this would be an album comprised of musicians that, not only had created some of black metal's most memorable albums but also had their minds set on creating something that would re-define the genre that they had pioneered years before. It should also be noted, lyrics for "Du som hater Gud" were written by Fenriz (Gylve Nagell) also of Darkthrone.

The first element that would set "Nemesis Divina" apart as something new would be its cover art - no longer do we stare at a "rorschach like" frame of black and white imagery. Corpse paint is no longer featured in the cover, there are no poses being made in a wintry landscape amidst a forest in flame's hue. Rich with color and symbolism, the artwork designed by Halvor Bodin and Stein Løken was breaking new ground, setting Satyricon on a path that would set them apart from black metal's well-established niche well before the potential listener would even ear the album.

Black metal by this point wasn't all about Satanism. The previous year, Satyricon's "The Forest Is My Throne" was featured in a cooperative released with Enslaved's "Yggdrasill", containing lyrics glorifying Norway's landscapes, myths and heritage. "Nemesis Divina" continued this tradition, not only embodying its cover art with symbolism but also making several statements during the course of the whole work, affirming glories from the north's past and enflaming anti-Christian mottos - "Nemesis divina splinten i øyet på jehova sager, Nemesis divina kniven i hjertet på guds sønn" can be taken from lyrics of the title song "Nemesis Divina".

Indeed the music within the album embodies a divine sense of retribution and a wrath beyond that possessed by any common man. Nemesis, is usually connoted to the concept of an arch-enemy, however it is also according to Greek mythology, the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to arrogance before the gods. Most practitioners of black metal implied that Christianity had impacted the Norse gods and traditions with extreme arrogance, and this usually fueled the anti-Christian themes of most of these acts, this release was no exception. "Nemesis Divina" truly stands as a beacon to these sentiments. Úlfhéðnar are described as "Odin's special warriors", men that were mad as wolves, these slayers of other men that were neither hurt by fire nor iron, these were berserker (now know as berserks). Snorri Sturluson, an Icelandic poet and historian that lived in the XIIIth century, believed that these mens' connotation as berserker, were associated with warriors that went into battle bare-chested, or "without armor" as men of Odin, and Satyricon truly stand bare-chested in their defense of Mother North.

The production values of the album also differs from what was common in the "Norwegian scene" of the time, no longer is the listener faced with a constant "hum" that would permeate the whole record, everything is clear, however keeping an aesthetic sense that is undeniably black metal in its aspiration and intent. The recording was made in Waterfall Studios, where Storm's "Nordavind" and Wongraven's "Fjelltronen" were also recorded. This previous experience has surely influenced the new approach that was taken in "Nemesis Divina". The same studio would later record Satyricon's "Intermezzo II".

From the furious blast-beats of "Mother North" to the piano sections of "Du Som Hater Gud" and the industrial elements found in "Transcendental Requiem of Slaves", "Nemesis Divina" provides its listener with a lesson on the defining aspects of black metal to that point, and hints on the future of the genre and what black metal would evolve to in years to come.

Originally posted on

A lone latern at the wake of Mother North. - 96%

hells_unicorn, November 18th, 2012

Often overshadowed by their larger than life contemporaries Darkthrone and Emperor, Satyricon was nevertheless able to carve out a highly esteemable position amongst the Norwegian ranks of the 2nd wave, offering up a raw yet grandiose sound that couldn't help but resemble a curious middle ground between the 2 aforementioned bands. It's a fairly strange marriage of sound when one considers that Darkthrone is widely know for their barebones simplicity and rigid orthodoxy, whereas Emperor took on an esoteric and wildly progressive take on things, perhaps being surpassed only by Enslaved in their level of technical extravagance. But Satyr and company somehow manage to make all the pieces fit together, and it culminates wondrously in their 3rd and magnum opus "Nemesis Divina", and album that can arguably be looked upon as the end of the glory period of the 2nd wave and a final aftershock following the turmoil that the scene witnessed in the mid 90s.

The friction between the two extremes that have influenced this album is unrelenting, yet masterfully contained and focused so as to hit the ears with a concentrated dose of auditory violence. At the very onset of "The Dawn Of A New Age", a slamming blow of frosty chords beat down the walls like Thor's hammer, in a manner not all that dissimilar from what was employed on "A Blaze In The Northern Sky", but unlike said early classic this beast piles on layers of keyboard sounds and is a good bit more technical in its riffing approach. It's not quite as fluid and blurred as Samoth's and Ihsahn's twin guitar assault, and even takes on a rugged thrashing character similar to Demonaz's work on "Pure Holocaust", but it definitely comes close to hitting the same pinnacle that was grasped on "In The Nightside Eclipse". If there is any downside to this song, it's that Satyr put it at the beginning rather than the end, since it pretty well sums up the overall character of the early 90s Norwegian sound.

The further things go, the deeper into the mystic ether the album proceeds, throwing a variety of differing musical devices that have since become staples of the genre. The intro of "Forhekset" conjures up future images of the sort of post-rock freeflow typical of Agalloch, though it is almost instantly supplanted by a battery of cold guitar riffs and chaotic drum work typical to the mid 90s sound. One area where Satyricon may have a slight edge over their intended objects of emulation (namely Emperor and Enslaved) is that they've gone even further into the through-composed realm, having contrasting ideas hitting the ears with even greater frequency than "Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk", not to mention that the closing section of "Forhekset" explores the folksy realm in a manner more befitting of Windir or Moonsorrow. It gets to the point that one has to resort to repeating the song before even getting to the next just to try and fully comprehend all the ideas that have flown out of Satyr's guitars and the keys.

The rest of the album follows the same general pattern of finding even more unique ways of confounding the listener's expectations while still sticking to a standardized formula, but the absolute zenith of the fold proves to be "Mother North". In much the same fashion as the spellbinding gloryride that was Emperor's "Into The Infinity Of Thoughts", this thing literally teleports all who hear it into a haze steeped forest of wonder amid the winter bitten mountains of Norway at dusk. The song itself cycles through a series of faster and slower sections, but the principle theme features a relentless blasting fury out of Frost that somehow surpasses Faust on the insanity factor, and adds an addition luster to the streaming tremolo riffs and majestic keyboard voicings. Poet Robert Frost penned in his work "Fire And Ice" that a cold death would be a less desired end for the world, but one would be easily swayed by this Nordic trio to think differently when considering the glory present on here.

Apart from a somewhat bizarre element of studio gimmickry on the last couple of songs that don't really seem necessary, this is pretty much flawless by the standards of 2nd wave black metal with a symphonic tinge to it, and by far the most compelling and astounding work that Satyricon has offered up. Anyone who was taken in by "In The Nightside Eclipse" and "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" will be easily swayed by this one, and I have personally even found myself preferring this slightly to the latter. It acts as something of a bridge that connects the next generation of bands such as Limbonic Art, Odium, nay even Darkspace to the grand tradition that was conceived in the 90s by Emperor, yet also acts as a reminder to the newer generation that the mystique of the style lay in its low-fi production practices, and it definitely exhibits the same tendencies that Darkthrone has continued to cleave to until this very day. "Nemesis Divina" is, for lack of any better description, timeless, and deserves all the praise it has received.

I was there when the hills were born - 93%

autothrall, November 23rd, 2009

Nemesis Divina is an album I truly wrestled with in the previous decade. Upon its release, many of my friends took to it instantly. It was one of the most popular black metal works among the (admittedly) small circle of fans at University, but I remained steadfast and unimpressed for years. For some reason, I just didn't grasp it...I felt it to be chaotic, disjointed and unmemorable. Ambitious, perhaps, but lacking that secret something.

In hindsight, I must have had a bit of a gray matter leak, because years later, as I was in a recording studio myself, "Mother North" came on the stereo during a snack break. I instantly recognized the song, but then, before indifference could sink in, it finally just dawned me. Damn. From that point on, I dusted off my hard copy and it re-entered my regular rotation, and it has since become my favorite release from Satyr and Frost.

Nemesis Divina is a lot of things. It's atmospheric. It's pretty complex (at least when compared to most black metal of the era). It's evil, but at the same time, majestic. It stands at that precise crossroad where the raw and wicked, unrefined sounds of the black metal underground met the larger studio budget works that were only being produced by a few bands of the genre at the time. This was a record which was nearly at the level of a Transilvanian Hunger, or In the Nightside Eclipse. And yet, it is more accessible than either, with a sensitivity for melody and light synth touches that add only a malleable depth to its bevy of savage riffs, which stuck at you like the pinions of ravens' feathers.

Better late than ignorant forever.

"The Dawn of a New Age" is fittingly titled, as a few lurching chords strike like red rays of clouded sunrise before the cry This is Armageddon.... and what follows is a beautiful, glistening nuclear holocaust of Frost blasts and well written guitars, like the infectious passage at the 1:50 mark. Satyr is assisted in the guitars here by Nocturno "Kvelduv" Culto, of Darkthrone, so it was only a matter of time before I submitted. "Forhekset" kicks in for a brief volley of acoustics before a truly leveling rhythm of hellish, thick melody. The guitars writhe below the verse and bridge, along a demonic current that transforms the heart into ash. As with most of the album, the synthesizers here are very minimal, used only to create an elevation behind particular rhythms, and never central. "Mother North" hardly needs an introduction, as one of the more popular Norse black metal tracks in history. The rhythm guitars bleed here, both the glorious lifeblood of the land. Sinister, biting like the wind, burdened below the transcendent synthesizers and clean intonations of the backing vocals. Even through its latter half, each new riff provides a desolate and thundering layer to the charge. "Du Som Hater Gud" features lyrics that were written for Satyr by the other half of Darkthrone, the immortal Fenriz, and the track is more of an eerie, straightforward black metal peace, still adorned with serpentine riffing and some fine piano touches near the climax.

"Immortality Passion" is festooned with symphonic bombast and warlike drum battering, over the sneer of gently crashing cymbals and a twisted, hypnotic guitar rhythm. The percussion and anthemic march of the bridge mark some of the more glorious moments on the album. "Nemesis Divina" itself is perhaps the most grim piece on the album, with Frost's calculated chaos and some jarring, sawing riffs that slice right through the ghostly atmospheric keyboards. The track picks up into kinetic violence, an excellent slew of riffs which conjure up the aggression of fast 80s speed/thrash. "Transcendental Requiem of Slaves" marks the closure to this epic beast, an instrumental with some lush guitar work that culminates in mesmerizing, hypnotic chords and synths that lead you off into the dusk.

Nemesis Divina is far closer to the style of its predecessors (Dark Medieval Times and The Shadowthrone) than anything the band has released since. While I'm a fan of their modern, black rock impulses, making for some vile grooves, I can't help but feel this album was the pinnacle of their output. The irony that the object of such initial indifference has grown into my go-to Satyricon record is not lost upon me. It's a damn fine record, and being wrong rarely turns out this well.

Highlights: The Dawn of a New Age, Forhekset, Mother North, Immortality Passion, Transcendental Requiem of Slaves


Satyricon's best! - 100%

deatmetaljunkie, November 11th, 2008

“This Is Armageddon!”; a fitting proclamation to the beginning of a landmark black metal album entitled “Nemesis Divina”. Satyricon, the warriors at the forefront of the Norwegian black metal scene have struck again with an album of staggering importance and true blackened genius. The core of Satyr and Frost are joined by another legend of the black metal scene in Nocturno Culto of Darktrhone on guitars. Together, the trio of black metal royalty created one of the best albums to come out of Norway and grace the metal world.

Satyricon waste no time blasting the listener into submission right from the start in opener “The Dawn of a New Age”. Once Satyr’s famous opening line is finished Frost begins his blasting like there is no tomorrow. Nocturno Culto’s influence is also immediately heard, as the opening riff displays a fast tremolo picked, darkly melodic line that would not sound out of place on a Darktrhone album. The guitars are especially outstanding on this song, since riff after riff are classic black metal parts. Satyr’s voice continues to howl like the cold Norwegian wind. The track speeds along until the halfway point where the entire band drops out, leaving a clean guitar with effects that plays a relaxing, almost trance-like line. Just when you being to feel at ease the band returns to their blasting fury with yet again another classic guitar part.

Then comes the colossal “Mother North”, arguably the band’s best song ever and one of the best black metal anthems too. “Mother North” provides the perfect balance between chaos and structure, melody and ferocity, and does so at such an epic scale that it puts most likeminded bands to shame. This song really exemplifies what good Norwegian black metal is all about as it has many components that build on each other to create a larger than life composition. This song, as with all the others on this album, creates the ideal atmosphere that black metal strives to achieve; one of epic proportions and bleakness. The amount of emotion and passion portrayed in this song and the album is also amazing. This song starts with another classic guitar line that is backed by Frost’s manic blasting and an epic synth section. The band then briefly slows down from blasting to let Satyr spew out his venomous rasps with a backing choral section, creating a majestic yet sorrowful atmosphere. The guitars, drums, and synth section continue to explore the epic and sorrowful atmosphere, alternating between mid-paced marching and full on blasting.

It would take too much time to point out every song here because they are all excellent black metal songs. The two tracks that I discussed were my favorites on the album, but there are no relatively bad tracks on Nemesis Divina. The quality of the material remains consistent and does not lose focus or inspiration over the course of the album. The way in which each song is great in its own right only adds appeal to this album because unlike their more recent albums, Nemesis Divina keeps your attention for the whole album without any effort. You are so drawn into the music that you can’t help listening the whole way through.

On this album Frost proves why he is one of black metal’s greatest drummers. It is an absolute treat listening to him song after song. He shows that he has excellent stamina with his lengthy blasting and double bass sections but knows precisely when to let up as to not dominate the other instruments or the song itself. His cymbal work and fills are both tasteful and plentiful, since he likes to mix things up and knows what wonders variety can do when it comes to keeping the listener’s attention. He knows what the song requires and varies his intensity accordingly, creating dynamic feelings throughout.

Satyr and Nocturno Culto both provide excellent guitar parts throughout the entire album. They play chaotic, flowing, darkly melodic lines that create a cold and unforgiving atmosphere. Not only are the riffs of the highest quality, but also the way that they are arranged only helps them stand out more. They evolve with the changing moods and build on top of each other to create something huge.

Nemesis Divina stands out as Satyricon’s crowning achievement and also one of black metal’s best albums for a variety of reasons. Three of the most highly regarded black metal musicians banded together and created the best work of their careers. The songwriting is excellent, creating big compositions that contain one great part after another. The songs seamlessly move from chilling fast parts to the slower atmospheric sections. The album flows really well from song to song, arranged in a way that keeps the listener’s attention. Satyricon were able to create a big and chilling atmosphere fitting of the expansive forests of Norway. The production of the album was very good at the time and sounded more like a cinematic soundtrack than something recorded in a cave. With its release in 1996, Nemesis Divina did not bring anything new to the black metal table, but it remains one of the hallmarks of the genre due to its excellent musicianship, songwriting, and atmosphere.

The end of an era - 100%

Algiz88, February 27th, 2007

What I mean by the topic is that to me this was the last interesting and important album from Satyricon. Even though I still buy their new releases the band dosen´t feel that important or interesting to me today. It is, to say it in a metal way, sad but true.

This album is a showcase of Norwegian black metal at its best as it has all the important parts. The atmosphere that dwells within the songs on this album is absolutely brilliant. Cold, grim and evil without disturbing the sound which is full and perfect for the material on here. There is no doubt that Satyr is one of the most talented songwriters to emerge from Norway and every song on this album is proof to this statement. Intellegent riffs and melodies arranged to create hymns of purest northern black metal. I am sure that there are purists outthere who cannot stand this album as it is very gentle to the ears but i say f**k that! The album is diverce but still very compact in a strange way. The fast and hateful parts perfectly complements the slower more bombastic or epic parts in a perfect manner. Also this is one of the few albums where keyboards are used in a sensible manner which means that they are never allowed too much room. The voice of Satyr is absolutely brilliant in its strange mix between Quorthon and Abbath. I guess that you already know but still: Frost is as always brilliant hammering out the hatred with a never ending strength. This album shows that he is a talented drummer that can play within ranges of black metal and that he is more than a static blast-machine.

To end this: "Nemesis Divina" is a mandatory release for any black metal metal fan outthere. This album has something for anyone no matter if you´re a Mayhem or Emperor-fan. It has brute strength and hatein songs like "Du Som Hater Gud" and it also have bombastic/epic numbers like the classic "Mother North". In other words this album has it all. If you do not own it already you must buy it now!

One of Their Best! - 90%

ict1523, October 7th, 2005

Satyricon has always impressed me by their ability to produce great-sounding black metal without sounding repetitive like many other black metal bands. They vary their melodies, riffs, even the vocals seem slightly different at times. This album definitely represents this very well.

The album starts off with "The Dawn of a New Age". The song starts off rather calmly and even with some keyboards and after the first vocals, "THIS IS ARMAGEDDON", the song explodes and the riffs that follow the next few seconds are truly excellent. The song remains bombastic throughout its whole. The melodies also change toward the latter parts of the song. A black metal classic.

"Forhekset" a shorter song clocking in at only 4:31, starts off very nicely with some acoustic guitar and a nice sound effect before the heavy guitars and bombastic drums kick in. The melodies remain the same until about 2:40 when the song gets slightly more melodic and much more enjoyable. Satyr's vocals on here are also very well done. Not the best song on the album, but still great.

"Mother North" is truly an amazing song, has a very dark black metal feeling, more so than the rest of the songs, is heavy throughout, has great lyrics, great vocals, heavy guitars, continuing bombastic drumming. This is just a perfect black metal song, one of the best out there. Satyricon really has to be congratulated on this achievement.

"Du Som Hater Gud" is another relatively short song clocking in at 4:21. The opening riffs are simply amazing; they are fierce yet sound slightly melodic giving it the black metal feel. I love Satyr's vocals here, and its mainly because the lyrics are in Norwegian. Its very good when a band sings in their native language because it adds to the atmosphere and most of the time the language goes along better with the music than English. Another classic.

"Immortality Passion" starts off with a rather odd melody and some keyboards giving you a little feeling of evil which is exactly what it should be doing. Around 1:00, we get melodic riffs back in and some of the melody from the first few seconds of the song is heard. Absolutely perfect combination, this almost gives you the feeling like you are in some medieval castle with an evil Queen that wants to poison everyone in the kingdom, which brings me to another aspect of the album, Satyricon's music is very atmospheric, and it brings many images into your mind if you are listening closely, definitely another plus in my book. Almost as if Satyr wants to make us think.

“Nemesis Divina” starts off heavily right away with Satyr’s vocals being in Norwegian on this song too. While this song is very heavy and dark it fails to capture my attention as much as the other songs, although the riffs right after Satyr’s evil laugh at 0:40 are pretty great.

“Transcendental Requiem Of Slaves” is a very nice instrumental, not too bombastic, pretty melodic, it sets a very nice mood, and is definitely a great closing to a fantastic album.

Overall this is one of if not Satyricon’s best album. They have now lost focus on what made them so great, even though they are still a good band. If anyone wants to look into this band, you should listen to this album first as it gives you a good idea of what Satyricon is about. This is also a must have to all black metal fans.

Satyricon - Nemesis Divina; Black Metal Elite - 100%

deathkvlt, September 10th, 2004

Nemesis Divina has to be the best Black Metal album ever!

OK with that out of the way may the real review begin.

This has to be the most impresive piece of music I've had the pleasure of listening and believe me I've listened to a lot of Metal. Honestly I'm blown away by that album each time I hear it.

..... so how does it sound? Well my friends, Satyr and company have managed to create one of the most amazing Black Metal albums ever and for those of you who think that's easy your oh so very wrong, a Black Metal album involves not only good music and talented musicians but also a very special atmosphere that most of today's musicians just can't create; something that requires more than incredible technique, something special, something magical, something that Satyricon shure as Hell could do on this album.

This album could be described as a fast, agressive and epic Black Metal album with a lot of Medieval influences as well as some folkish ones, the sound is raw but it manages to sound clear enough so that it can be apreciated.

The band makes use of classic tremolo riffs as well as other techniques to create some of the most incredible Black Metal melodies ever, while the light-speed drums provided by Frost and the grim singing by Satyr help to create an even more agressive sound; on the other side the keyboards add a more atmospheric as well as a more epic touch to the band's sound helping to create a great balance between rawness and atmosphere, thing that makes this such an amazing Black Metal album.

Satyricon have created a masterpiece for centuries to come, nothing can compare to what Satyricon have created here (with the exception of Emperor's Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk album of course which is as good as this one), not anything released ever has the sheer power, grimness, hatred and coldness you'll find in this album, it has it all; want lightning fast drums? Frost shure knows how to deliver them; want epic riffs with beautiful melodies that will stick in your head forever? Satyr and Kveldulv (A.K.A. Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone fame) shure know how to make the word epic sound miserable with what they manage to do with their guitars here; perfectly armonised epic atmospheric keyboards you say? not a problem, and the voice? well I can only think of one word here....grim as hell.

Also the lyrics fit perfectly in this amazing album as well as the killer artwork and cover, what else do you want?

From the first track to the last one this is a masterpiece so I say buy or die.

Did I mention that Mother North is a fuckin' anthem?