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Vee-King-Lond! - 100%

VinterNatt1785, November 14th, 2011

I'm not going to beat a dead horse and cry "oh Satyricon sold out, blah blah blah". The facts are the facts, and if they chose to move towards a more commercial style, then that's part of their evolution and I ain't losing sleep over it. What I can say is the early years of Satyricon did have four majestic cult releases that set a fire under the ass of many a metalhead, making arm and neck hairs stand on end and causing goose bumps aplenty. Yes, Satyricon has that effect on me every time I listen to them, especially "The Shadowthrone", which would be Satyricon's second full length. Most will say "Nemesis Divina" is their best and I'll say it was their high point, but atmosphere-wise "The Shadowthrone" beats it by a mile (or kilometer). In this review I will go by my favorite songs rather than the dreaded track by track.

First things first, the cover art is well-fitting and is simplistic in the fact that it pretty much describes "The Shadowthrone" by a picture of what appears to be a tree in a darkened forest and is on the back of the tray as well. A picture of Satyr taken by Fenriz on their mountain trip is on the back of the actual cover, inside is Samoth with a backdrop of ice-covered mountains, and Frost is decked out in corpse paint with a totally black background. The last page of the booklet is one of my all time favorite paintings (my first is Darkthrone's "Transilvanian Hunger's" "Ferdasyn") of a dark forest at night, the purple sky reflecting off the water and a Viking overlooking all of this. Why talk about all of this, you may ask? Well, the art is just as important to the music as the instruments are and the problem with a lot of "today's music" (cliche) is artists don't take enough pride in this alone.

Opening song "Hvite Krists Dod" is a akin to a blasting furnace with the fury contained therein. The icy coldness of Satyr's vocals, the frozen riffs played by both Satyr and Samoth (who handles bass as well as guitar), and the thunderous blasts of Frost's drums make this track a great way to open "The Shadowthrone"; nothing else will do. You really can hear the evolution take its course from where "Dark Medieval Times" ended and see why this alone makes "The Shadowthrone" a winner. The choir at the end of the song fits perfectly and doesn't sound corny, but dark and menacing. Also, the grand piano synchronizes with the riff extremely well so much so that still to this day I haven't heard better.

"In The Mist By The Hills" opens with a memorable riff which repeats constantly throughout the song as the tempo changes at times faster and others slower. Here is where we really see Frost shine through as a talented skinsman that no lie shall I utter and the blasts on this song destroyed my speakers in my Sentra, seriously. This is a very catchy song and it may take you only one or two listens to memorize the lyrics word for word.

"Vikingland" is my next favorite track at number four, and to some this is their least favorite. It is a rather short song for Satyricon, but it makes up for length in sheer power. Satyr's choir is present here just like "Hvite Krists Dod" and again is used sparingly yet enough to make an impact on the listener. Obviously "Vikingland" is Satyr's description of Norway and does have a very archaic feel to it. The point of these songs is to create pure Norwegian atmosphere and here it is definitely present.

My next pick is the next track, "Dominions Of Satyricon", and is one of my favorite Satyricon songs ever. The synth alone here is powerful enough to stand by itself and the opening riff follows it on point. The samples of wind also have an impact as well and again we witness the intensity of the fallen angel named Frost. This is one of the most epic songs by Satyricon and definitely the most epic on "The Shadowthrone". A very memorable song indeed.

The songs "Woods To Eternity", "The King Of The Shadowthrone", and "I En Svarte Kiste" are also very, very good songs and hold merit to me. "I En Svarte Kiste" is a great instrumental to end "The Shadowthrone" with and just as "Hvite Krists Dod" would be my only choice to open this album, this instrumental would be the closer. Well, here we have it, one of the best funeral synth and black metal albums created and, in my opinion, Satyricon's best album ever. If you're new to their work and would like a starting point, then start with "The Shadowthrone" as each Satyricon album sounds different and is a progression of their evolution. One of the many great Norwegian black metal releases anno 1994, "The Shadowthrone" is a keeper.