’s 2008 release, “The Age of Nero” continues to bear the flag of old school death/black metal while draining the blood of their own brand of hellish doom throughout. Plus
, there’s more to this recording than it appears on the surface. While not overtly complex, there is careful evidence on a number of these tracks to suggest a conscious effort on the creators’ part to broaden the scope of their sound. The result is what can honestly be described as a better version of a classical style of extreme metal.
“Den Siste” illustrates the opening point very well. An epic song time-wise, a synthesizer track appears way in the background accompanied by an authentic horn section washing under the chorus. The length of “Den Siste” also affords a break that features a great drum and bass highlight. “Die
by My Hand
”, possibly the best song on “The Age of Nero”, also employs guest musicians to cover another synthesizer line, as well as a choir background, to give the overall vibe an evil, sacrifice-on-the-altar feel. Finally, “Black Crow on a Tombstone” features the only overdubbed vocal line in that song’s refrain, while “Last Man Standing” changes up one of the verses vocally with spoken word.
The main strength of Satyricon
’s songwriting on “The Age of Nero” is interweaving and/or linking two or three main themes within each song while running parallel to their designated parts. There are two great tracks that easily show this technique. “Commando
” blasts off with one of the fastest riffs on the album, but slows down considerably during the verses and slower still on the chorus only to call back to that same fast riff again by the end. “Die
by My Hand
” also has three movements; the first molto allegro with pounding double bass kicks, while the third provides great contrast with a crawling tempo and long, broad rhythm guitar notes.
The overall approach to “The Age of Nero” implies plenty of doom, both from the classical as well as the contemporary models to add varietal tone. The better tracks apply this mix, including “The Wolfpack
” (which has perfect head banging timing) and “The Sign
Of The Trident
” (which is not only the deepest in bass pitch, but also thrives on it’s slower than average tempo). This is not to say that there isn’t enough death. Satyr brings it on vocally with his own guttural, growling style while the drumming by Frost*
**** is ever-present in enforcing a most brutal beat (“The Wolfpack
” and “Die
by My Hand
” show some of his more exceptional work). Altogether, Satyricon
succeeds in delivering a very likeable form of death metal with “The Age of Nero”. It is without a doubt a most satisfying work.