The truth is that only a few people expected that Satyricon could manage to release a decent album. Starting from “Volcano”, when they changed their style radically, they had a series of mediocre records. Some very good songs still existed, but in general these albums had a lot of fillers and the debate about their style wasn’t if it was black metal but if it was metal at all. Especially in the self-titled that was released in 2013, they hit rock bottom.
With this in mind, I listened to their new work and for some reason I decided that it was also a piece of crap. Maybe because I wasn’t expecting of listening something that good. It just took a few more times to realize that finally the Norwegians did a great job. Their ninth full-length album has everything that the previous one didn’t. It’s darker, the songs are better structured and there are no more cheesy melodies to make more hits. It is clear that they put a lot of work to make something that it wouldn’t end up in a sloppy mess. Of course this is not “Nemesis Divina II”, these times belong to the past.
It also seems that they tried to release something that doesn’t sound the same from the beginning until the end, as they try a lot of different things like backing vocals, strings and wind instruments. Top moments are the self-titled, “To Your Brethren In The Dark” and the amazing “Black Winds And Withering Gloom”, a pure black metal song as the tradition of the frozen north dictates.
Basically, Satyricon managed to deliver a special album, surely the most different of everything they have done by now, shouting out loud that they are still here as musicians. I have to say again that I didn’t expect it, but thankfully it happened. Also, fantastic choice on the cover. It is a work of the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch entitled “Dodskyss” (Kiss Of Death) and dates back to 1899. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of a new era for the band.