Satyricon – Now, Diabolical

Now, Diabolical, Volcano and The Age Of Nero by Satyricon form a triptych in a very weird way. All three albums are stylistically quite different from each other, but they share the same sinister feel and the band’s signature urge not to repeat themselves. Subject of this review is Now, Diabolical which represents another step forward in their ongoing evolution.

This time around Satyr and Frost decided to push for an even more stripped down and groove orientated approach. This results in a set of songs that are amongst the catchiest in the band’s entire catalogue. Frost’s drumming is mostly functional with very little blast beats or other technical trickery. The emphasis on Now, Diabolical is on solid songs, while maintaining the signature sinister atmosphere for which Satyricon is known.

Their new approach works very well, especially on Diabolical Now, K.I.N.G, A New Enemy and That Darkness Shall Be Eternal. Unfortunately, this album has some weaker moments as well. The Pentagram Burns and Delirium aren’t as good as their previously mentioned brethren. The quality of The Rite Of Our Cross and To The Mountains partly make up for that, but this album isn’t as solid as Volcano and it somewhat misses its choke-hold atmosphere as well.

Now, Diabolical has its share of innovative streaks as well. The horn section on To The Mountains really adds to the climax of that particular song and the use of subtle electronic effects gives this album lots of depth. The warm and clear production makes this album the most accessible Satyricon offering to date.

This album features some of the most memorable songs Satyr and Frost have ever written. For instance, Diabolical Now and K.I.N.G are almost tailor-made for radio airplay. It’s a high quality offering, but it somewhat lacks the overall cohesiveness of its predecessor. Now, Diabolical is a very solid affair. Nothing more, nothing less.

written by Raymond Westland

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