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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Nuclear Blast

We got a preview of this one on the INTERMEZZO ep, where "A Moment of Clarity" showed the direction Satyr and Frost were preparing to explore, and their cover of Sarcofago's "INRI" showed they were still very interested in the blast-ridden landscape of NEMESIS DIVINA. In fact I'd call their SARCOFAGO cover one of the most intense, brutal songs ever. And now the album, REBEL EXTRAVAGANZA, is here to show they have not disappointed. This is as different from past SATYRICON albums as DARK MEDEIVAL TIMES was from THE SHADOWTHRONE was from NEMESIS DIVINA, but like the aforementioned is very much SATYRICON.

Satyr's vocals are as raw and audible as ever, and Frost takes the luxury of all-out speed drumming throughout REBEL's sixty-four minutes. "Tied in Bronze Chains" is the ideal introduction to Satyricon '99, with its restless exodus from one section to another in areas of manic speed as well as more pure metal sounding sequences somewhat like "Unholy Forces of Evil" and "The Call of the Wintermoon" by IMMORTAL. "Filthgrinder" thrashes through its duration, and Frost keeps up some rather unique beats to go with the unrestrained blasting. "Havoc Vulture" and "Prime Evil Renaissance" show even more exploration - but not experimentation. This is not the product of someone merely trying to set themselves apart from an homogenous scene, even if it was a direct inspiration. Satyr knows what he's doing, and even approaches his lyrical themes in a fittingly abstract fashion. "A Moment of Clarity" is re-recorded here, and this time you hear Frost's blasting much more prominently. The album concludes with "The Scorn Torrent," where all the elements get their final twist before the song culminates in a FURIOUS speed exit - Frost FLIES, a three-plus minute blast with no rolls, no pauses, no nothing but machine gun fire.

A trio of quick atmospheric/ambient type tracks are spread throughout, but probably only account for all of five minutes and work well for what they are, giving Satyricon a deeper three dimensions. They've also made another big step away from their past by all but discontinuing the use of synth, though honestly I didn't even notice until I read a review. This guitar-driven SATYRICON works well, and sets them above and apart from their contemporaries.

5 Perplex Skulls

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This review copyright 1999 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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