Satyricon Now, Diabolical

The two-man slaughterhouse comprised of metal stalwarts Satyr and Frost have returned for yet another instalment after a four-year recording absence following 2002’s Volcano. Though nothing spectacularly novel, Now, Diabolical sees the band progressing naturally, edging towards a more melodic and focused modus operandi. With fewer theatrics and aimless droning, they’ve matured into an almost radio-friendly version of themselves. This is hardly a bad thing in their case, as they write songs well enough to keep the riffs flowing, interweaving them in such a way that one cannot help but be compelled by each song as a whole. The blackened melodies themselves are usually quite momentous and always repeated enough to enthral even the most passive listener. Many strange noodling harmonics reappear throughout the album while the more dramatic instances play out as if the song couldn’t possibly survive without them. Still clinging to the Scandinavian occult themes, they’ve upped the ante with better playing and even better sound quality. Produced by Satyr, every frequency of the intricate musical amalgam is rendered audible, giving the overall sound a robust quality that highlights the ambiance they’re aspiring towards. There will definitely be many disbelievers when it comes to the friendlier, easy listening direction Satyricon have taken, and though it may be not be top ten material, it’s a pretty damn good listen. (Century Media)