Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mütiilation - Satanist Styrken (1994)

Satanist Styrken is the third Mütiilation demo, released in early 1994. The influence of the Norwegian Black Metal scene had grown so strong that the title of the demo, as well as one of the song titles, is in Norwegian. Strangely, the material is a step below the tracks from Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul, which was supposedly recorded during the previous year. Despite the drop in quality, the sound is closer to that recording than to the demos that preceded it, and the overall atmosphere is much more grim as well.

The first track is "Skoger av onde drom", which begins with a doom-inspired riff that carries a miserable feeling. This is followed by a faster riff that gives off a trance-like feeling, and seems to have some noticeable Darkthrone influence. The sound is muddy and several of the elements end up blending together during the fast-paced sections. The production is not much better than the early demos, but the musicianship certainly shows signs of improvement. The songs flow much more nicely, and there are less abrupt stops. Still, there are parts that seem awkward, though that may just be part of the band's charm. This song later appeared on the Vampires of Black Imperial Blood reissue, and the result is ten times better.

"My Last Night Among Those Times" follows this, and is very reminiscent of the material from their aborted 1993 full-length. The vocals are hellish and tormented, while the muddy riffs clog up the drumming like coagulated blood. Despite the low sound quality, the riffs maintain a dismal feeling and the tortured howls of Meyhna'ch suit the song. One can detect the old school Black Metal influence here, likely from early Bathory or even a bit of Hellhammer. It ends with a sorrowful acoustic section that adds a bit of depth to the track.

The next song is "Eternal Empire of Majesty Death", and is the only one from this demo to make it to the original version of the band's first album. The pace is a bit slower than what was later recorded, and the atmosphere is very lifeless and melancholic. The sounds give rise to many nightmarish visions, plaguing the mind of the listener and giving a strong push toward an untimely demise. The utter darkness that spawns from this song engulfs you in pure hopelessness and sorrow. While it is much clearer on the L.P. version, the dreary vibes are somewhat lost when compared to this one.

The demo wraps up with "Infernal Holocaust in the Mourning Dawn". This one utilizes a faster pace and maintains the raw and primitive feeling. The vocals are even more indecipherable, seeming kind of gargled in a strange way. The mid-paced riffs stand out and help to add a more subtle measure of gloom to the proceedings. Things really seem to fall apart near the end of the song, which represents a descent into the very depths of hell. The final notes are as ominous as a funeral bell, signaling the untold suffering that shall soon befall you.

Satanist Styrken is raw and mournful Black Metal and is a must-have for any Mütiilation fan. This demo captures their sound very well and gives a good representation of the band in their most creative period. Their sound had been well-defined by this point as they had fully established their identity and artistic direction.