Friday, September 7, 2012

Satyricon - The Forest Is My Throne (1993)

Satyricon was never what I would consider to be one of the better Black Metal bands to come from Norway. When compared to the core bands like Mayhem, Burzum, Darkthrone, Immortal, Emperor, Gorgoroth and Enslaved, Satyricon ranks beneath every single one of them. While so many of the aforementioned bands seemed to be carrying the torch of old school Black Metal, while adding their own vision, Satyr, Lemarchand and Frost came off as having really no connection to the First Wave bands. In fact, rather than taking inspiration from the '80s, they seemed to be among the first that were influenced directly by their countrymen, instead. The Forest Is My Throne, released in 1993, is a prime example of this.

Musically, the first thing that comes into mind is Darkthrone. Of course, the songwriting is nowhere near as talented and fails to conjure up the same kind of dark atmosphere, but there does appear to be some attempt to follow in the footsteps of Nocturno Culto, Fenriz and Zephyrous. From the fast-paced tremolo riffs of "Black Winds" to the old school rhythms of the title track, this sounds heavily inspired by A Blaze in the Northern Sky. While one can say that Darkthrone were merely carrying on what bands like Bathory and Hellhammer started, no one can deny that they also added their own ideas to it and made something special. Satyricon just seems generic and unoriginal. There is hardly any point in mentioning the instrumental track, as its presence here adds absolutely nothing. There guys were not very creative and the music is clearly directionless. Outside of imitating their fellow Norwegians, it is obvious that they had nothing to say with this release.

The production is fairly raw and that is about the only positive thing that one can say about this. At least the guitar has a razor-sharp sound, which suits the first track more than the others. This sounds rather decent for a demo, certainly lacking the necro qualities found on releases like Wrath of the Tyrant or Under A Funeral Moon. The guitar tone is not too far off from that which would later be featured on the band's debut album, but the drums are much less clear and low enough in the mix to refrain from being annoying.

The Forest Is My Throne is certainly not essential. Its best selling point is that it includes at least one fairly decent song (by Satyricon's standards) that isn't drowned in synth nonsense, which gives a good idea of what the band could have sounded like. If you truly feel that you must have this, go for the reissue that also includes Enslaved's Yggdrasill demo. At least, that way, you'll get your money's worth.