SATYRICON - The Shadowthrone 2LP
When it comes to pivotal moments in the evolution of heavy music, the Norwegian black metal scene of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s takes some beating for sheer audacity and contrarian verve. Most importantly, many of the records released during those tumultuous formative years have become established and undisputed classics in metal’s illustrious canon, and Satyricon’s extraordinary early works must surely rank among the most revered of all.
The first Satyricon album, Dark Medieval Times, was released in the autumn of 1993, through the young band’s own Moonfog Productions imprint. Recorded earlier that year, it was both instantly recognisable as the product of the thriving Norwegian scene and as something wholly distinctive within that superficially restrictive musical framework. Even more remarkable was the fact that the entire record had been written and performed (with the exception of drums) by a then 17-year-old Sigurd ‘Satyr’ Wongraven: clearly a prodigious talent with an abundance of epic and perverse ideas rattling around in his head.
Only eight months separate the creation of Dark Medieval Times and its successor, but the second Satyricon album showcased a huge evolutionary leap for its creators. Where the Norwegians’ debut had heralded the arrival of a furious new creative force, The Shadowthrone was an act of consolidation and refinement, as Satyr truly blossomed as a composer of artful extremity. Even in sonic terms, it stood apart from both tradition and trend, deftly encompassing both primitive, earthbound grit and a suffocating sense of otherworldly vastness.
Double black vinyl in gatefold cover