Satyricon are probably one of the most famous black metal bands in the world. They have released albums that became milestones in the Black Metal history. This duo is known for many albums and songs such as: Nemsis Divina, The Age of Nero and Mother North. However, their best album, in my opinion, is their debut album: Dark Medieval Times. This album is the greatest and most underrated Satyricon album: some people don’t even know it exists.
Genre: Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal
Lyrical Theme: Medieval Times (obviously)
Release Date: September 1993
Walk the Path of Sorrow
The song starts off with some weird voices as if coming from people at a ritual. After some time, there is “some kind” of symphony introduced and there are sounds that make it seem as if someone is walking. This “symphony” gets the listener into the atmosphere of the song; so suddenly it calms down and then everything kicks in! The atmosphere is so overwhelming and so haunting: the drums are so fast paced, the guitars have a fuzzy sound and the keyboards just embrace the music and give it a majestic feel. After that, the “distortion” calms down and the folk element of the album is introduced; during this amazing 20+ second piece acoustic guitars dominate the song, revealing Satyricon’s folk influenced. The song then transitions to different parts until it shifts completely to a different atmosphere, somehow sounding like a primitive symphonic Black Metal band. The song then ends with a sudden fade out that readies the listener to the next track.
Dark Medieval Times
Starts out directly with distorted guitars and drums. This song is more guitar/drums based, which is different from the first track that was mostly dominated by the keyboards. However, this song, like the first track, reveals more of their folk influences. Not only are acoustic guitars played on this track but also the flute! The song somehow reminds me of old Scandinavia and of the pagans that used to dwell it.
This is one of the relatively short songs on this album. It is also somehow a combination of the first and second track, since it has a beginning similar to Dark Medieval Times and the Keyboards also have an important role on this track, precisely when the song is half way through. In addition to that, there is also an acoustic breakdown. The acoustic breakdowns on this album serve as mood shifters, since they calm down the listener, acting as soothers.
Min Hyllest Til Vinterland (My Tribute to the Winterland)
This is an instrumental and it reveals their talent at making “folk” music. The music is so serene and so well-played and it truly shows how talented Satyricon are. They not only make amazing black metal but also impressive folk music!
Into the Mighty Forest
This song is the first song in the second half of the album. The second half is also somehow different from the first half in a sense that is more atmospheric and slow paced. The guitars, the drums and the keyboards are so hypnotizing on this track. The atmosphere is also so grandiose reflecting that of a “mighty” forest. This album in general, revolves around themes and elements that were associated with “pagan” Norway. In this song for example, the Forest is being praised and it is known that Pagans, otherwise known as “country people or villagers”, used to live in the country side and they used to “worship” the forest and find it to be mighty because of its humongous nature.
Taakeslottet (The Fogcastle)
This is the last song on the album and it is by far the most atmospheric of all songs. There are no vocals on this one, only whispers. The song starts out fast, but then the guitars and drums slow down. The song continues with relatively the same sound, until it speeds up a bit for about one minute. After that another acoustic breakdown, as in the previous tracks, interrupts the song and after that the song shifts. The music at the end of the song seems as if it is bidding the listener farewell, since it becomes even slower than the first part of the song. After that the song fades out slowly serving as an outro for the album.