Seriously, was there ever a point in their career where Satyricon were even trying to play black metal? It seem they even managed to rope in Fenriz, so the “Nemesis Divina” album has got to be good, right? Right?
I mean, it clearly had potential.
But much like Satyricon were wasting away their prime black metal years by copying every other band that came before them, “Nemesis Divina” only ever manages to be a slightly less incoherent version of the “Satyricon Instant Black Metal Hit Formula” they would later perfect on the absolutely worthless abortion “Deep Calleth Upon Deep“. Repetitive chugging, generic tremolo riffs, insipid breakdowns, and even… pig squeals? On a black metal album? Were they trying to be like a proto-Watain – the band that pretty much set the standard for modern “blackened” deathcore (quite terribly if you ask me)?
Unflattering comparisons with Dimmu Borgir feel increasingly justified.
Let’s start with the music. It sounds like Satyricon were trying to copy the randomness of Enslaved and add “epic” and “melodic” riffs like Graveland. To be honest, it’s only pseudo-melody. There’s nothing melodic about alternate picking a few notes from the harmonic minor scale.
To make things worse, EVERY song sounds the same. They’re all just chugging breakdowns, minor scale pseudo-melody, and generic drumming. They even decided to throw in some pointless ambients in the mix (now that Burzum made it an acceptable “trend”), which do nothing in terms of building atmosphere.
Overall, “Nemesis Divina” is a very boring album. Nothing to make it stand out from the legions of “also ran” black metal albums from the late 1990s (literally the nadir of black metal). If you’re a die-hard Satyricon fan, you might want to listen to this album just to get an idea of what is usually considered the band’s “peak” – a very relative term indeed. Otherwise, I suggest you steer clear of this album, and prefer the much superior “Angel of Disease” and, hell, even “Fallen From the Brightest Throne“.