Satyricon - "Nemesis Divina"

Satyricon – “Nemesis Divina”

Satyricon - "Nemesis Divina"

Satyricon – “Nemesis Divina”

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“.

Satyricon - "Deep Calleth Upon Deep"

Satyricon – “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”

Satyricon - "Deep Calleth Upon Deep"

Satyricon – “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”

I’m not going to waste much time on this.

“Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is a terrible, and I do mean TERRIBLE, goth rock album by Satyricon, a band who was apparently, supposedly a black metal band at one incredibly brief point in their career. “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is obviously not that point, not by a long shot.

“Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is the sort of feeble goth rock you’d expect to find on Nightwish or a random later Moonspell record, minus the production values and at least marginally acceptable songwriting.

“Deep Calleth Upon Deep”, unlike those albums, is not merely shitty, generic and boring but borderline unlistenable for a multitude of reasons. The music sounds cheap, lame, forced, and pathetic enough that it’s amazing the band actually wrote and performed this music with a straight face. It’s even more amazing that Satyr would completely pussy out of the genre-swapping his band is so infamous at the last moment, and brazenly declare in multiple interviews that his newest “masterpiece” “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” was a “return to the roots” for Satyricon (absolutely hilariously, he seemed to have forgotten he already attempted that “return to the roots” gimmick on the previous, self-titled “Satyricon” album).

As general advice, whenever you hear that last sentence, about the “roots”, uttered by a band member or label representative, run, far away. Even further if the band/label in questions traffics in black metal, or wants to appear to do so.

“Deep Calleth Upon Deep” hits every direction of bad goth at the same time. You have weepy faux Victorian symphonic parts, goofy groove-laced angsty parts, and plenty of straightforward, awful goth rock in the Moonspell vein.

The songs are boring and go nowhere, but beyond that, each individual element is awful in its own way. The vocals are so powerless they might as well be spoken word. They are absurdly feeble, warbling on and off key like a midget standing on a stepstool trying to harangue his brethren into a revolution against the normal sized.

The riffs are nonexistent, mostly sticking to rote chugging and praying that the vocals, leads and/or other electronic effects will pick up the slack. Unsurprisingly, they don’t… the leads play exactly the same chord structures you’ve heard in every other goth rock band connected in some way to the metal scene where the more industrial effects just tend to clutter the background of the music without actually doing anything of their own.

“Black Wings and Withering Gloom” is particularly inexcusable, sounding like the soundtrack to a commercial for a cheap perfume line prepped by a resurrected Carmen Electra – fitting, as she was relevant for about as long as Satyricon – with its tremolo-effected guitars and easy-listening bass, but “Dissonant” is really bad too since it sounds like it’s going the hardest for a blackened death metal feel but somehow manages to arrive at miserable goth rock instead. Who cares, they’re all terrible.

There is nothing good about “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”. Nothing. I can unequivocally say that I have fundamentally wasted a part of my life by listening to this. “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is a terrible album and Satyricon are… Satyricon.

If they continue down this path, they too – like Watain, Dark Funeral, Dimmu Borgir and Deafheaven – will see their name become an insult metalheads will throw at each other between internet dick measuring contests.

Satyr, you have been warned.