|Classic Review: Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times|
|Dark Medieval Times|
Label: Moonfog Productions
Year released: 1993
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: June 17, 2005
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Dark Medieval Times
Rated 4/5 (80%) (40 Votes)
Wow. I have heard several Satyricon albums over the years, and I have always considered them highly overrated, especially after "Rebel Extravaganza" and the snooze-fest that was "Volcano". I wondered why anyone would ever idolize this mediocre band, and assumed it was just because they were there with the big second-wave BM bands during the explosion of the Norwegian scene in the early 90's. But I get it now, I completely get it, as this, their debut, is just fucking godly.
Amazing to think that Satyr was an 18-year-old punk when he recorded this. How could he get it so right this time, and lose it so utterly later? "Dark Medieval Times" is just about as perfect as a Black Metal album can get. Starting with the signature raw guitar sound and the blasting, Mayhem-styled riffs, Satyr added a flourish of melody, touches of acoustic folk music, and a traditional metal sensibility to create a sound that is simultaneously classic and groundbreaking. The music on here does not sound even a little dated, and a dozen years after it was released it still sounds almost progressive – that is how ahead of its time this album was.
DMT opens wide with the one-two punch of "Walk The Path Of Sorrow" and then the title cut, both of them 8+ minute exercises in epic Black Metal power. Rather than roar away at full speed, these songs are more midpaced and employ punchy, memorable riffs. The acoustic breaks are well-done and always fit with the song. Some of the riffs here are almost doomy or Sabbathy, and they make sure the songs are all memorable. I'd pick favorites, but I really can't, as the album is unified and must be taken as a complete entity.
For once, all the fans who told me I had to hear this album before I judged were right: whatever you think of Satyr's later direction for the band, "Dark Medieval Times" is a masterpiece of Black Metal, fully on a par with contemporary classics such as "A Blaze In The Northern Sky" or "Der Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" – though to be honest I think this is easily the best release among them. Classic for a reason.
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