January 9, 2018

Satyricon - Nemesis Divina (1996)


The originally conceived and intended Beowulf; the version your high school teachers never told you about--now narrated by Satyr with music by Frost and Nocturno Culto. Black metal always had a lot to do with pagan Europe, but Satyricon is the group that brought the middle ages and dark, inverted religion to the table with a war-scarred intensity. Compared to the other central Scandinavian albums, Nemesis Divina is big, epic, and romantic. Yes, In The Nightside Eclipse is sweeping and overwhelming, but Nemesis Divina puts a spear in your hand, a shield on your arm, and teaches you how to lead soldiers, starve peasants, and kill dragons. It is amazing how a couple of Tolkien inspired nerds could make an album this genuinely intense and picturesque. The lyrics--if you care to look them up--probably won't make you cringe either, and Satyr sings with a decently clear voice compared to other vocalists in the scene. This vocal style threw me off at first, but I quickly came to understand how it helps him dynamically on such a grand album. I believe Satyricon and Darkthrone were actually affiliates from before A Blaze In The Northern Sky, so it isn't surprising that Nocturno Culto joins the band for this album under the alias Kveldulv. The riffs are powerfully executed and I'm sure he's the one to thank (I get the sense that he probably contributed some melody and riff ideas as well). If you couldn't tell from the cover artwork, Nemesis Divina isn't some meditative or atmospheric black metal; instead, your experience is correlated to the amount of ferocious emotional energy you put into into your listening. Among the best Scandinavian black metal and perhaps the pinnacle of the melodic sub-style.

Sample

Nemesis Divina