Ten Horns -- Ten Diadems

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Satyricon celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2002 with the ten-song Ten Horns - Ten Diadems retrospective, compiling tracks from its four full-length releases and three EPs, as well as a cut from forthcoming 2003 platter, Volcano. So while Norwegian black metal diehards will already possess most of Satyricon's output, Ten Horns - Ten Diadems is still a worthy addition to one's extreme metal collection: three crusty oldies ("Dominions of Satyricon," "Night of Divine Power," and "Taakeslottet") are notably remastered, and rendered far more effective than the original dusty, musty, and crusty recordings, which stayed true to the black metal ethic thanks to primitive, garage-worthy production values. Disappointingly, the previously unreleased cut "Serpents Rise" is less a song than an exercise in spoken-word atmospherics, and Ten Horns, strangely, isn't arranged chronologically (or logically, for that matter). However, the point of this compilation is to put perspective on Satyricon's accomplishments, which are notable in the extreme metal underground, if existing in the shadow of more visible outfits. Ten Horns proves that Satyricon exists in the headspace between muddy garage racket-eers Darkthrone and the more accomplished, highfalutin art of Emperor, Cradle of Filth, and Dimmu Borgir -- and while black metal bands tend to grope in the darkness of their caves for the ever-elusive "atmosphere" so necessary to their necro aesthetics, Satyricon has efficiently and effectively captured the chilly climes of its mother nation throughout its career ("Taakeslottet," the stunning "Forhekset"), and successfully mated that feeling with its ever-evolving musical and songwriting sensibilities (see the electro-industrial dabbling of "Filthgrinder," the psychedelic excursions of "Supersonic Journey," and coal-charred pseudo-riff-rocker "Repined Bastard Nation"). Like its compatriots in Enslaved, Satyricon still existed in the genre's second tier, commercially speaking (despite inking a deal with major label Capitol, which released Volcano), but this compilation drives home the band's relatively significant contribution to the black metal scene.

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