SATYRICON – The Age of Nero

On their seventh full-length album, Norwegian veterans SATYRICON continue the path of “Black n’ Roll” they started ten years ago on their Rebel Extravaganza album. The lackluster “Commando” kicks off the proceedings with some promising speed and force before settling into a plodding, sluggish groove that goes nowhere fast. However, the band recovers with the next two tracks that offer catchy, albeit simple, driving rhythms that neither offend or challenge the listener. The Age of Nero finally hits pay dirt with the one-two punch of “Die By My Hand” and “My Skin is Cold,” in which the band finally mixes things up, offering a balanced attack of speed, dynamics, and tempo shifts. Unfortunately, SATYRICON loses momentum with the next songs offering little in the way of variety, instead meandering around with some bland, uninspired song writing and performances. Closer “Den Siste” brings in some atmosphere, and the use of trombones in a black metal song is unconventional, but it becomes a case of too little, too late. The Age of Nero isn’t necessarily a bad album, as much as it’s a safe, somewhat predictable affair, especially when one considers that this band was responsible for the incinerating Nemesis Divina album. SATYRICON has it in them for many more great albums in the future, but Satyr and company are going to have to mix it up with some variety and depth to their songwriting as opposed to simply rehashing safe, ok versions of a successful formula. (E1 Music)

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