Monday, November 21, 2011

Satyricon - Megiddo EP (1997)

Megiddo was released presumably to bridge the gap between their successful Nemesis Divina record and whatever would come next. Like most of Satyricon's shorter form works, it's a grab bag of random odds and ends that feel scattered and inconsistent, and also serves as a graveyard where their more 'out of the box' ideas go to lay their bones in the audio dirt for all eternity. The problem of course is that there's just not much to it, 20 minutes of material which in no way would have been good enough to include on one of their full-lengths, and doesn't fulfill the role of anything more than some sidereal curiosity. A freak show for the unwanted.

Like the later Intermezzo II EP, the star here is an industrial EBM piece, here a remake of "The Dawn of a New Age" by the once popular Norwegian electro group Apoptygma Berzerk. I liked a few of this band's albums, and what they've offered here is a near total deconstruction of the original, bringing in all manner of wild, unhinged beats and noises while mixing in some of Satyr's rasping. I wouldn't call it 'catchy', necessarily, and I don't really like the break into the clean guitars where it arrives, at least not until they layer in the electronic bass pulses; but at least it's something worth hearing once. The rest of the EP consists of a live version of "Forhekset" (from Nemesis Divina) which is adequate it a bit grimy and dry; a sort of go-go, industrial drummed cover of Motörhead's "Orgasmatron", in which the bland vocals do sort of drag down the more unique energy and ideas of the backdrop, like the doomy keyboards they added to the bridge.

And lastly, they've re-recorded one of their earlier tracks, "Dark Castle in the Deep Forest" as "Night of Divine Power". I suppose it sounds more polished in this incarnation, with a nice glint of the synthesizer shining through the arching, desperate melodic riffs, but I did not have so much of a problem with the original that I needed this redux. Really, that's the problem with this EP, just like so many odds and ends of its type. You've got a band hitting their stride of underground success, about to take it up to the next level, and the hype alone creates this thriving impulse for bands and labels to release all manner of ugly ducklings to scrape up a few additional bucks. I did think the electro piece had its promise, and there were a handful of decent ideas in the cover of "Orgasmatron", but these could just have easily been delegated to bonus tracks elsewhere and Megiddo would never have needed to exist independently. Entirely skippable.

Verdict: Fail [3.75/10]

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