Monday, November 21, 2011

Satyricon - My Skin is Cold EP (2008)

Satyricon does not have a great track record for EP releases. I'll grant them The Forest is My Throne demo re-issue on the split with Enslaved, but the later short players like Megiddo and Intermezzo II were seriously short on value: random assortments of live cuts, album re-mixes and cover songs which never amounted to anything. In truth, My Skin is Cold seems more like an advance single for the band's 2008 album The Age of Nero, which I enjoyed for its great mesh of rock-inspired, evil swerving riffage and huge tone, but many seemed to loathe for its admitted simplicity. However, they decided to expand this out with some bonus features, including two live cuts with added orchestra, and a pair of re-mastered tracks.

First, while they might be placed last on the EP, the live renditions of "Repined Bastard Nation" (Volcano) and "Mother North" (Nemesis Divina)" are the best of this bunch. Not because they really sound all that great from a stage recording standpoint, but just for the added layer of atmosphere that the horns create. It's not that they've been woven into the songs to create an extra level of complexity, but they sound so damned brass and percussive, especially in "Mother North" that it makes me wish Satyricon would record an entire album with them. As for the re-mastered tracks "Live Through Me" and "Existential Fear-Questions", they were culled from the LP edition of Volcano, and so do provide some value for anyone who doesn't own that. "Live Through Me" is creepy and atmospheric, with dire guitar progressions and a mixture of grimy and narrated vocals that work well within its lurching menace. "Existential..." is more complex in the guitars, but I found the grooves pretty weak, even with the warped Tom G Warrior impression of the vocals.

That leaves only the title track, which is delivered in a dryer version than the EP (seems that the synth strikes in the verse are missing, and I rather liked them). A good song, with a nice groove to it that well compensates for the simplicity of its structure, though the chorus loses a little of the bombast. Unfortunately, the My Skin is Cold EP gets cold-cocked by the double disc limited edition of The Age of Nero, which includes almost all of the material in the same form it appears here. If you don't have that, then this might be worth hearing once or twice for the re-masters and the two live orchestral tracks, and it's mildly more fulfilling than their prior EP Intermezzo II. But if you DO own that...then this is basically worthless. Ugh.

Verdict: Fail [4.25/10]

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