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Satyricon - Biography


First appeared on the cover of 'The Age Of Nero'.




At the turn of the year 1991/92 black metal still seems to be unknown and non-existant to most people in Norway. Meanwhile, Norwegian underground activity is extensive. One of the very active and ambitious bands bears the name Satyricon, and is known to most people in the scene, although to ordinary people an absent phenomena. They make some rehearsal tapes for their own use, and in order to check response from others. That summer they record their first official demo, self titled. Determined to establish a name for themselves, they work aggressively in relation to the underground round and about in Europe. They sell reasonably well and end up with a sale of approximately 1000 copies. Internal problems in the band increase during the autumn, and some of the members are told to leave. Two out, one in. The latter is Frost himself, one of two who form Satyricon's basic platform. Inspired by a strong experience of enthusiasm and progress, the band develop new songs and lyrics. The song titled "Ravens black" is especially chosen to get record labels interested in their work. This was composed before unrest in the band had begun, but after the first demo. There is positive feedback, and the band is at the same time working together in order to develope both the music and the chemistry. This work gets completed in winter 1993, titled "The forest is my throne". At this stage the band is gradually beginning to form its own style and trademark. This demo is really well received and after sales have passed about 1500 copies the band just doesn't bother to print any more copies.

No Fashion Records in Sweden have been considering Satyricon for a long time, and they decided to sign them on. The bands' first aim has been acheived, and they are extremely satisfied. One has to remember that it's only during the last two years that it has been easier to sign a record deal than to steal sweets from a child.

Ideas are bountiful and many new themes come to light after dark. Some of the themes that started as minor creations, are further developed for use on album. Satyr writes lyrics about his facination for the middle ages and the atmosphere associated with the theme. Pure fantasies, longing, visions, death, darkness and the foul plague. Just before going into studio another member of the band leaves, which means that out of the original band members figuring on the first demo only one remains. Crisis? No, not really. Satyr and Frost are still there. These two are by far of most significance, both musically and ideologically. In the long run this strengthens the band... now there is a full commitment. With passion and enthusiasm they start work on their debut album, "Dark Medieval Times". Half way through the recording sessions the worst possible thing happens. The record company is short of founds, and the studio doesn't get fees in advance as per agreement. As a result, recordings has to bee stopped until payment is made. The companies assures Satyricon that the money will arrive soon. But it's out of the question to wait. Satyr and Frost put together both personal savings and private loans in order to finish off the recording. Satyr then travels to Grieg Hallen in Bergen to mix the album. After a couple of days there he decides that the job would be better done where he came from, and he returns home to mix in the same studio where they had recorded. Now they like it! Cassettes are distributed to various companies, and they get offers from a number of them. The offer Satyricon is most keen on is from a lable that doesn't want to change their release schedule. This would mean eight months of waiting. FORGET IT! So just by chance they come across Tatra who are highly impressed by the "Dark Medieval Times" recording and they buy the master tape. Bearing in mind the fact that this type of music is somewhat unusual for the avant garde label Tatra Productions, discussions commence around the possibility of releasing Satyricon under their own lable, subordinate to Tatra. That's how Moonfog began. What was meant to be a monicker separating Satyricon from other Tatra stuff, gradually became a label. When the album is released it gets embraced by the underground and Satyricon rapidly acheives status as one of the most important black metal bands. Right in the middle of all this there is enormous media focus on Norwegian black metal, and this has both good and bad effects. What people notice quite apart from all this, is that Satyricon has something that the others don't have. The dynamics, the long acoustic passages, the progressive elements and the lyrical and musical inspiration from the middle ages. In the course of time this album becomes a trend-setter for many bands. One started hearing stuff from others which seemed to be extremely similar to something one had heard before, something very close indeed! This was regarded as a compliment and a confirmation of the fact that what one had acheived was appreciated. Hard work and a serious attitude had paid off. Nor was the record company crying itself to sleep as a result of sales statistics. These turned out to be far beyond previous expectations. We choose to focus on the timespan before and including "Dark Medieval Times", since most people seem to find that period obscure.

The same period is also fundamental for what Satyricon has acheived today. Later we got the album "The Shadowthrone" which was kind of a breakthrough and was a step ahead in terms of musical progress. All the same, people didn't forget the past, and after enormous pressure from fans the demo "The forest is my throne" was released on cd/lp, in order to make it available to all those who had apparently not been able to get hold of it before. Following that again there came the third full length recording which lifted Satyricon onto a totally new level. Work on this album was unusually long and hard, and all aspects of development were intense. Such development was a natural consequense of the willpower invested in "Nemesis Divina". After "Nemesis Divina" the band still had loads of experimental stuff which hadn't been given room for expression. The result bears the name "Megiddo".

Satyricon has had alot of changes in session musicians, but the band, the platform, the backbone on which the band depend has remained constant: Satyr and Frost. And these two men are the clue to everything that has happened in the bands' history so far. Satyricon has strengthened its position as one of the most significant figures within the extreme metal tones, and has also reached out to a broader public due to its versatility.