Troll - Neo-Satanic Supremacy
Napalm Records
Atmospheric Black Metal
10 songs (41'14")
Release year: 2010
Napalm Records
Reviewed by Alex

It is often said that something new is a well forgotten old. In the case of Norwegian Troll this well forgotten old is of actually rather recent vintage. Troll is the band of Stian Arnesen, also known as Lex Icon while in The Kovenant, or Nagash when with Dimmu Borgir. The last I have heard a project with Mr. Arnesen at the helm, it was S.E.T.I. when The Kovenant has deeply shifted into electronic industrial direction. Turns out Troll is where Nagash cut his teeth in extreme music and his original black metal band. I have to plead ignorance to the band’s earlier discography, but the band has been on hold since 2001 before recently reforming to record Neo-Satanic Supremacy.

The reasons for Troll resurrection unbeknownst to the rest of the world, Nagash may have needed an outlet for the overflowing raw emotions, or was simply looking for another commercial outlet which what The Kovenant was morphing into. The truth will remain buried with Troll members, but it is, indeed, the decade or so old Norwegian black metal, the recent past, which Troll is unveiling with this album. Neo-Satanic Supremacy takes us back to when Emperor began introducing atmosphere in their music and Dimmu Borgir still played black metal, with keyboards, but without over-reliance on symphonic elements and orchestra.

Neo-Satanic Supremacy has this very familiar icy atmosphere, with guitars and keys joined in an eerie consonance. Synthesizers often open up songs on the album (Gå Til Krig, Mörkets Skoger), but decent guitar riffs are there to follow, the music presses and releases, as if a cold iron is pressed against the skin in cold weather, slowly peeling layers off until there is nothing left to peel. Mörkets Skoger grows hymnical, Burn the Witch takes on a macabre tone, speeding up into a big melody and symphonic ending, while Hvor Tåken Ligger Så Trist Og Grå espouses mystery and serene resigned attitude with astral flow reminiscent of when The Kovenant was simply Covenant. This is how the first half of the album will be remembered for me – recognizable, comfortable, well performed and not earth-shattering.

Beginning with the title track, however, Troll’s mood becomes more menacing, tracks grow shorter and harsher. Guitars now lead the way, not keyboards (At the Gates of Hell). Yet I can’t help but suppress a wink when Smertens Rike, just beginning to acquire that bestial quality, gets upstaged by the closer The Age of Satan with its silly keyboard sound. To be candid, nevertheless, Alt for Satan does throw a dollop of spiteful blackened thrash, with its jamming keys creating the impression of Lucifer awaiting you at his wicked ball.

Even though Nagash’s gut-ripping vocals are certainly possessed by the Devil, Neo-Satanic Supremacy creates the environment it is obviously shooting for only through its blasphemous English song titles (my Norwegian is still lacking to fully grasp the meaning of others). Otherwise, it is a well produced and skillfully executed Norwegian semi-atmospheric black metal, so if you miss Spiritual Black Dimensions, Neo-Satanic Supremacy will provide a refresher course.

Killing Songs :
Alt For Satan, Burn The Witch, Hvor Tåken Ligger Så Trist Og Grå
Alex quoted 76 / 100
Other albums by Troll that we have reviewed:
Troll - Drep De Kristne reviewed by Goat and quoted 90 / 100
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