Troll – Neo-Satanic Supremacy (Napalm Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Helmed by former Dimmu Borgir/current The Kovenant bassist/vocalist Nagash, Troll has been resurrected after an eight-year layoff with Neo-Satanic Supremacy. What was once was a one-man band (with Nagash doing all of the instruments, naturally), Troll has turned into a full ensemble, one that appears to be hellbent on resurrecting the ghost of Dimmu circa 1999.

Flanked left and right by keyboards (which have samples right from the Spiritual Black Dimensions album), Neo-Satanic Supremacy shoots itself in the foot by relying almost solely on this approach. On one hand, the crystalline production and mid-to-uptempo sprawl of the songs herein allows for some easy identifiable and enjoyable jams (see the lyrically lame, but awfully catchy “Burn the Witch”), but on the flipside, it’s this too-familiar approach that just reeks of late-90’s Dimmu and the Kovenant when they were The Covenant, for those of you who can remember. And these spots resulted in some of black metal’s leanest, post-boom years.

Bad, overly commercial black metal this is not. The razed and blast-happy attack of the title track and “Smertens Rike” (check out the lone guitar solo on the album, too) rank as album standouts. However, Neo-Satanic Supremacy is just one of those albums so reminiscent of a time and place that it overrides the proceedings. That time and place was when Dimmu was getting ready to strike, Emperor was fading, Satyricon was confused, and Cradle of Filth assembling the masses for the great black metal commercial boom of the 00’s. Had it come out during that time, Neo-Satanic Supremacy would be front and center.

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