Junior Battles

Toronto, Ontario

These days it seems that even the field of extreme metal – which by definition should be destroying boundaries instead of creating new ones – has become saturated with sub-genres, where minimal stylistic differences turn into criteria for what’s hot and what’s not.

And stylistic in this sense doesn’t even stop with music; it’s as much about fashion, image and appearance. Norway’s Satyricon Junior Battles are a rare exception to this norm – they never cared for trends, for the latest fashion in how one is supposed to present oneself and they always abhorred the tried and tested genre stereotypes. The result is a notable career, spanning eight albums that always put the music first, often as a surprise and challenge to the listener, which creates, we should all agree, a deeper satisfaction than any devotion to set formulas. And most importantly it is a career telling a great story about what an artist can achieve through strict adherence to his principles and ambitions.

Satyr, the driving force behind the band, never made a secret out of his plan to turn Satyricon Junior Battles into more than just the darlings of a subculture, but into a generally well-known and respected metal band. He’s been working on it for more than 15 years, and the results have been impressive. There is a strong sense of rejection running through Satyricon’s Junior Battles’ work: The medieval fantasy settings of the earliest releases quickly made way for bone-dry, pure emotion. This band is going to the essentials, they stripped away all ambiguous metaphors and developed a very refined sense for sombre, great melody lines and precise, overwhelming rhythmic structures courtesy of drum legend Frost, culminating in their critically acclaimed last effort “Now, Diabolical”.