Troll is the side project of former Dimmu Borgir bassist current The Kovenant vocalist Nagash (aka Lex Icon), but it also has the honor of being the first project he was ever involved with at the very young age of about 14. However, after the band fell apart it soon became his solo project and has gone through some various incarnations over the year. If one were to give Neo-Satanic Supremacy a cold listen, one would not every know that a major transformation had taken place in the band’s history. No, instead one would assume that Nagash had quit Dimmu Borgir to produce this very record. Because, well, frankly it sounds like the band circa 1998.
I often rip on bands for not developing or changing, but I think the opposite thing is at work here for Neo-Satanic Supremacy. Instead of “growing” and “moving forward,” Troll has produced a symphonic black metal album in an older style that still is worth listening to, an amazing feat in 2010. Instead of developing into the over-the-top things that we see from Cradle of Filth or Dimmu Borgir in their latter days, Troll is just good Norwegian symphonic black metal like you remember it. Sure, the songs on here aren’t exactly progressive, but black metal isn’t progressive.
Of course, the production doesn’t have any of the rawness and atmosphere that many black metal fans are really looking for, so it’s hard to know how the hardcore black metal types will take this album, I doubt it’ll be good, but the average fan of black metal will probably appreciate it for what it is. And what it is, actually, is a surpisingly catchy and smartly written album of symphonic black metal tracks. The songs are well-written, and while the lyrics might be a little cheesy at times (see: “Burn the Witch”), tracks like “Alt for Satan” and “GÃ¥ Til Krig” and “MÃ¸rkrets Skoger” are all totally excellent tracks that burn their way into your consciousness and stay there.
There aren’t a lot of bands that can really pull something off like this these days and Troll does it very well. I really enjoyed this disc thoroughly through-and-through. It’s a great length, clocking in at 41 minutes, so it doesn’t overstay its welcome. The band doesn’t seem to take themselves too seriously in thinking that they’re high artists and at the same time it’s heavy, fast and grim. This record is a win for a revitalized Troll and for fans of old school Norwegian black metal.