Satyricon – Satyricon (Nuclear Blast Entertainment)Sunday, 1st September 2013
Satyr sure sold this one like it was going to be some colossal advancement on their stoic brand of Norwegian black metal…it’s not, unfortunately. He and his cohort, drummer Frost, are still very much tied to the black ‘n rock sound they started on 2002’s Vulcano, having come to nurture it with each ensuing album. Therefore, it’s wishful thinking for the duo to make a run for those glorious, mystical Nemesis Divina days, for they’re not coming back. Satyricon is here to rock, and rock they do, on this, their self-titled and eighth album.
The au natural production is another item the frontman has been harboring on, and yeah, the album has a sound unlike most of its time. Falling somewhere between the too-sleek-for-its-own-good jobs and purposely porous recordings, Satyricon’s elastic sound gives Satyr’s simplistic, rocked-out riffs some operating room, especially when he wants to get all weird-chords on us, like “Nocturnal Flare.” The up-tempo and pulsating “Our World…It Crumbles Tonight” and “Nekrohaven” (this album’s “Fuel for Hatred”) are winners; “Phoenix” too, as it develops with clean vocals, a rarity for the band, and a wise move at that.
Elsewhere, the brazen (thunderous, too) “Walker Upon the Wind” provides a nice look back into the band’s extremity-tinged 90’s days, with Frost flying off the handle, something he’s done less and less in Satyricon, but more and more in 1349. Go figure. This nine-song platter stands alongside 2009’s Age of Nero; perhaps it’s even extension of that, thanks to the doses of blasting. Satyricon do what they want, and should rightfully be commended for it. One of the few Norwegian vanguards that will probably never jump the shark, actually.