It’s been a while since Satyricon’s last offering, 2008’s critically acclaimed The Age Of Nero, but the wait is finally over – the Norwegian black metallers are back with their self-titled album Satyricon.
Introductory track Voice Of Shadows is a little strange and doesn’t quite give an insight into the rest of the album. The mood and style seems out of place and it’s easy to get the impression from this track that the band have taken a change of musical direction, especially when the following track Tro og Kraft begins and carries on with the same main riff featuring in the previous track. The song as a whole seems to fall on its face and it just lacks the power needed to get the album off to the start it needs.
By this point, it’s easy to get the impression that this is going to turn into a disappointing release, but third track Our World, It Rumbles Tonight gives the album some much-needed momentum. With a chugging introduction, memorable guitar lines and perfectly growled vocals from Satyr, it gets the album up to speed and gives the release the start it needs.
Unfortunately, the following track Nocturnal Flare sounds quite similar to the previous one and also has sections that sound almost identical to their track Black Crow On A Tombstone from their previous album. Whilst it does sound good, it is a little disappointing to get the impression that ideas have been recycled.
The fifth track Phoenix is an adventurous number and features guest vocals from Sivert Høyem. The growls from Satyricon’s vocalist Satyr are one of the signatures of the band’s sound and on the surface, the idea of clean vocals seems strange for the band, but on this track they just fit in perfectly and they sound incredibly haunting and moving. A beautiful track.
The second half of the album is where things really start to get interesting, with sixth track Walker Upon The Wind being one of the standout songs of the album. Noisy and intense from start to finish, backed up with powerful drums and memorable guitar riffs with fantastically growled vocals over the top, the track as a whole is incredibly well-constructed and is everything a Satyricon track should be. Similarly, Nekrohaven carries on exactly where Walker Upon The Wind left off and the drumming from Frost is superb and just makes you want to tap your foot and bang your head along to the track.
At 7:48, The Infinity Of Time And Space is the longest track of the album and is an interesting one. It features some half-spoken, half-growled deep vocals at certain intervals and it splits the track up into numerous ideas, which works well. The soft and harsh sections contrast well against each other and gives the track depth.
Closing track Natt is a perfect way to close the album. It just rounds everything up nicely and seems to bring together all the ideas featured within the album, with everything slotting nicely into place – it’s just a shame that the introductory track wasn’t as striking as this one.
Overall, Satyricon is a good release, although a little hit-and-miss at times. It’s definitely worth checking out, but don’t go in expecting it to be the best release of the year.