The opening to the nights gig was very strange. The doors to the venue opened however the room where the gig was happening wasn’t open. Vredehammer and Oslo Faenskap seemingly had their times limited. Vredehammer were limited to two songs and Oslo Faenskap also played a short set that wasn’t much longer. This was unfortunate as Vredehammer barely got going and Oslo Faenskap suffered the same fate. As far as critiquing the two bands go, it would be unfair to offer judgement. Vredehammer’s two songs were very much in the black metal vein, whereas Oslo Faenskap offered up a cluttered mix of death, black and sludge metal with plenty of breakdowns and growled vocals.
Satyricon by contrast played one of the longest sets I have ever witnessed from a black metal band. The band strode onto stage and immediately ripped through 'The Rite of our Cross'. It was the first of several tracks from 2006’s 'Now, Diabolical'. Another early cut from the same album was the title track. Immediately, the crowd were firmly in Satyr’s palm as the crowd balled back the chorus with great vigour.
The stage at Manchester Sound Control is quite small; it was made an even smaller space due to the size of Frost’s monstrous drum kit. Throughout the bands epic set, the reason why Frost is revered as one of the best drummers ever was clearly evident. The early blasts of Satyricon’s more purist black metal sound were summed up by the ferocious battery of the drums. 'Walk The Path of Sorrow', 'Du Som Hater God' and 'The Dawn of a New Age' are great reminders of what a great black metal band Satyricon is.
Although Satyricon’s roots are firmly embedded in true Norwegian Black Metal, in recent years, the bands direction has had more hard rock elements mixed in with the truer black metal sound. Every selection (of which there were plenty) from 'Volcano', 'Now, Diabolical' and 'The Age of Nero' were received emphatically. 'Black Crow on a Tombstone' was another early highlight along with the aforementioned 'Now, Diabolical'. The repetitive riffs and hypnotic drumming was a joy to hear. Along with the harder rock sound, the band layered choral and orchestral elements over many of their songs.
With the lengthy set drawing to a close, the band chose to air some unreleased material which was essentially a jam. According to the band, the recordings will see the light of day in the next year or so. Another selection that raised an eyebrow or two was the bands inclusion of a cover of Dead Kennedy’s 'Holiday In Cambodia'. Again, this was potentially a part of a future release.
If the newer material made the set lag a little towards the end, a main set closer of 'Mother North' riled the crowd again, before a heroic encore consisting of the darkly euphoric 'Fuel for Hatred', and the sublime 'K.I.N.G'.
Sometimes longer sets aren’t always the best thing to satisfy a crowd. A little lull in parts of the bands 130 minute set showed this. Nevertheless, when you have tracks that are instant crowd pleasers, and a presence that is up there with the best, Satyricon pulled it off. Satyricon are a constantly ambitious band, and their set showed this.
Words by: Dominic Walsh