Friday 15 May 2015

Satyricon - 'Live At The Opera' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 01/05/2015
Label: Napalm Records

Live At The Opera’ CD//DVD// tracklisting:

1). Voice of Shadows
2). Now, Diabolical
3). Repined Bastard Nation
4). Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
5). Nocturnal Flare
6). Die by My Hand
7). Tro og Kraft
8). Phoenix
9). Den Siste
10). The Infinity of Time and Space
11). To the Mountains
12). The Pentagram Burns
13). Mother North
14). K.I.N.G

Satyricon is

Satyr | Vocals, Guitars
Frost | Drums

Sivert Høyem | Vocals (track 8)
Gildas Le Pape | Guitars
Anders Hunstad | Keyboards
Anders Odden | Bass
Steinar Gundersen | Guitars


Satyricon: Live At The Opera was recorded in September 2013 and filmed at the Norwegian National Opera performing with the Norwegian National Opera chorus as part of the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival. It is their first live full length CD/DVD set and was released on May 1, 2015.

Black metal masters since 1992, Satyricon have brought something new to the table. While their sound seems to change just as much as their lineup (Satyr and Frost being the only permanent members since '93) this is definitely not an album to miss.
There have been a lot of mixed feelings leading up to this release. Personally, I love the juxtaposition of opera and metal in this case. What is more unmetal than opera? Well, perhaps that’s a question best left unanswered…for now however, lets talk about why this album kicks ass. Firstly, it’s Satyricon. While they are known for many things, sucking is not one of them. Their driving, epically demonic riffs and relentlessly barbaric drums are what make their sound unique among a seemingly endless ocean of other bands ripping them off. What could possibly make their songs even more epic? Opera.

The addition of a choir adds a new element in and of itself, obviously, and they have taken their most grandiose songs and somehow made them ever larger than life. Don’t let this deter you. Most of the operatic parts lean toward the simple side, as to not take away from the original composition, on ‘Mother North’ for example, they add a great texture of swells and decrescendos that truly do make the song come to life. However on ‘The Pentagram Burns’, they seem a little less thought out, but overall they get the point across. All in all this is still a headbanger, and should be treated as such.

For the black metal purist I would not recommend this album. This is a large departure from 90's Satyricon...about as far as you can get on the other side of the “black metal spectrum”. Then again, some would say Satyricon is more Black and Roll with black metal roots these days, than "traditional" black metal. I’ve always hated the labeling personally, so putting all of them aside, I enjoyed this record. The recording quality isn’t repulsively mixed as is the case with many live records. Everything comes through in the mix and the operatic elements take the listener into an even darker, almost ceremonial dreamscape. Even if you aren't a fan of the added opera, at least they are bringing something fresh to the table which is almost unheard of in today’s black metal. Light some black candles, break out all the skulls and daggers, and crank up the stereo for this one.

Words by: Joel Willis

‘Live At The Opera’ is available everywhere now

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