The very diverse world that we live in has more than 200 countries and most of the people that have the chance to learn something productive at school can notice that every country has their own unique thing that no other nation will ever get to duplicate in both cultural and social aspects. The same thing applies to music, and having said this there’s only one thing that I can think of right after I read or hear “NORWAY”: Black Metal (and church burnings).
I remember I saw the name SATYRICON for the very first time a while back at a local show, when one person with their shirt was in the back corner of the venue drinking a beer, minding his own business and that was it. The design got my attention and SATYRICON silently remained on my mind until I knew they were going to release their Live At the Opera album (out now, Napalm Records). Since Black Metal is not exactly my favorite thing to jam to, I decided to trick my ears by adding Opera elements into the mix, which turned very interesting with SATYRICON’s distinctive style of music.
I’ve been into metal and most of its subgenres for a long time and I really wanted to ask destiny (meaning fate…not the woman Destiny that is available for guys to meet on Tuesday nights) why I haven’t been able to catch SATYRICON live yet. As soon as I started playing the album, I got freaky goosebumps, as if some mythological creature was about to come in to join me for this spectacular piece of art.
Overall I can say that the music in Live At the Opera is in general slow, and I know that’s the band’s style; but what’s interesting to hear is that the guitars sound really clear and they do give an authentic taste to the live performance feeling. The rhythm is way beyond firm and you can tell that they perform their songs with a touch that has the power of oxidizing the Pope’s chair. We, as metalheads, know that there’s no such thing as two live performances that sound alike. Every show and song is always different, and because of that it can’t always be perfect, yet those imperfections in the live sound made me imagine myself tearing everything up in some underground bar in Deep Ellum.
“Now Diabolical” is a great start to put your metal horns up and get you into the black metal mood. “Repined Bastard Nation” offers some simple riffs, but more action to the live performance. Things get calm for a long time while “Our World it Rumbles Tonight” and “Nocturnal Flare” take over the speakers. “Die by my Hand” shows exactly what The Norwegian National Opera Chorus and SATYRICON are all about; it’s exactly what I wanted to hear. “Tro Og Kraft” is the second to last song before the end of the first album and “Phoenix” takes over your mind for over 7 minutes. Disc 2 is a lot heavier than disc 1, and by this time I was very impressed with the combination of sounds, highs, riffs, lows, etc. that fit through every song accordingly. “Den Siste” shows us again that Opera can make a difference and help pull off great metal songs when used creatively. Longer songs await on disc 2, such as “The Infinity of Time and Space”, one of my favorites “To the Mountains” and “The Pentagram Burns” (some black metal essentials, right?). The last couple of songs are ideal to chant along with and you can hear the fans present doing just that. “Mother North” has a catchy intro and everything is wrapped up with SATYRICON’s most popular song “K.I.N.G.”.
Summarizing things, I was really happy to hear this masterpiece. Usually I know my limits when listening to black metal (I can usually only listen to it for maybe no longer than 30 minutes and I noticed that Live At the Opera improved my taste for it). SATYRICON’s work with The Norwegian National Opera Chorus was very creative to the point where every song had a different feeling. From headbanging, to relaxation, to diabolical thoughts; ideal to explore exactly what Black Metal is all about, BUT with the unique taste that only live music can provide.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Now Diabolical”, “Die By My Hand”, “To the Mountains”, “Phoenix”, “The Pentagram Burns”.