Satyricon – “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” (Napalm Records)
Having made their mark early to become Norwegian black metal legends, Satyricon evolved since the mid 90s to become avant garde pioneers, drawing different styles from black n roll to heavy metal and rock, not to mention a rich use of orchestrals whenever it suited them! Made up of the duo of Sigurd ‘Satyr’ Wongraven (vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass) and Kjetil-Vidar ‘Frost’ Haraldstad (drums), Satyricon has long sought to challenge the status quo, ever pushing out the boundaries with a confidence bordering on arrogance that few others would care to tread. Not so with Satyr and Frost, who openly challenge their listeners once more through this 9th album to delve as deep spiritually as the duo did to come up with this daunting opus in continuing their journey with them – be it a new one – or their last! With the circle being completed in their last self titled release, all the constituent parts were in place to pursue a new expression of mainly mid tempo material, but injecting unbelievable amounts of darkness and power (both physical and spiritually) into every aspect of it. Deceptively opening with ‘Midnight Serpent‘ with its decadent power slide riffs slickly contrasted by Frost’s intricate power drumming and Satyr’s raw drawls, one is certainly tempted to think of that preceding album. However, title track ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ blends dull, thudding tribal drumming with clanging dark alt melodies – along with mellotron, cello, violin and backing vocals by classical singer Håkon Kornstad! Likewise, ‘The Ghost Of Rome‘ with its strong post punk melodies and new wave riffs soon gives way to imperialistic riffs graced once again by Kornstad’s femme operatic wailings – along with an ending blending intense shoegaze riffing and some blast beating – intense! If that wasn’t shocking then ‘Dissonant’ briefly opens with a saxophone (!) before blasting forth into modern black metal with harsh, throat grinding vocals as salacious melodies writhe and twist in and around your soul very much as Celtic Frost did so magnificently back in the 80s, while the soaring intensity of ‘Black Wings And Withering Gloom’ resonates Nordic black metal opera in every aspect – bombastic, bleakly nihilistic and of course, hugely atmospheric! Ending with ‘Burial Rite’ with its menacing alternating riffs reminiscent of the duo’s days of old with siren wailings in the backdrop, Satyricon have managed yet another ground breaking album and through intellectual arrangements take you on a breathtaking journey – not to mention tickling your brain along the way.