Satyricon – “Live At The Opera”

Satyricon – “Live At The Opera” DVD / 2CD (Napalm Records)

The somewhat maverick duo of Satyr and Frost have always flown in the face of trends, scenes and generally what everyone else wants to do! Still, they have earned a formidable reputation with albums such as “Nemesis Divina” and “The Age Of Nero”, making them household names in their native Norway. Throughout their 20 years, Satyricon have involved classical musicians, albeit subtly at first such as on “Volcano” to more obvious affairs with brass players on “Now, Diabolical” culminating in a huge show with the Norwegian Royal Guard, the Norwegian Radio Broadcasting Orchestra and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra! Still, this all pales in comparison to “Live At The Opera”, which sees the band step up to a whole new level in producing this once in a lifetime event that took a year and a half outta the lives of Satyr and Frost! Firstly, the duo had to win over the authorities – no mean feat given the reputation of Norwegian Black Metal – although from then on, they seemed to be welcomed for their unrestrained creativity in breathing life into the grandiose dream of melding the fury of extreme metal with the beauty of classical music! Firstly came the Norwegian National Opera, along with renowned choirmaster David Maiwald, followed by the famous Norwegian movie score composer and producer Kjetil Bjerkestrand who worked with Satyr on the choral arrangements especially for songs like ‘K.I.N.G’, which didn’t obviously lend themselves to such elements, and thus required re-working. Lastly the very event itself also had its challenges with Satyr directing the re engineering of the crane cameras to fit in with the band and crowd without removing the first 12 rows of seats! However, the result speaks for itself. A monumental extravaganza that has been captured on DVD and two bonus CDs as a whole, the darkness of the 14 tracks cannot be understated with the two styles fitting smoothly and the Norwegian National Opera really breaking out a sweat and adding their full measure to complement Satyr’s evil vocals and the sinewy Frost’s relentless blast beating. The song re-arrangements really pay off immeasurably by allowing the choir to add a powerfully haunting ambiance allowing songs like ‘Phoenix’ (with a guest appearance from Sivert Høyem) and ‘To The Mountains’ to take on epic proportions like never before – highly impressive! Whilst the camera work could have been more stylish, I bow to Satyr’s view that the special atmosphere of the evening should not be compromised and indeed, the seated mixed audience are soon standing indeed, arms aloft in salutation and singing along on all levels of the huge opera building! “Live At The Opera” was a hugely impressive feat in both conceiving and ultimately achieving, yet true to their ethos of no boundaries, what is most revealing about Satyr and Frost was their warmth and camaraderie with all that night and returned in no small measure by all the smiles around them in admiration.

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