Satyricon, black metal with an edge – by Gaye Advert

Satyricon was the first black metal band I saw live.  Casey Chaos took me to see them early summer 2003, and though some aspects of the gig were impressive – the drummer was so fast that his arms were a blur – it wasn’t until they played with Turbonegro at a Norwegian festival at Fabric nightclub in March 2005 that I suddenly realised that I REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS!   The volume was phenomenal yet they sounded really clear.

By then I had heard a track from their Volcano album, ‘Fuel for the Hatred’ on the Radio One Rockshow. Although fairly accessible, it had a certain edge, and for me it stood out from the other records on the show. When I got hold of the album I found that the track wasn’t typical, in fact it didn’t seem to fit in with the flow of the other tracks, which all created a sort of sinister atmosphere, culminating in the last track, Black Lava, which left me feeling stunned when it finished. Satyr’s vocals are very distinctive, he spits the words out so malevolently, and he has a good line in nasty little guitar riffs which evolve throughout the songs. And then there is Frost’s drumming – for me he is still THE best drummer, and probably the fastest. But even during slow parts, every beat is perfect for the song. He told me that it is harder to do the slow parts than the million miles an hour bits.

I then bought the previous album, Rebel Extravaganza, which was equally amazing. I had heard that the first three albums weren’t as good, but they are actually more true to the roots of black metal. Subsequent albums have been getting less black in some ways, while keeping the spirit alive. i played 2006’s Now Diabolical to death when it first came out, all instantly loveable stuff, then the latest album, The Age of Nero was pretty similar to that. Now I generally listen to the early stuff again.

Recommended tracks – Mother North (on Nemesis Divina), Tied in Bronze Chains (on Rebel Extravaganza), The Scorn Torrent (Rebel Extravaganza again), Delirium (on Now Diabolical).

Also, google ‘Frost – incredible speed’ for an idea of his drumming. The clip is taken from Satyricon’s road movie, ‘Roadkill Extravaganza’ which is worth watching, particularly for the funny bits, eg Satyr and Frost doing a spot of housework during a Pantera gig.

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  1. Love Satyricon! The world’s first ‘Stadium Black Metal’ band.
    Totally agree with what you say about Frost, he’s inhuman. Especially when he’s released from the confines of Satyricon and plays in 1349.
    Have you checked out the skills of David Gray from the UK band Akercocke? He’s right up there with Frost in terms of technique, speed and utter aggression.

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