I dismissed Satyricon long ago. After listening to the first song on Volcano it became apparent I was too hasty. While they bear little resemblance to their glory days of nearly a decade ago, luckily they resemble even less the late 90’s version that turned me away. Satyricon seems to be one of those bands that can do no wrong for most people, blasphemy to speak ill of them but for me they have been utterly forgettable with everything since 1997.

I’ve now listened to Volcano through a few times and have to admit that they have rebounded dramatically. More rock, more traditional in the sense of cyclic patterns and catchy phrasing and less linear, less cumbersome. The songs are distinctive and Satyr’s vocals are very understandable. Satyricon can release an album better than half the mainstream metal world and not measure up to their past glories. Even so this is one of the better discs to come out over the last five years or so. The emphasis is on slow carefully measured music with ample flourishes, mostly from Frost, to add memorable texture. The electronics are more like the icing on the cake than the flour that allows it to be a cake as it used to be, but this disc would be vastly different without satyr’s electronics. “Black Lava” and “Repined Bastard Nation” are the two most distinctive songs, jumping directly into your brain’s permanent memory banks. “With Ravenous Hunger”, I built the pain inside you, with Frost’s feisty drumming and Satyr’s sneering guitar is a favorite. The doom metal like slow and ominous middle section, after “can’t you see the world’s on fire” is great, followed by more intensity as Satyr screams “you can’t stab me” and Frost adds “or even touch me.” A nice fast section sans vocals appears in “Angstridden”, with electronic flourishes and a cool riff just before Anja cuts in with her vocals. This is not my favorite song but it doesn’t hurt the integrity of the album.

While I enjoy this disc it does not replace their 94-96 catalog. I’m looking forward to this new Satryicon in the years to come, welcome back, even if I am the only one that thinks they ever slipped. They have had a solid career playing the music no one could understand.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Grimulfr
October 5th, 2002


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