"Volcano" (EMI / Capitol; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Norwegian black metal stalwarts Satyricon took their sweet time getting “Volcano” out of their systems, but sometimes waiting for perfection is worth it.

“Volcano” displays Satyricon streamlining and elevating their sound without abandoning the essential elements of black metal. By reining in the extreme angles of prior releases, Satyricon have produced a record that is both catchy and extreme. By catchy I mean the driving “Fuel For Hatred” which has all of the elements of a ‘single’ if there ever was such a thing in black metal.

Satyricon drop the semi- and quasi-industrial overtones that they adopted for “Rebel Extravaganza,” but have added more staccato riffing to make up for it. Many of the atmospheric elements that Satyricon are famous for are more subtly and discreetly interspersed throughout the eight tracks. The moody epic “Black Lava” is a crushing tune that is a perfect ending for a black metal CD.

The production on “Volcano” is dense and overwhelming – and I mean that in a good way – but still leaves room to breathe.

“Volcano” is a great record – it’s probably my favorite black metal album released in 2002.

Satyricon: Satyr on vocals, guitars, guitar, and bass, and Frost on drums.

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"Rebel Extravaganza" (Nuclear Blast; 1999)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Every now and then there will be a band that cuts through the musical static - Satyricon are one of those bands. With "Rebel Extravaganza" Satyricon have distanced themselves from the black metal clutter that is so prevalent these days - Satyricon have carved a niche all for themselves. "Rebel Extravaganza" is the fulfillment of the promise shown on "Intermezzo II" that Satyricon recorded back in 1998.

"Rebel Extravaganza" has an extensive horizon of sound like a conflagration that shows no mercy. The multitude of approaches breaks through the black metal norms with out of the ordinary chord progressions, dual use of hyper-speed riffing and slow rhythms, and extremely memorable songs.

The vocals are damn near suave (never thought you'd see that word in a black metal review, did you?); the vocals range from cleanly sung parts to raspy death metal rants. The lyrics are in the higher echelon of black metal - very impressive!

From the siren wail that opens the first track "Tied In Bronze Chains" to the fury and resultant peace of "The Scorn Torrent" Satyricon impressed me throughout. From the smooth keyboard parts to guitar pulverization without equal Satyricon have scorched a newfound path for themselves and the black metal genre. 

High production values for "Rebel Extravaganza" make this one of the best black metal releases I've ever heard not to mention one of the few true treasures I've had the pleasure of critiquing. 

Satyricon is Satyr on guitars and vocals, Frost on drums, and Kveldulv on bass. Satyr and Kveldulv were joined by a literal army in the studio. 

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright © 2006 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:20 -0400 .