Satyricon : Satyricon

Satyricon_Satyricon-300x300The eponymous new album from veteran Norwegian black-metallers Satyricon has recently arrived here at, and as a fan of some of their previous stuff I was keen to see, or rather hear, what Satyr and the gang have been up to of late.

And, erm, well, I suppose I should cut straight to the chase. There are flashes of something new and interesting burning deep in the soul of Satyricon, but for the most part this album just seems a bit too safe, a bit too Satyricon by numbers. Giving it a few listens and a chance to really sink in, it just made me want to go and listen to Dark Medieval Times or The Age Of Nero again. That’s not to say that it’s a bad album, but it’s all just a little bit safe, a little bit, well, heard it before…  only before it was done better.

The thing is, as I mentioned before, there are bits on here where the band flex their creative muscles and try to take proceedings in a new direction, but it’s often just a minor detour before we’re back to the same old same old.

Which is a pity, because the track Phoenix could just about be the best thing they’ve ever done. I know most albums have a stand-out track, but Phoenix has a haunting, dark, melodic genius that makes everything else on here seem pale in comparison. I suspect the black metal purists (are they even still around ?) may baulk at Sivert Høyem’s clean vocals, but I think they work well and add an unexpected bonus layer to what is already an impressive track.

Satyricon have undeniably had their moments in the last decade or so, but the only word I can use to describe the new album as a whole is, well, disappointing. While some of their contemporaries are expanding the envelope and developing, this just seems a bit too much like a bored trudge down old familiar pathways. It’s not helped by the production which, for a black metal album, manages the unique feat of sounding both too polished while managing to flatten the drums almost completely.

Satyricon are capable of much better than this.