Satyricon – ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ (Napalm Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Thursday, 28 September 2017 04:20

Satyricon - Deep calleth upon Deep - ArtworkTrve kvlt purists beware: Satyricon have continued to progress their sound!


Not that the band are likely to care one iota, mind. Although releasing the genre classic ‘Nemesis Divina’ way back in 1996, the Norwegian juggernauts of the black metal world have never been beholden to one specific sound. From the industrial-tinged ‘Rebel Extravaganza’ to the black n’ roll of ‘Now, Diabolical’, the band’s minimalistic approach has lent itself to experimentation over the years. And so it is with album number nine, ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’, which finds the iconic duo of Satyr and Frost flexing their melodic muscles in the context of an album much more palatable to the average heavy metal fan.


Opener ‘Midnight Serpent’ does a fine job at demonstrating the band’s more fortified, layered sound; replete with scything jabs of riffing atop Frost’s measured, mid-tempo beats. ‘Blood Cracks Open The Ground’ employs a higher ratio of serpentining lead melody lines to driving rhythms (Frost is on astonishing form here) than fans may be accustomed to, becoming increasingly haphazard in their chaotic trajectory as the song progresses. Add to this a particularly icy vocal delivery from Satyr, and we have a stomping delight of a song that is just as indebted to the raucous unpredictability of Between The Buried And Me as it is to the eccentricities of Abbath; all the while remaining unmistakably Satyricon.


The subtle textures utilized on the record, although administered with meticulous restraint, result in ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ being the most rewarding Satyricon album on repeated spins. The avante garde dalliances on ‘Dissonant’ include a jazz saxophone improvisatory sequence which pervades throughout the track, without ever drawing attention to itself in an overly boisterous manner. As it interjects the four to the floor stomp of the main riff, this new incorporation is an effective one. The contributions from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra are implemented in a similarly moderated way. The muted contrabassoon and clarinet augment the already sinister, droning nature of the anthemic ‘To Your Brethren In The Dark’, and are later utilized to great effect in contrast to the rising strings of the subterranean closer ‘Burial Rite’.


The latter track is one example of Satyricon’s confidence in braving waters outside the restricting walls that certain elitist black metal fans would have them remain within. The massive, tumbling riffola of ‘Burial Rite’ could easily be mistaken for ‘Leviathan’ era Mastadon, which is even more apt given the lyrical content. The title track’s main riff swings with blues rock bends, sharing some similar DNA with Black Sabbath’s ‘Rock N’ Roll Doctor’ (that’s not an insult, contrary to some views), before the festival-ready, fist in the air punch of the chorus. Elsewhere, ‘The Ghost Of Rome’ is incessantly melodic, heavily leaning on the NWOBHM lead guitar elements to give a more classic metal flavour overall.



Despite all of the different avenues explored, ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ seems to signal a reinvigoration for Satyricon, rather than a wholesale reinvention. Nevertheless, the palette they paint from is broad, leading to an album of sonic depth and expansive variety. While the melancholic and sinister tones of their tried and tested core sound are still prevalent (see the particularly fierce ‘Black Wings And Withering Gloom’), this is a work of grand ambition, from a band looking far beyond the remits of the genre from whence they came.


‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.


Satyricon play Heaven in London tomorrow (Friday 29 September).


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