They certainly took their time with this. Its been five years since Satyricon’s last studio album, the spotty but generally good The Age of Nero. For two albums (two and a halfish if you count Volcano and its charting single “Fuel For Hatred”), Satyricon explored a style that could adequately be described as black metal meets rock, a simplification of an already slightly streamlined approach they began to take with 1999’s Rebel Extravaganza. Over the course of these, let’s face it, far more accessible albums, the band’s popularity grew and grew, and they even seemed to work up an arguable masterpiece with 2006’s Now Diabolical. Of course, there were people that hated everything about this era of the band, and inevitably when promotional photos began to show a short haired Satyr —- well that was probably the last straw for those on the fence. For those of us who happened to enjoy the era, I think we could pretty much agree on one thing, that the band had gone as far as they could with their current sound, and it was time for something new. Its rare when a band and its fans agree on change, but when the band finished their last touring cycle they vowed to take an extended break to recharge themselves, as well as to re-imagine their sound itself.
There’s a leak, and its on YouTube and other places (for now) of a track entitled “Our World, It Rumbles Tonight” from Satyricon’s upcoming self-titled album (seriously what is it with bands and self-titled albums this year? Stop being lazy and create a title!). I’ll confess, when I saw this being passed around on Facebook, I fully realized the amount of anticipation I’ve had building up for this album. I was pumped up, and all my goofy pious talk about waiting until I could hear the album in its entirety immediately dissipated. I’ve been listening on repeat non-stop for a few hours now, most likely ruining this track for future playthroughs but screw it —- its been five freaking years since I’ve gotten new Satyricon music! This was after all one of my top five most anticipated albums for 2013, and I’m doing my best not to put the cart before the horse or some other similar saying, but I’ll just throw this out there: If the rest of the new album is like this, then its going to be fantastic.
This is just one track, so its unfair to describe the new sound of Satyricon in this small write up, but there does seem to be a mix of familiar and unfamiliar elements going on here. The production is as crisp and professional as their more recent work, the guitars are upfront and riffing is kept relatively clear and simple, Satyr’s vocal lines are quick and forceful, and Frost is of course pounding directly in our temples with furious double kick. All that stuff reminds me of elements from their past few albums, however there does however seem to be a call back to the wide open, expansive arrangements that touched classic albums like Nemesis Divina. Except that instead of epic, sweeping strings, I’m hearing what sounds like a muted choral vocal that sets in to support the songs beautifully bleak chorus. Here Satyr croaks out “My world, crumbles”, and drawn out, wild guitar chords left to sustain paint a dark, yet vivid soundscape. Its a thrilling, addictive chorus. There definitely seems to be something fresh happening here, I just can’t put my finger on it. I want to say that I’m hearing moments of the wide open expansiveness of some of the more lengthy cuts off Volcano mixed with the pop-smarts of Now, Diabolical but that would be oversimplifying things, and well, it’d just be inadequate.
Take a listen yourself: