Legendary Norwegian duo Satyricon return after four years with eight rollicking tracks in shape of new album Deep Calleth Upon Deep. It’s hard to question the relevancy of such albums as Nemesis Divina or their debut Dark Medieval Times as true black metal masterpieces and the raw blast beat-driven lifesblood of their first age. With 2002s Volcano, Satyricon threw a curveball and changed up their sound before eventually taking a more about-face approach from their early days.
Bands take progressive steps and mature into the skin they are most comfortable in and just like Darkthrone’s evolution into dark rock, Satyricon are clearly in a place they are at peace with. Now, five albums in to their ‘black ‘n’ roll’ sound, new release Deep Calleth Upon Deep shows off everything we expect from the second age of Satyricon.
“Midnight Serpent” opens the album with aggression, speedy drum hits and ear-catching riffing which transforms into high discordant tremolos coiling about the trudging blackness of the atmosphere. While Satyricon are unlikely to go all-out black metal again anytime soon, this aggro-packed slow-paced track is a great addition to their bleak blackened catalog. The somber “To Your Brethren In The Dark” evokes old-school Nordic metal with its twisted true chords and slow marching pace.
The use of choirs and backing vocalists in “The Ghost of Rome” and “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” is proof that Satyricon’s experimentation knows no limits. But perhaps the album’s most interesting track is “Dissonant” due to the warped saxophone, which is popping up in metal more and more nowadays, that bookends the song. Satyr sounds Abbath-esque in parts while the music itself is almost primal in its delivery.
Their previous album, a self-titled effort, was met with mixed reviews splitting critics and fans. Deep Calleth Upon Deep features similarly paced tracks albeit with the infusion of some nice additions that make this album stand out as a great accomplishment. While not another complete reinvention, it does evolve Satyricon’s sound for a new era of blackened rock. Who knows what the future holds?
(Released September 22, 2017 on Napalm Records)