Incase you haven’t heard, parts of Europe are going through a heatwave. England has recently declared that anything over 33 degrees is akin to standing on the sun. When I got the chance to have a chat with Satyricon drummer, Frost, I just had to ask him how the weather was in his native Oslo, Norway. “We are having the warmest summer in the history of the country, I believe, just now it’s fantastic to go out bicycling.” But how hot is it there? “I think that today they expect something like 27 degrees. And that’s very, very warm for Oslo, unusually hot.” I did resist the urge to drop in an amazing pun about Frost melting in the heat.
Jokes aside, I just had to ask Frost about the ‘black ‘n roll’ genre they’ve kinda created, which is black metal but with giant rock ‘n roll guitar and vocal hooks. The band’s sixth album from 2006 Now, Diabolical is the notorious turning point for the band from the traditional black metal sound (which the band was instrumental in solidifying back in ’96 with their groundbreaking third album Nemesis Divina) to the ‘black ‘n roll’ sound they’re now associated with. “I think the album [their ninth studio album Deep Calleth Upon Deep] is very, very different to Now, Diabolical, it’s like a different band, and definitely it has the Satyricon signatory no doubt about it, but I find it to be of a totally different musical expression. It’s much more diverse, musically much more open, magical and more intriguing and much more expressive.”
Whilst that is very true about the band’s latest album, the song structures and tempo of Satyricon’s music has retained that ‘black ‘n roll’ feel “There are different sorts of expressions ultimately, black metal can mean many things and over the years the genre has expanded beyond something more than what it was in the beginning. That’s how it was as a living organism, born into a small living thing then it grows and gets a life of its own and then it develops and goes off into different directions. To make black metal grow into a more interesting expression in this genre is definitely something Satyricon is setting out to do,” Frost explains.
Satyricon have always pushed metal in one direction or another throughout their 25 year career, and that’s what keeps the band going and that’s what keeps their fans going. “We’ll always be about development, trying to move into musical territories and exploring our very own musical world, and that’s how this band challenges things. When we eventually come to find there’s nothing to do any more and we start to go around in circles and repeat ourselves, that is when Satyricon shall no longer continue and that’s something we’re really worried about. We want the genre to stay alive, and we want to have the pioneering spirit because when nothing else is happening and everything is repetitious, when there’s no more excitement and it’s boring, it just stands still; we will push to give it new life. It is something we have taken upon us to do.”
In their native Norwary, and similar Norse European countries, Satyricon have achieved relatively high music chart positions for a band with this sound, with recent albums. It only takes one glance at the music charts here in Australia to observe that a vast majority of heavy metal out there, won’t chart high here. “I think that all music has a common denominator, and I think all music of quality has the potential to be appreciated by more people than belonging to the genre. Atmosphere and emotion, that is something that speaks to everybody, and if we managed to bring such elements into our music in a convincing in a magical way, it has the potential to go somewhere beyond the traditional borders, and that’s something we have done with Satyricon. It has never been the case of Satyricon reaching out to larger audiences, it has been the larger audience that has come to Satyricon because they have heard our music and we’ve caught their attention and fascination, and people enjoy it and everything we have done.”
Release: Deep Calleth Upon Deep is out now.
When & Where: Max Watts, Melbourne – Thursday September 6.
Written by Paul S Taylor