It’s been a roller-coaster few years for Satyricon and their fans since they last visited Ireland in 2013.
Mastermind Satyr faced his own mortality after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, but has ultimately battled through – continuing to play live, celebrating 20 years of their seminal album, Nemesis Divina, and releasing their latest album, Deep Calleth Upon Deep.
Now Satyricon are back in full touring mode, which includes a trip back to Dublin.
Opening the show were Belfast’s The Crawling. With 3 members they were only half the size of Satyricon’s live band, but they didn’t struggle to sound as big.
Musically they were a good choice as a support band, playing a dark metal sound that is slightly tamed, similar to Satyricon’s recent albums.
The Crawling’s frontman was full of charisma and exuded onstage confidence, not afraid to wander across the stage and connect with the audience members on an individual level.
Their songs were played very tightly (I think I heard them using a backing track for their synths, which would suggest they were tight enough to play to a click track live), and their songs were well written, had some killer riffs, and the crowd seemed impressed.
The Crawling made good use of their 45 minute set, and were a damn fine act to warm up the night.
After a brief changeover, it was onto the main event, Satyricon.
Satyricon’s appeal isn’t that they are the most brutal or intense act, it’s how they use the dark atmosphere of black metal to create interesting music that sticks out amongst a dozen other black metal bands full of relentless tremolo picking and blast beats.
Their songs are catchy and create an energetic atmosphere in the venue, yet still sound dark and foreboding enough to maintain their place in the black metal world.
Their newer material translated very well into the live arena, and while it’s not as intense as their earlier albums, it is catchy enough to stick out in your head days after the show. Their old school fans will be relieved to hear Satyricon still break out some older, more aggressive tunes such as ‘Walk the Path of Sorrow’, and of course, ‘Mother North’.
Satyricon’s presentation stand out from the demonic image black metal bands like to present themselves in.
The band instead looks slightly ghoulish onstage with light corpse paint, and Satyr’s signature devil’s horns mic stand make him look like he is giving a sermon to his followers. The band seems very appreciative of the crowd, and Satyr is as confident as ever onstage.
One cannot review Satyricon without at least giving a mention to their infamous drummer, Frost – arguably one of the best drummers in the black metal scene. Tonight was no exception as his double kicks came out clear and in a blistering pace, and looked like a monster while doing so. He was also able to add in some great grooves and ambience where needed.
An interesting moment before their final song was when the whole band stood at the front of the stage, as if they were preparing to leave, and all it took was Frost stomping on the ground 3 or so times to make the crowd chant for ‘K.I.N.G.’ before leaving the stage, in a moment that showed how much power Frost has over Satyricon’s audience.
Satyricon delivered a fine show to Dublin, with their unique take on black metal which blends the dark atmosphere and relentless energy, with the songwriting sensibilities of classic heavy metal. Hopefully this isn’t the last we see of them.
– Cormac Jordan ::: 18/03/18
– Photo by Tamara Jancic