Satyricon: Live At The Opera (Napalm)
18 months ago I was fortunate enough to catch Norwegian black metallers in Belfast in support of their excellent self-titled album. That was a fantastic evening and I awarded them a 10 for a quite astonishingly excellent show. Two months before that night, Satyricon had performed with the Norwegian National Opera Chorus and the resulting release is nothing short of breath taking.
The opening strains of Voice Of Shadows give little clue as to how effective the combination of Satyricon’s dark metal groove, Satyr’s gruff delivery and the operatic choral will be but this soon changes as Now Diabolical followed by Repined Bastard Nation are given an incredibly sinister edge. At first, I thought this was going to be another of the many combined orchestral/band releases, some of which can be pretty special and some of which are utter dirge. However, this is Satyricon plus choir, so the metallic edge remains throughout with the usual demonic drumming from Frost propelling the band. Each track benefits from the enhancement provided by the choir, whether it be from the soprano voices on Our World, It Rumbles Tonight, the tenor and bass harmonies during Die By My Hand which really add The Omen type atmosphere to the song or an absolutely captivating Phoenix from Satyricon, complete with a tenor duet with Sivert HØyem, reprising her vocal duties from the studio album.
As I said, every track is enhanced by the operatic choral voices, but also retains the brutal metal assault that Satyricon deliver. In fact, as the concert moves through the middle section, with Den Siste, (and then what would have been at the time new tracks) Tro Og Kraft and The Infinity Of Time And Space you can feel the pacing slowly increasing towards an absolute classic crescendo: To The Mountains and The Pentagram Burns once again highlighting the incredible drumming skills of Frost, blast beats powering out whilst the rest of the band provide musicianship of the highest quality. The encore of Mother North, complete with excellent audience participation which merges with the Chorus and favourite K.I.N.G bring one of the best live albums I've ever heard to an end. 92 minutes of absolute quality and I defy any metal head who listens to this not to be desperate to catch them live at some point in the future. Quite brilliant. 10/10