O2 Academy Islington
14th of November, 2013
Review by Joffie Lovett
Photography by Michelle Murphy
After what seems like a very long 5 year wait, Satyricon return to London off the back of what once again has been a new album to divide opinion about the band. Given that the new album was chosen to be self-titled, it needed to be something defining to the style and progression of the band and their sound over the years and in my opinion it seems like they have achieved a really progressive mix of old and new styles whilst also experimenting into the future with tracks like Phoenix which features the first melodic lead vocals in Satyricon’s history.
Despite the naysayers about Satyricon’s progression into more “friendly on the ears” style Black Metal, the turnout for the band in London tonight is massive and the venue is easily at full capacity.
With a mixture of the old-guard original fans and new younger fans that may be just discovering the band off of the back of the huge success of albums such as NOW DIABOLICAL and the latest release.
With such an extensive back catalogue to now choose from, I was a bit concerned that the live set this time around would focus too heavily on the later albums and whilst I don’t think the focus on the newer material in tonight’s live set was as bad as the last time Satyricon played in 2008 (when the set seemed to mostly only consist of songs from the VOLCANO album onwards) there is still a real bias towards the latest album.
I guess you can’t blame a band for wanting to plug and promote their latest release as much as possible but when that one album becomes almost the whole set and you’re almost playing the whole album in full compared to choosing a wide range of songs from your back catalogue then I think it can spoil the momentum of a show for those that might not even have the new release.
One thing that has improved dramatically though since Satyricon’s last visit to London is their live sound as I vividly remember it being extremely bad back in 2008 but tonight the sound is absolutely spot on and is one of those classic examples in the metal world of the “turn down not up” approach to creating a really great and dynamic live sound.
The only complaint I had really at the end of the night was that the keyboards seemed a bit non-existent in the mix for most of the set and it almost looked like the poor guy was standing at the back not doing anything at all.
Half way through the set, Satyr announces that “last time we were here in London, I have great memories of playing a certain song, and that song is Repined Bastard Nation!” and given that this is my personal favourite Satyricon track that was my cue to get into the pit and start doing a bit of proper headbanging (despite the fact I was still in my work clothes!).
Another much more major announcement for Satyricon fans that may have missed the show tonight that Satyr made towards the end of the night was that they are currently in the process of looking to bring their recent full stage production which they put together for a one of show in Norway (featuring a full stage choir) to London in the new year.
Whether the London date would then form part of a longer tour I guess we’ll see but he crowd greets this news with massive applause and it’s a show which I definitely wouldn’t want to miss.
After a short pause at the end of the set the band then returns for a short encore of Mother North, which gets everyone in the crowd singing at the top of their lungs. Fuel For Hatred, which gets the pit going strong, and finally K.I.N.G. which gets everyone’s heads banging and horns raised.
Despite this being a show in the middle of a cold London in November, both the band and the crowd finish the show in a sweat covered euphoric state and it’s clear that for Satyricon, London is somewhere that is very dear to their hearts in the history and success of the band.
Despite the divisions of opinion that Satyricon have created over the years in the Black Metal and wider Metal world, despite the long 5 year hiatus and wait for new material, tonight shows that Satyricon’s fan base continues to not only remain loyal but also grow more and more over the years.
And as a band, Satyricon have consistently driven and progressed their sound further and further to both incorporate their older styles and roots of Black Metal whilst also pushing the genre into unknown territory and setting benchmarks for other bands to follow.
For a band that in previous years has been described as “the future of Black Metal” by Phil Anselmo and have received consistent praise in the press for their new releases, Satyricon have once again effortlessly proved tonight why they should be considered as one of the defining and most inspirational names in modern Black Metal.
Voice of Shadows
Hvite Krists Død
Black Crow on a Tombstone
Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
Repined Bastard Nation
Walker Upon the Wind
The Infinity of Time and Space
To the Mountains
The Pentagram Burns
Fuel for Hatred