Words: Alan Daly
Pics: © Olga Kuzmenko Photography
Having promised a swift return to Ireland in their parting words on their last visit to Dublin in November 2013, Satyricon has not disappointed their fans, who are surely grateful that the wait has been less than ten years this time around. The Norwegian black metal quintet, comprised of founding frontman Satyr and drummer Frost, and their three long-serving live members have attracted a sizable audience to the Tivoli theatre on this otherwise unremarkable Saturday evening. Fortunately, the show had not been scheduled for the previous week, when the “beast from the east” would surely have resulted in cancellation thanks to the heaviest snowfall in Ireland for decades.
A dramatic recorded intro tape plays as the band take to the stage one by one with Satyr allowing a theatrical pause before joining his band mates to a loud welcoming cheer from the crowd. ‘Midnight Serpent’, the opening track from their latest studio album Deep Calleth Upon Deep sets the wheels in motion, and it is immediately clear that the new material is well received. Of course, the subsequent track, ‘Our World, It Rumbles Tonight’ from their previous chart-topping eponymous release is met with a much more vociferous appreciation from the truly excited audience. With a back catalog of nine studio titles to draw from, the set-list is varied, and there is something for everyone. And despite the fact that the new album is less than six months old, instant pleasers like title track ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’ fit in remarkably well among the older material like ‘Black Crow on a Tombstone’.
Dressed in a black leather jacket, with slicked-back hair and blackened eyes, Satyr takes just a few breaks to address the fans and introduce some of the tracks. Whilst he obviously enjoys being in the spotlight, wielding his bident-shaped mic stand for dramatic effect, his fellow founding member Frost spends most of the night in almost complete darkness at the back of the stage, surrounded by his intricate and intimidating drum kit. The first half of the set is dominated by tracks from the last three albums before they delve back to the mid-nineties for a trio of ‘Walk the Path of Sorrow’, ‘Transcendental Requiem of Slaves’ and ‘Mother North’.
The usual pre-encore intermission prompts chants of “one more song” from the audience, which hints at the lower-than-normal ratio of local attendees, who would ordinarily request “one more tune”. As anticipated, we’re treated to three more, wrapping up with the ever-popular ‘K.I.N.G.’ from the 2006 release Now, Diabolical. After no less than sixteen choice cuts from their repertoire, they link up and take a group bow before departing the stage, and the entirely satisfied audience take their leave. If you’re a fan of Satyricon or black metal in general, you won’t be disappointed with this tour and the new album. You know what to do.