I was first introduced to Satyricon at Bloodstock last year (2016) when they performed on the main stage. They struck me as being similar to Enslaved in their philosophy regarding metal and music in general. They make what they want to make and have evolved over the past few years. And if this album is anything to go by, they are still evolving. The sound of the album can only be described as dry as a desert. There’s no reverb, no vast open spaces and not a lot else aside from the vocals and instruments. There’s something to be said for being this dry though, as a heavily reverberant sound would probably not suit the music. A smidgen of reverb in places wouldn’t go amiss though.
Opening the album, “Midnight Serpent” sets the tone for the rest of the album. Whilst the track opens with a traditional blast beat on the drums, the track then slows into more of a reflective track, reminiscent of the tempo in “Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel” by Behemoth. With the ‘growls’ of Satyr and expert drumming of Frost, the ‘midnight serpent hears the cry’.
The first single of the album, “Blood Cracks Upon The Ground” elevates the tempo slightly and has an overall more melodic feel about it. With dissonant guitar riffs and the occasional breaks in riffing, this is a song that will go down well in the live situation. The same can be said of “To Your Bretheren In The Dark”, albeit in a more slow and smoke filled manner.
The title track of the album, “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” surprised me actually by how much of ‘groove’ the song has. The intro riff oozes a kind of traditional heavy metal style and the rest of the song radiates a similar style. With what sounds like a soaring female vocal around the middle of the track, it’s arguably one of my favourites on the album and a worthy title track.
“The Ghost Of Rome” continues the traditional heavy metal theme but instead intertwines it with some more sinister riffing and a haunting vocal harmony in the background. Out of all the tracks, this one can be considered one of the more “black metal” tracks merely due to it’s lyrical topics. “Dissonant” then does something I never expected. A saxophone appeared. And it actually fitted with the music as opposed to sounding completely out of place.
“Black Wings and Withering Gloom” returns things to a more traditional ‘black metal’ style with blast beats and tremolo picked guitars galore. Being the longest song on the album, the track does go through a few timbrel shifts but still retains the signature elements such as Satyr’s growls and dark guitar melodies. Rounding out the album “Burial Rite” returns to the ‘death ‘n’ roll’ style that was most prevalent on the title track. This time around though, the melodies are much darker and everything feels that bit more sinister. A worthy end, in my opinion, to the album.
Whilst I’m not as familiar with Satyricon as some of our other team members, I must say that I rather enjoyed this album. Whilst it might not win over all the fans of the band, particularly fans of the earlier material, there is no denying that this is a well crafted album. As much as I hate using this term, it’s an album for “connoisseurs of metal”.
Deep calleth upon Deep is scheduled for release on the 22nd September.