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Satyricon Finds New Territory With “Deep calleth upon Deep”


Satyricon‘s discography can be split into two eras. First, and probably favorite among longtime fans, was their definitive age — what eventually led to the mid-’90s trinity of Dark Medieval Times, The Shadowthrone, and Nemesis Divina. These albums are worshiped as some of black metal’s most definitive works, setting standards for progressive, twisting, arcane music and eerie atmosphere. Afterward, from Rebel Extravaganza onward, the duo of Sigurd “Satyr” Wongraven and Kjetil-Vidar “Frost” Haraldstad entered the new millennium with an about-face of sound, embracing catchy, modern rock riffs and bludgeoning rhythm. “What the hell happened?!” asked the black metal community, but Satyricon remained resolute, earning international acclaim in the process.

This has led to an extreme schism in Satyricon fandom, save for a few outliers: those who worship their “early days,” and those who prefer the easier grasp of their longer tenure as a “black ‘n roll” band. Surely Satyricon holds a reverence to their older works, even if their maturation took them into undeniably successful and enjoyable newer territory, which leads them to to Deep calleth upon Deep. No, this isn’t another Dark Medieval Times, nor is it another Volcano, but it still feels like everything in Frost and Satyr’s oeuvre has brought them to this particular point in their career. Having pushed themselves further out of their own compositional comfort zones, this latest full-length features a looser, less contextual Satyricon, one free of boundaries and more willing to embrace outside influence.

A progressive, textural monster, Deep calleth upon Deep fuses Satyricon’s early complexity and obscurity with their eventual anthemic power, but reaches so much further. Playfully toying with odd harmonies, rhythmic shifts, technicality, and additional instruments (the saxophone on “Dissonant” is brilliant), Deep calleth upon Deep has a self-referential character, noting the plateau of their last few albums and completely denying it in favor of doing something completely different. This isn’t the Satyricon you know, but, in some ways, it is. There are the powerful rock riffs which defined their second era, and the poetic, eerie atmospheres of their early days, but it transcends the performance tropes to which they clung within their two identities. Enter era three of Satyricon. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

Napalm Records is releasing Deep calleth upon Deep on September 22nd — you can preorder it here. Head below to hear the album’s title track “Deep calleth upon Deep”.

It was not easy to chose a song to represent this album as they are all so different. I consider them all to be a group of individuals with strong and unique personalities and together they make the album Deep calleth upon Deep.

The title track is the only song we’ve done with baritone and regular guitar all the way through the song. I felt it was needed for the tonal depth I was looking for and to enhance the swing of the groove in the heavier parts. It also has mellotron, cello, violin and backing vocals by classical singer Håkon Kornstad where the cello supports the baritone guitar and the mellotron, violin and the backing vocals provide air and width to the sound. Consider it a journey, play it loud, close your eyes and head into the forest. That’s what I do.

-Sigurd “Satyr” Wongraven

Promotional images created for Satyricon.
Photo by Marius Viken

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