The musical backbone of Satyricon is formed by the impressive drumming skills of Frost and the considerable compositional talent of main man Satyr. Never satisfied with releasing an album in the same mould twice, they led the band through an interesting evolution from their primitive beginnings up to The Age Of Nero (2008). Volcano (2002) is the album on display here and it marks the beginning of a trilogy of albums, which have a more stripped down approach, compared to the older material.
Volcano starts with a famous line from the motion picture Gladiator and indeed hell is unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener. Although Satyricon remain within the traditional black metal realm, Satyr’s deadly effective guitar riffs, Frosts innovative battering and the unorthodox song arrangements set Volcano apart from the rest.
Another strong aspect of this album is the incredible suffocating dark atmosphere of compositions like With Ravenous Hunger, Angstridden, Possessed and Black Lava. It sucks you in from the first seconds of With Ravenous Hunger only to let you go after the fading sounds of Black Lava. The catatonic nature of Volcano is further strengthened by various sound effects and a certain lady whose creepy vocals send chills down my spine. Satyr’s raspy vocal style does the rest.
A special mention goes to Fuel For Hatred, which has very catchy hooks and choruses. It very much formed the blueprint for Volcano’s successor Now, Diabolical. Despite the apparent unpredictability of the aforementioned With Ravenous Hunger, Angstridden, Possessed and Black Lava, they are very well structured and multi-layered. This makes Volcano such an enjoyable record.
Sound wise this album has a stripped down, yet very direct production. This adds to the in-your-face attitude of Volcano.
Volcano shows Satyr and Frost in fine form. Intelligent and innovative song writing goes hand in hand with top notch musicianship and a catatonic atmosphere only Satyricon can deliver. Great!
written by Raymond Westland