Midnight Serpent opens up Deep Calleth Upon Deep. The latest addition to the 26 year legacy of Satyricon and immediately something feels different. 2013 saw the Norwegian black metal legends release a self-titled album and it was received to a degree of indifference. 2017 Satyricon feels better from the very start.
The six minutes that Midnight Serpent clock up are powerful and reserved in equal measure. It sets the tone for the rest of the album feeling more mature, more considered and yet still heavy and atmospheric. Around the minute mark sees the pace drop to almost an ambling pace from the usual bass drum driven march. In just one track to have so many changes of pace, changes of intensity and changes of mood is impressive and you will find yourself checking to see if it’s the same track still playing at least once.
Deep Calleth Upon Deep is the ninth studio album from the Scandinavian outfit and with just Satyr and Frost having worked together for the last 6 of them it would be easy to drift along without challenging themselves. Thankfully that is exactly the opposite of what has happened here with tracks like To Your Brethren in the Dark keeping it interesting. It feels like the only real way to listen to this album is in a dark room with the door locked and a bottle of claret. Listening to it in your car or using the latest in ear piece of technology just doesn’t give the tone of the album the chance to breathe.
By the time the title track comes along it is hard not to be completely engrossed in what is being forced into your ears and if you’re somehow struggling the riffs here get catchier and it all feels a bit like a Ghost song that’s become pissed off with the world. The Ghost of Rome follows and by that I don’t just mean is up next. It has an even catchier hook and the backing vocals add an even greater layer of depth. When Dissonant arrives you’re ready for pretty much anything…apart from some brass which is what you get, along with a change of vocals.
These three tracks in a row really highlight where Satyricon are going and that’s wherever the fuck they want. The album as a whole has the feel of a piece that is just what they want to do, at a time when they can get away with it with ease.
Long term fans of the band shouldn’t be disappointed here. It isn’t as consistently heavy as some previous albums, but that is only comparing Satyricon now to over a decade ago. In reality, Deep Calleth Upon Deep is heavy and considered. A powerful combination that will leave all fans of heavy music with something to take away.
Deep Calleth Upon Deep is out now on Napalm Records.