SATYRICON
"Deep Calleth Upon Deep"

(Napalm)

01. Midnight Serpent
02. Blood Cracks Open The Ground
03. To Your Brethren In The Dark
04. Deep calleth upon Deep
05. The Ghost Of Rome
06. Dissonant
07. Black Wings And Withering Gloom
08. Burial Rite

RATING: 9/10

You may have heard the phrase "game changer" accompanying early reports to SATYRICON's ninth album, "Deep Calleth Upon Deep". At present, Satyr seems indecisive if he's reached the finish line with this band. In the event he and Frost call it quits in the near future, they've created a logical, minimalist album close in thought to the group's 2013 self-titled record, but it's more, and perfectly less, than that.

"Deep Calleth Upon Deep" is shorn of blunt speed, even if velocity rockets into these courageously thought out compositions now and then. Trad rock and goth find a happy home amidst SATYRICON's stark black metal hellhole, this time creating a more refined instead of brutal art. The good news for fans is, this change up is hardly abominable. There's nothing lost in Satyr and Frost's intensity; rather, the duo has made a rational and creative decision to dress down the band's din and spiff up its progressions and rhythms. You'll still feel happily whipped when it's over.

Suffice it say, stripped is the mojo to this album, as "Midnight Serpent" glides forth, not so much with ogre force as might be expected, but still the sinister feeling and intent is felt. Even in this downplayed palette, it's remarkable what two men conjure together with the layered guitars, bass, synths, drums and evil intonations sniffling throughout the 6:20 number like peek-a-boo spirits. The most menacing passages come halfway with Satyr's dark, ornate guitars forlornly weeping behind some gruesome chanting. For certain, there's a decided page turn with "Midnight Serpent" and "Deep Calleth Upon Deep". It doesn't have to be scalding and vile to deliver an impact. What's delivered, tempered as it may be, is forceful even in simplicity.

It's the conventional rock movements opening "Blood Cracks Open The Ground", as well as "The Ghost of Rome" and the title track, that triggers the eyebrow raise, but have no fear of this turning into a "Cherry Orchards" moment, a la CELTIC FROST. If we're to compare this to CELTIC FROST—R.I.P. Martin Ain—in any fashion, it would be closer to the conduct test spirit of "Vanity/Nemesis" with the compound dirge of "Monotheist". What SATYRICON does with "Blood Cracks Open The Ground" is absolutely progressive with its revolving signatures, but an omnipresent drum rumbling and spiraling guitar threads turns a new trick: one that works here resplendently.

The sullen slog of "To Your Brethren In The Dark" couldn't be more morose if Satyr and Frost were passing out packs of downers with hard copy sales of this album. That being said, it's hellishly potent. Keeping in the essence of CELTIC FROST, be mindful of delicate acoustic breezes and minute horn sneezes within the song's despondent trudge. Never stealing outright from CELTIC FROST, this is a magnificent and emotive reinvention.

The discreet rock and goth lines give the title track its drive, and is a shrewd vehicle with which to unveil its subversive incantations. The punchy rhythm and riff-heavy soar of "The Ghost Of Rome" throbs instead of scorches, leaving the background wails to wallow freely and with a noticeable bounce. Only the SISTERS OF MERCY's "Floodland" or THE CURE's "Pornography" defines depression rock as much as "The Ghost Of Rome" does.

No doubt inspired by the genius of Ihsahn's recent solo albums, nattering saxophone blats pounce into the mincing maw of "Dissonant", where progression and speed collide. Some of the fastest moments of the album erupt on "Dissonant" and then on "Black Wings And Withering Gloom", and those are smartly built up instead of thrust outright. The echoing of Frost's drumheads when "Dissonant" and "Black Wings And Withering Gloom" rage are wonderfully naked. Coming from a longtime veteran band instead of young artists awkwardly tinkering with strange and raw tones, it's grand that SATYRICON is the engineer. You know the group is bound for the outstanding the longer each track patters and sculpts; seven minutes-plus seems hardly enough time to convey all the teeming segments and transitions spewed through "Black Wings And Withering Gloom".

By contrast, the closing number, "Burial Rite", yields the most density, and it's the closest kin to a standard SATYRICON number, even with a quick blues drop and steamy power metal grooves between its broiling black metal swells. Thus, "Deep Calleth Upon Deep" works like Victor Frankenstein losing his conscience and his own will, surrendering to something horrendously implicative and far bigger than himself. "Deep Calleth Upon Deep" molds toward a huge, charring dénouement, but it also acts as an intentional conduit to an uncertain future, to be picked up if inspiration dictates. Should SATYRICON stops here, though, what a glorious endgame.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).