Spiritech of Australia's PyroMusic.net recently conducted an interview with drummer Frost (real name: Kjetil Vidar Haraldstad) of Norwegian black metallers SATYRICON. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
PyroMusic.net: In what ways do you feel "The Age Of Nero" is an improvement upon "Now, Diabolical"?
Frost: I think it's basically better in every way. I think that production-wise... there can't be any doubt that it's our best achievement and I think that the songs are the best we've ever made, so no matter what we compare it to our previous albums, it's really our truly great achievement so far, with a capital "g." I feel that the album has such a strong identity of its own. I don't find it possible to really compare it to any of our earlier albums, but anyway, I feel this album both shows as much of the SATYRICON elements we've displayed to our listeners over the years, but it also shows a very new SATYRICON, a SATYRICON that's really not just taking a step up the ladder, but more or less taking a giant leap. There's the new and a more spark-y feel to everything.
PyroMusic.net: SATYRICON has come under a fair bit of fire for the last albums given the change in musical direction that you have made. Why did you decide to change direction and do you have any comments for those who have criticized the band for it?
Frost: If you have followed SATYRICON throughout its existence, you'll probably realize that we're a pretty creative band and no two albums are alike at all. There are huge differences between the two first albums and we have never in our existence just stuck to a formula and just worked with that. I think that "The Age Of Nero" is very different from "Now, Diabolical", actually; they're two very, very different entities, very different traits and feelings. In a way, with "Now, Diabolical" and "The Age Of Nero", one is very powerful but also being tame, with the other being a wild beast. They're hardly even comparable in my mind. As for this change in direction that you mention, what I would like to ask is, "Why shouldn't we change?" Why should we release albums that sound like each other and are different versions of the same album? I think some people in the extreme metal scene are so conservative, they want to hear the same things over and over again and to be predictable and that's impossible for us to really understand or cope with. If life didn't have an element of constant change... we have a SATYRICON signature in everything that we do, but on the other hand there's constant development and improvement. For each album, we feel that will reach the certain potential that we have at that point in time and each album is a huge learning process. What you should expect is that the band moves on, because we like to bring something new and evolve and that is what we do. I think that's the only right thing for a band like SATYRICON to do. We change and try to make each album a unique listening experience.
PyroMusic.net: Do you have any comments for people who have bagged the band for developing the way you have musically?
Frost: (Laughs) Well... as I said, most people tend to be a bit conservative and they often want to go for the same kind of predictable thing. They've heard a good album from a band and they want to hear that album being released again and again just with slight differences and modifications. We're not that band at all. So, of course, you get some reactions... but I think the time where we got the most reactions was probably around the "Rebel Extravaganza" period, but like then most of the reactions are actually very positive. But we encounter negative reactions from people that now want to hear "Nemesis Divina" again or "Volcano" again or "Dark Medieval Times" again, you know? They really have a problem with us not releasing something like that, so we just tell them to stick with that but if possible they should really try out this album, because whatever SATYRICON have released... "The Age Of Nero", the whole SATYRICON substance has never been better displayed than on this album. And I feel if they want to stick with the old albums then do that then, because it's not going to happen, we're not going to do version two of anything.
Read the entire interview from PyroMusic.net.
Fan-filmed video footage of SATYRICON's November 27, 2008 concert at Hof Ter Lo in Antwerp, Belgium can be viewed below (clip uploaded by "MikelMovies").
"Black Crow on a Tombstone":