NEW MUSIC FRIDAY: July 9th New Music Releases

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ALBUM REVIEW: Satyricon – Reissues

The general conceit within black metal is that the rawer and more under-produced the album the more authentic and trve it sounds. Therefore remastering and remixing records of that particular genre is a venture never likely to be met with universal praise. Not that a little fact like that has deterred Satyricon in any way, the Norwegian act even going so far as to completely change the artwork on their first two albums for these updated releases courtesy of Napalm Records.

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1349 – Dødskamp

In addition to being one of Norway’s finest and most consistent Black Metal purveyors, we now know that 1349 are also patrons to the fine arts. You see, 1349 was part of a group of artists selected by Innovasjon Norge, Visit Norway and the Munch Museum to musically interpret the work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. I’ve read that Black Metal is Norway’s largest cultural export so it’s only fitting to have one if its most deft practitioners get in on that Munch action. Continue reading

Voice of Shadows Part II – Frost of Satyricon

satyricon live at the opera cover

Satyricon is known to have the seed of their album writing sessions come from jamming. With their new orchestral collaboration finished, the last studio album from the band being stripped down and new music on the horizon; we asked Frost about the challenges of creating new work, but keeping with the high expectations for the band:

It (Satyricon, 2013) was a very demanding album in many aspects, but they mostly had to do with the musicality of it. Getting everything to sound right and in accordance with the ideas that were the fundamental of the different songs. We had to enter a territory where we hadn’t really been before and we had to bring dynamics into the music that we had never done before that albums. This was definitely demanding. But when it comes to the soul and spirit of it, that will always be there. That’s an attitude, and it’s also about a feeling. Both Satyr and I are people that feel the fire burning, that is never something that we doubt. For us it is truly Black Metal because it has that vibe and that energy and that atmosphere. It couldn’t really be anything else, but it doesn’t matter for us what it’s being called. Trying to label something very often has to do with standards and conventions for many people. That is the type of thing we would like to avoid. We don’t want to have all these standards and conventions to adhere to. The way we see it Black Metal is not about all those. It is a very creative and open musical genre. That also means that you could fall pretty long if you do it wrong. It could easily get pretentious. Trying to master something that is dramatic, dark perhaps even theatrical. Something that is epic, something that is grim and cold, all the imagery, everything around it. To manage all of that and do it well, without becoming clowns because of the way you do it. That is actually difficult.”

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Are there any other acts out there right now you feel manage to strike the balance?

Not that I can come up with, no. Maybe if I got to think a little longer but I really had to say very few do it. We had a discussion, a couple of us, on the bus on the way here earlier today. Which bands have that nerve to it, and only that has that kind of purity. For most part you only find that among the older generation of bands. I think understanding the spirit and the attitude is fundamental. But you also have to be able to express it musically. No make-up or spikes or bullet belts will help you. If you choose to have that, that’s simply because you feel that it is part of the identity and it pertains to a certain tradition and all that. It can never be worth anything in itself. It’s all again in that attitude and feeling. The previous Satyricon album is an example of an album that is really filled to the brim with it. Even if it is varied and if there are ambiances that are something else than pure darkness, that just makes the darkest parts feel even more menacing and gloomy. There is a deeper darkness to it, which you can feel more because of the contrasts. That kind of vibe and feeling quite dominate the album. There is a lot of grimness and aggression. When that beast is roaring you can feel that it is alive. It is not a dead album with dead music on it. I know the next album will also be very vital. Perhaps even more varied and even weirder than the previous one. Because we felt that many doors were opened for us. There will be lots of different types of music, but it will all carry the Satyricon vibe and the Satyricon musical signature. We have to continue to develop and explore other parts, and try to get further. To improve and to learn, that’s the fundamentals if you want to be creative. That’s the driving force here.”

Satyricon’s Live At The Opera DVD is out now from Napalm Records.


Voice of Shadows – Frost of Satyricon

satyricon live at the opera cover2

Satyricon are arguably one of the most commercially successful band to emerge from the 90’s Norwegian black metal scene. Pushing the fringes of the genre as they went, they’re now about to release a unique DVD Live at the Opera (Napalm Records), of a performance in the Oslo opera house with the Norwegian National Opera Choir. Susanne Maathuis caught up with Frost, the enigmatic drummer of the band, for Ghost Cult after their show in Nijmegen, the first of their short European tour supporting the DVD.


Being that tonight was the first concert of a new tour, we started the conversation with the evenings’ performance:

We were a bit late so we didn’t actually have a sound check, but we try not to let the crowd notice that. We had a good start, we met a crowd that enjoyed having us here and enjoyed the show that we delivered. It’s good to have the feeling of good contact between crowd and band, that is basically the reason why we’re here. We’re not actually here to entertain ourselves, but to create moments of magic with out audience. This is a good start.”


Touring to support the soon to be released DVD Live at the Opera, with the Norwegian National Opera Choir, we asked about that performance and if it satisfied expectations:

Absolutely, and we knew it was going to be special when we came up with that idea in the first place. We had gotten to perform one song with the choir at a closed event, ‘To the Mountains’, and we felt afterwards we really just had to do a full show in that setting; The Choir and Satyricon in the Opera house. It turned out that the choir really wanted to do it as well, because they had a blast when we performed together. I think that their enthusiasm was almost as great as ours. And since they were up for it and the choirmaster was up for it, the management at the opera house wanted to make it happen. Everything that needed to be set to make it happen was set and we could make it a proper plan and then realize the plan again and actually getting to the point where it was becoming a show. All the way we were certain that it was going to be an absolutely outstanding experience for us all; for the band, for the choir, for the audience at the Opera house that day. And that’s how it was really. Given the experience we had with that one song, we understood that this couldn’t be wrong. The band could handle the setting, we were absolutely sure about it. We knew that the choir would deliver. The man writing the arrangements for the choir, which would be the same man on this full show project, he understood Satyricon. You need the composer to understand what to achieve. Basically he needed to understand Satyricon’s music, which he did. The choirmaster helped to do it, because his task was to make the choir sing along to Satyricon’s music in a way that Satyricon could perform in the usual way, without really adapting, changing, removing or adding anything. He managed this flawlessly and that shows his skills and his very professional attitude and ability.”

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Will you do more of these special shows, one off concerts? Do you have any ideas or was this just a one time thing?

Who knows, Satyricon is a band that enjoys doing that sort of thing. I think we’re really fit for taking upon us slightly unconventional tasks, be it this or something else. Perhaps we would do something with the choir again, but in a very different way. All I can say is there have been talks about such things. Whether or not it can be done for practical reasons, we don’t know yet, but I think there is a mutual wish to do something again in those lines.”

But there could be other things, I mean this tour is an example of us doing something slightly different. We’re jamming a little on stage. Today we played like three pieces that aren’t even finished yet. We have just toyed around a little with this in the rehearsal place and we have started the sense that there is something there that will probably end up as songs on the next album. It’s still too early really say and it could end up being very different from what the audience heard today. It’s still a little fun to do it and it’s a slightly 70s way to do it. The old hard rock bands, they played material in an unfinished form, basically rehearsing it in a live setting, a lot before actually recording it on albums. Many of the great hard rock songs were jams to begin with, that didn’t really have a proper structure. It just came into being as the band jammed on the basic ideas, and they did it live.”

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Satyricon, by Susanne A. Maathuis Photography

Satyricon’s Live At The Opera DVD will be released May 1st through Napalm Records, and is available for pre-order in their web-shop.


Satyricon – Oslo Faenskap – Vredehammer: Live at Nijmegen, Doornroosje NL


The day before Easter Sunday we set out to see the Norwegian Satyricon open their latest European tour, the only one of this year they announced. Supporting their recent Live At The Opera (Napalm) DVD, the band have decided to do things in their own time and their own way this time around.

When we arrive just before the time the show is about to start we’re met with closed room doors and a susurrus of rumors in the waiting crowd. Satyricon arrived later than expected, and now the stage still has to be set and soundchecks done. The time is pushed back half an hour, and both supporting acts, Oslo Faenskap and Vredehammer, were reduced to 15 minute sets.

Oslo Faenskap, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

Oslo Faenskap, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

Oslo Faenskap take the stage first with fire and verve, determined to show us 15 minutes can be convincing. The crowd however doesn’t agree and no matter how much the band try to be brutal, badass and ‘fucking” make us move, most people stare at them in polite patience. The fact the band play a mix of more modern metal styles, best characterized by metalcore and nu metal influences, and their overblown stage presence as an opener just don’t strike the right chord today, while their effort is praiseworthy.

Vredehammer, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

Vredehammer, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis

After a quick changeover we get Vredehammer who are clearly unhappy about the unexpected shortening of their set. It means the band only play two songs, as quipped at by their vocalist Per Valla; “this is the shortest set in history”. The crowd responds to the Norwegian black metal outfit better than they did to Oslo Faenskap, and start to warm up. Both bassist and guitarist of the band give a valiant effort, but less than optimal sound on the drums and general mix mean some of the more delicate atmospheres of the band disappear into tinny drums and a general feeling of potential but too little time.

Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

And then for the main course of this musical meal: Satyricon. The crowd who had stayed mostly in the back of the room slowly mill forward, finally giving the venue a cozily full feeling. The anticipation in the front few rows can be felt on your skin as an almost electric shiver passes through the crowd when finally the iconic mic-stand, covered in horns, is brought on stage. The band arrives to the tones of ‘Voice of Shadows’ to loud cheers from the audience and a forest of raised fists and horns. The bar is immediately set incredibly high as the band launch into their two hour long set full speed, playing new and old tunes alike, though favoring their post-Vulcano repertoire. The crowd seamlessly answers front man Satyr’s every suggestion, as they shout on command and are coaxed to throw horns and even form a moshpit. Satyr explains that the few tours the band will do from now on will be special, and tonight they would like to share with us some work in progress ideas for songs, as they launch into three instrumental pieces. Sadly in the second of these jams Satyr’s guitar gives out and it takes half the tune to get it set again, but even that cannot ruin the performance as the fans happily listen to what might become new material. Ending the set on the classic ‘Mother North’, to which the full crowd sing along, the band leave the stage. The crowd waits in eager anticipation for their encore, consisting of hit songs ‘Fuel For Hatred’ and ‘K.I.N.G.’, after which a glowing band thank their fans with one of many bows. We leave the venue at the respectable hour of midnight, to the gentle tones of ‘Natt’ as the outro, happily satisfied that a gig that seemed plagued by Murphy’s Law at first persevered and after a rough start soared to heights only a veteran band and like Satyricon can deliver.


Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

Satyricon, Photo by Susanne A. Maathuis.

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Lonely Robot – Please Come Home


It has taken John Mitchell several years to see his Lonely Robot project come to fruition, during which time Mr. Mitchell has been involved with a handful of gold-plated prog projects including It Bites, Frost* and Arena. Lonely Robot seems to be a very personal endeavor; one that Mitchell has been able to throw his unique insights and personality into. One gets the impression that when listening to Please Come Home (InsideOut) we are peering through a window into a man’s soul.

The noticeable trait of this album is the classic science fiction tone; it is permeable through each of the benevolently hewn songs. One of the aspects of space that has always intrigued humanity is the endless vacuum, the vast loneliness that engulfs its sparse inhabitants. While Please Come Home has elements of this, the spasmodic positivity ensures that the album isn’t too dense. Mitchell’s now distinct vocals bring a sense of comforting warmth, and are reminiscent of ‘Map of the Past’. Featuring the likes of Craig Blundell (drums) and Nick Beggs (bass) Mitchell and his comrades have the ability to tingle spines and reduce even the hardiest men to tears. ‘Airlock’ is an instrumental track steeped in classic sci-fi, with vintage synths from Frost*’s Jem Godfrey. Possibly the most captivating all the tracks on Please Come Home is the compelling ‘Man vs. God’. It wouldn’t be out of place in a movie soundtrack, inspiring countless thought of rockets, celestial pioneers and something otherworldly altogether.

Please Come Home will no doubt feature on many Top 10’s at the end of 2015, and deservedly so. All music aficionados, no matter their musical leanings should give this a listen. It transcends categorization and showcases John Mitchell at his finest.


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Lonely Robot Streaming “Are We Copies” Music Video

lonely robot 2

Lonely Robot, the new project masterminded by producer/guitarist/vocalist John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena) is streaming the music video for “Are We Copies”, off their debut album Please Come Home, out March 10, 2015 via InsideOutMusic, here.

Stream a lyric video for “God vs Man” here.

Backed by the storming rhythm section of Nick Beggs on bass and Craig Blundell on drums, the album also sees guest appearances from Peter Cox (Go West), Nik Kershaw, Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Heather Findlay, Kim Seviour (Touchstone), Jem Godfrey (Frost*) as well as narration provided by British actor Lee Ingleby (Master & Commander, Harry Potter).

1. Airlock
2. God Vs. Man
3. The Boy In The Radio
4. Why Do We Stay?
5. Lonely Robot
6. A Godless Sea
7. Oubliette
8. Construct/Obstruct
9. Are We Copies?
10. Humans Being
11. The Red Balloon

InsideOutMusic on YouTube
InsideOutMusic on Facebook

Enslaved – In Times


Stop what you’re doing.

I’d like you to stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention.

For here is the most impressive and important heavy metal album thus far in 2015. This is the record that is going to inhabit the upper echelons of those end of year lists and we are only in the year’s early months. This is the record that you’re going to smile knowingly about and, when all the hipsters come out of the woodwork to declare their love for it, you’re going to feel smug in the knowledge that you were there when Frost (Osmose) came out and when Axioma Ethica Odini (Indie/Nuclear Blast) changed your world view of what was possible with progressive metal. In Times (Nuclear Blast), the thirteenth album from Norwegian progressives Enslaved, is a record of staggering, jaw-dropping brilliance.

In Times distils the essence of Enslaved in brilliant, grandiose fashion but, like all great albums, suggests new, as yet uncharted opportunities. To use sporting parlance, suggesting that the band are at the top of their game is to truly misunderstand what’s going on here. Enslaved are not just at the top of their game; they are in the process of trying to change the game being played. In Times delivers six extended, expansive aural essays as opposed to songs. They are all brilliant, all have their own internal narratives, nuances and highlights and yet, knitted together, manifest themselves as the most coherent and immersive album of this band’s career.

‘Thurisaz Dreaming’ kicks things off in spectacular yet familiar fashion. We are thrown back into the brutal and ferocious territory that is reminiscent of the black metal hinterland of the band’s early period. This works on a number of levels- as a visceral introduction and a statement of intent for the new record, it is all welcome and vibrant strum und drang. As a reminder of how far the band have come without compromising their aesthetic or values it is a glorious throwing down of the gauntlet. About three minutes in, we move elegantly into the more progressive melodic territory of the band’s more recent past. It’s akin to pulling a handbrake turn. In lesser hands, this juxtaposition of styles would be clunky and knowing. With Enslaved, such is their talent for aural narrative, this seems like the most natural thing in the world. It is a technicolour, vibrant and furious opening.

It then gets even better. ‘Building with Fire’ is one of the best and most compelling manifestations of the band’s melding of clean, open singing and harsher brutalism that I have ever heard. It has a hypnotic 4/4 beat that acts as a simple yet effective architecture for the dual vocal talents of Herbrand Larsen and Grutle Kjellson. It’s brilliantly effective, and catchy as hell.

And then it gets better still. On ‘1000 Years of Rain’ we have one of the most intricate, eloquent and astonishingly creative songs the band have created. It is a rich and richly nuanced epic, covering an extraordinary range of styles, stitched together like a medieval tapestry. This is what the soundtrack to Game of Thrones sounds like in my head. We are treated to folk, hymnal chanting, riffing bigger than tectonic plates and a brilliant attention to detail that brings the listener back time and again to discover new gems as well as simply wallow in the gloriousness of it all.


Exemplary is the most apposite word that I can conjure for the majesty of ‘Nauthir Bleeding’. It stretches to almost breaking point the band’s capacity for bringing together the dream-like melody with gnarly bombast but it’s a stretching that never breaks, largely because this is a band that knows exactly what they are doing and do it with aplomb; being taken to the edge has rarely felt as thrilling.

The simplicity of what Enslaved do – the light and shade, the ambient and terrifying is simple enough to explain, much harder to deliver. On the ten minutes plus dynamism of the title track you really understand just how accomplished they are. This is the most obviously progressive track here with long ethereal passages that reflect the album’s otherworldly nature whilst continuing to blend in the relentless riffage that they are equally renowned for.

The album coda, ‘Daylight’, is well, magnificent, driving through fantastic melodies and power to the inevitable conclusion that leaves you shaking your head at how good it all is.

In Times is a reflection and a look forward; it is the most complete encapsulation of what Enslaved are about and what Enslaved are capable of. Again and again, In Times shifts your expectations about what “good” looks and sounds like. This is the most daring, ambitious, otherworldly and evocative album of an already deeply impressive career. It is the record where any scintilla of doubt of their genius can be banished from your mind, consigned to the dustbin and given a right royal telling off. With In Times, Enslaved have created an album where every ounce of their creative nous has been distilled into an album that is simply and utterly spellbinding.




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Lonely Robot Streaming “God vs Man” Lyric Video

lonely robot

Lonely Robot is streaming a lyric video for “God vs Man”, off of their Please Come Home album, due out March 10, 2015 via Inside Out Music, here.

This is the the new project masterminded by producer, guitarist and vocalist John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena).

Mitchell had this to say about the first full track to be released from the album:

“God vs Man, the human race seeks to control and overcome everything it comes into contact with. Just because science and progress says we can doesn’t mean we should”.

A teaser for the album was also recently launched and you can find that here.

Backed by the storming rhythm section of Nick Beggs on bass and Craig Blundell on drums, the album also sees guest appearances from Peter Cox (Go West), Nik Kershaw, Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Heather Findlay, Kim Seviour (Touchstone), Jem Godfrey (Frost*) as well as narration provided by British actor Lee Ingleby (Master & Commander, Harry Potter).

John Mitchell had this to say about the project:

“I’d long thought about doing an album where I could have total control from start to finish with the music, lyrics, production, and choosing who I wanted to contribute – expanding from the idea of just a solo album. Musically, this album is very proggy, but more about atmosphere than technical expertise, inspired by my love of science fiction and interest in the evolution of the human race.”

lonely robot please come home

The track-listing for the album is as follows:
God Vs. Man
The Boy In The Radio
Why Do We Stay?
Lonely Robot
A Godless Sea
Are We Copies?
Humans Being
The Red Balloon