CD Review: Satyricon – Live At The Opera

CD Review: Satyricon – Live At The Opera
Napalm Records
All Access Rating: A

Satyricon - Live At The Opera 2015
The flames of black-metal bonfires set by Satyricon through the years flicker and glow with primal, demonic theatricality on Live At The Opera, a majestic concert recording of Satyr, Frost and their minions performing with the Norwegian National Opera Choir back in September, 2013.

Napalm Records release consisting of a DVD and two bonus CDs, the fantastical Live At The Opera is a study in dark synergy and contrasting textures, the sinister, guttural exhortations of Saytr – sounding more insidious than ever – stabbing through enveloping, flowing curtains of choral drama that seem to embody human suffering and torment in "Die By My Hand" and enhance the sense of impending doom that gallops through "Nocturnal Flare."

Collaborations with orchestras and choirs are nothing new for Satyricon – see the albums Volcano, The Age Of and Now, Diabolical for comparison. Live At The Opera is a more visceral experience, however, as the Norwegian National Opera Choir shades and colors Satyricon's monstrous arrangements, Frost's diverse drum patterns and heavy, serrated guitar riffage with blood-curdling, gothic atmospherics and somehow manages to avoid suffocating them. That's especially true of the melodic "Phoenix," which flows through a forest of sound like a gentle river whose waters hold a troubling secret. On the title track to Now, Diabolical, Satyricon's slow-burning, evil urgency comes to the fore, the commanding momentum building and growing almost imperceptibly until the tension becomes deliciously unbearable, while the drifting, ghostly melody of "Tro Og Kraft" haunts and captivates.

Live At The Opera gathers to a powerful and stunning crescendo on "K.I.N.G.," an epic, pounding crowd-pleaser that rouses the faithful in attendance to worship, the closer being preceded by the wailing madness of "Mother North." This is a night at the opera Satyricon won't soon forget.
– Peter Lindblad

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