Album review: Satyricon – Satyricon & Munch

Norwegian black metal veterans Satyricon take a deep dive into the works of artist Edvard Munch…

Album review: Satyricon – Satyricon & Munch
Paul Travers

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch – best known for his motif The Scream – spent most of his life pouring his emotional and psychological demons into what he called ‘soul paintings’. “My art is grounded in reflections over being different from others. My sufferings are part of my self and my art,” he once said. There’s something very black metal about that.

It’s no wonder, then, that fellow Norwegian artists Satyr and Frost – the dark beating heart of Satyricon for more than three decades – have a fascination with Edvard’s works. So much so that the duo have created an aural companion-piece to an exhibition with the Munch museum in Oslo. The result is a single 56-minute composition that is quite unlike anything they’ve produced before.

There are still moments when this is all recognisably Satyricon. It doesn’t rely on the vicious black metal assault of their early work, or the dense black’n’roll grooves of latter ones. Satyr’s croaking vocal delivery is also absent, but the more atmospheric elements have been expanded and, when the guitars do start to surge, a familiar DNA is revealed.

Although presented as a single track, there are definite distinct sections, from passages that sound like Heilung jamming with Hawkwind, to expansive post-metal soundscapes and sparse pulses of sonorous noise. As well as the expected Satyricon tools of drums and distorted guitars, there are synths and strings, clarinets and pianos. The ebbs and flows can seem a little random without the visual aspect of the exhibition it’s designed for, but even heard in isolation this is a fascinating and emotionally stirring collection of sounds.

Rating: 3/5

For fans of: Alcest, Trent Reznor, Sunn O)))

Satyricon & Munch is out now via Napalm

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