Words by Bec Helvete
Photos by John Raptis
It is not often one gets to see a headline show on home soil by a band as big as Satyricon. One of the founding bands of the notorious Norwegian metal scene, they have taken their own path musically to become one of the most well-known metal bands today. The tour announcement was hotly anticipated, and an hour before doors open the queue already stretches down the block. Once inside the dedicated fans aim for a position as close to the barrier as possible, and the venue quickly fills. The air is full of anticipation and excitement. With a back catalogue spanning over 20 years, we are all curious to hear what the set list will be. Unusually there is only one opening band, but tonight Satyricon will be playing a two-hour set. Though you really only need on opening band when it is a band like Deadspace.
An atmospheric, depressive blackened rock/metal 5 piece from Perth, Deadspace have been garnering attention in their own right. After watching them play live it is easy to see why. The crowd is already substantial when they walk on stage. They immediately launch into their set with little preamble. The music is heavy and dark. We are blasted with rolling blast beats and catchy riffs, including lashings of the Norwegian riff the headlining band helped make famous. At times the songs are melancholic but never lose that hard metal edge. The lead vocals of Chris Gebauer flick between a screaming growl and clean singing, which really stands out and grabs your attention. The set is tight and well rehearsed, and the band’s stage presence makes an impact. The audience is drawn into the music, the band gaining and keeping their attention. On the second last song, the band is joined by guest vocalist Nick Magur from Melbourne blackened bands Greytomb and Adamus Exul, to heavy applause and cheering. Magur’s vocals add a hard but mournful element that really takes things to the next level. The whole performance is emotive, yet heavy and catchy in the way a metal performance should be. This was a flawless set. This was headlining material, and the band nailed what many would consider to be a difficult opening slot.
We didn’t have to wait long for what we came for. As Satyricon walk on stage, the crowd bursts into cheers. The show that followed was one of the best I have experienced. The set list is full of well known, and well loved, classics and peppered with songs from their latest release ‘Deep Calleth Upon Deep’. Each song is well rehearsed and the skill of each member threads its way through every note. They play crowd favourite, and easily their most well-known song, Black Crow On A Tombstone early in the show. Each song showcases the many different sounds and sides the band has displayed over the years. From the classic old school black metals riffs of Mother North, to the heavy yet melodic Now, Diabolical there truly was something for every fan. The audience knows every word of this set and sings back enthusiastically. The energy is palpable and frontman Satyr uses every bit of his imposing stage presence to drive home each note. His grim throaty growl is as clear and atmospheric as ever, the man’s performance somehow getting better and better over the years like a well-aged scotch. Between songs, he cheekily interacts with the audience, at one point exhorting them to create an epic mosh pit on the threat that the crowd may be outdone by the one previously in Perth.
As each song is played, the set continues to improve. The musicianship of each member is clear, not a dead or sour note to be heard. Of course, one cannot mention Satyricon without talking of the drumming of the eponymous Frost. The only other founding member along with Satyr, he is one of the most legendary drummers in both black metal, and the metal scene as a whole. He also has a reputation as one of the fastest and most energetic too. With each song, it becomes clear how he earned this reputation. During each song, he thrashes out every beat, never slowing down or missing a note. He tackles the drums like an athlete and even headbands along at times, a feat which is certainly a sight with how fast his hands move. As they thank the audience and go to leave, we know this can’t be the end. But the crowd does their part, stomping and cheering as the band re-enter for the big finale. They have most certainly saved the best for last. They play Pentagram Burns and Fuel For Hatred like a machine, the songs hitting us like an aural assault of the best kind. The mosh pit goes crazy. During this section Satyr puts to rest the rumour that this was the last Australian tour, assuring us they will be back and driving the crowd wild. Frost comes out from behind the kit to wave at the audience who begin to clap and chant.
Frost stamps his feet in time and works the crowd to a frenzy. It’s a great moment that feels almost intimate. The audience chants the name of their most popular song they have yet to play. The band delivers. As the first strains of K.I.N.G begin to play, the audience goes insane. We all sing along. That wonderful exchange between audience and band is strong, and Satyr leans in close to the front row as he growls out the lyrics with us. It is no surprise that when the band all link arms to take a final bow, they must wait out lengthy cheering from the audience. As the band leave and the crowd disperses, it can be said that this was one of the best shows Melbourne has seen this year. A truly great gig is an experience, and this was a mind-blowing experience that left us all euphoric. The band proved why they are so popular and silenced critics, playing one of the tightest sets I have ever seen. This is how it is done. This is why we pay the ticket prices and camp out at the door. This was the show of a lifetime and not to be missed. Satyricon Australian tour continues on with shows in Sydney, Canberra, and Brisbane.
Purchase tickets HERE to ensure you don’t miss out!