With only two UK dates on the tour supporting their excellent newest offering “Deep Calleth Upon Deep,” Satyricon’s headline show at The Classic Grand in Glasgow was set to be a special night. Their first time in Glasgow in over a decade, Satyricon brought Greek thrashers Suicidal Angels along for their first ever Scottish show. With no local support, the night was to be dominated by the two European heavyweights, showcasing two very different ends of the extreme metal spectrum.
With an epic, classical intro track heralding their ascent to the stage, Suicidal Angels began their set very quickly after doors opened. A near-empty floor and lack of crowd energy marred the first few tracks of Suicidal Angels’ set, but the Greeks displayed exceptional fortitude and persistence. Opening with “Capital of War” from their newest offering, “Division of Blood,” the requests for crowd involvement during the chorus fell on death ears, though a few swinging necks could be seen scattered throughout the venue. As their set progressed, the venue filled quickly and the Greek thrashers saw a far more enthusiastic crowd, definitely winning more than a few new acolytes. The quartet performed excellently overall, with no obvious mistakes displaying a well-tuned tightness, and the energy was above and beyond what anyone expected. Towards the end of their set, Suicidal Angels saw the only noteworthy mosh pits of the night, the gig’s only wall of death and a roaring response from the Glasgow crowd as they finished up. Not letting a less than enthusiastic crowd mar the early moments of their set, Suicidal Angels finished their stage-time by captivating the crowd, and earning a room full of new fans that would no doubt delight in the Greeks’ return to Scotland in the near future.
While Suicidal Angels’ set was frantic and energetic, with plenty of moshing as the room filled, Satyricon’s [9/10] show was something else entirely. Despite the visceral nature of the black metaller’s sound, the crowd was far more subdued during their set, headbanging and roaring along with the lyrics while letting the music wash over them, rather than throwing down in the pit. This was about aural violence, not physical.
In terms of performance, there is no real way to fault Satyricon – though less wild on stage than Suicidal Angels, at no point did Satyricon lack energy. Satyr’s stage presence was absolutely excellent, commanding the audience’s undivided attention, keyboardist Anders Hunstad, though tucked away at the back of the stage, added a huge scale to Satyricon’s live sound, and the trio of live axemen performed exceptionally. A special note should be made for Frost, who played with the precision, speed and tightness of the Terminator – though no less was expected of the man regularly lauded as one of the best drummers in the world. There was a genuine concern in the crowd that he would, at some point in the night, spontaneously combust from the sheer speed.
Setlists are always hard to craft, a band is never going to please everyone in the crowd, but Satyricon’s setlist was remarkably strong. Covering a large portion of their discography, only two albums were unrepresented – 1994’s “The Shadowthrone” and 1999’s “Rebel Extravaganza.” The exquisite new album “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” was heavily represented, and the new tracks sounded absolutely brilliant live – particular highlights are the lead singles, the title track and “To Your Brethren In The Dark”, setlist opener “Midnight Serpent” and “The Ghost of Rome”. Many of the older classics were present as well, with “Die By My Hand,” “Now Diabolical,” “Black Crow On A Tombstone” and “Walk The Path of Sorrow” sounding, somehow, simultaneously beautiful and brutal. Satyricon finished their excellent main set with “Mother North,” and quickly returned to deliver a crushing encore comprised of “To The Mountains,” “King,” “Fuelled By Hatred” and the utterly incredible “The Pentagram Burns.”
There has been talk of “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” being the last Satyricon album, but if there is any justice, we’ll see Satyr, Frost and co continue for many years to come.