Review by Luka on November 19, 2002.
Picking up right where they left three years ago with "Rebel Extravaganza" (enough time, it seems, for Satyr’s hair to grow long again), our infamous black metal aristocrats have offered us a devious new aural assault that will once again assure their spot among the genre’s elite. Treading a familiar path, the opening track blasts forth with a thumping, helicopter double-bass riff to conjure that unmistakable Satyricon sound. While ”Volcano” didn’t exactly blow me away completely, as my expectations for this album were great, it did once again strengthen my regard for the band a great deal.
The traditional cold atmosphere the band seems to enjoy has warmed but not by much. Satyr’s guitar still sounds like an icy chainsaw but the songs are written in a simpler framework and seem to be moving towards a more customary structure that’s not nearly as technical as on their previous release. A notable improvement, as the songs from "Rebel Extravaganza" had a tendency to drive themselves into a dead end with overly long and exhausting arrangements. With the un-necessities shed we are left with a more confident and homogeneous sounding Satyricon than ever.
"Volcano" shows the band making another vital change by for the first time in their career writing songs that are actually really catchy! ’Repined Bastard Nation’ steadily drives on a strong double-bass groove for some five minutes, creating an absolute head-banging delight, while other riffs even have an amiable rock-n-roll feel. While this style is most likely an indicator of the band’s future character, it is only in its infancy and typical black metal rhythm and technicality is still abundant. I doubt "Volcano" will be seen as any kind of milestone for the band, and I’ll go as far as saying that this is the first mediocre album Satyricon has put out in a long time. Now mediocrity by Satyricon standards means that it is still head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd so the black metal fan can pick this up in a second. The marvelous cover picture deserves praise as well.
Bottom Line: A bold and confident release from one of black metal’s best. While not a phenomenal follow-up to the last album, "Volcano" is definitely a safe buy.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.1 out of 10