Satyricon - Official Website

Rebel Extravaganza

Norway Country of Origin: Norway

1. Tied In Bronze Chains
2. Filthgrinder
3. Rhapsody In Filth
4. Havoc Vulture
5. Prime Evil Renaissance
6. Supersonic Journey
7. End Of Journey
8. A Moment Of Clarity
9. Down South, Up North
10. The Scorn Torrent

Review by Felix on June 4, 2024.

“True Norwegian Black Metal” became a quality label very quickly in the beginning of the nineties. But the pioneers from the top of Europe were not immune against self-destructive thoughts and deeds and with albums such as “Murder” (Gehenna), “Grand Declaration of War” (Mayhem) or “Eld” (Enslaved) the reputation of the early kings of the second wave began to crumble. Satyricon’s output from 1999 left no doubt that the duo was part of the problem, not of the solution. It was an emblematic album for the change the Norwegian scene went through.

Already the artwork says it all. We see two corpsepaint faces, okay, but the entire design of the cover fails to spread black metal vibes. The same goes for the stylish, artistically valuable yet inappropriate booklet and, much more worse, the music. You have to look for the black, original sounds with a magnifying glass. Satyricon’s material fails to offer black metal aesthetics. No grimness, no coldness, no mix of triumph and desperation. Rare exceptions like the vehement, dense and pretty brutal “Prime Evil Renaissance” do not stand for the whole album. Instead, the band selected “Tied in Bronze Chains” as opener and that’s symptomatic. It’s an 11 minutes tune, very ambitious, very meticulously arranged – and completely bloodless, partly repetitive and the king of missing integrity. Of course, the vocals still sound more or less evil and I do not say that the album marks a commercial sell-out. But believe me, this was not the full-length I wanted to get from the band that had written “Mother North”, “Du som hater gud” or “The Dawn of a New Age”. The fiery core of these classics does not return on “Rebel Extravaganza”, even the better songs like “Supersonic Journey” cannot compete with them.

If we do not count the three intermezzos, we have seven tracks with a playtime of 55 minutes. This new opulence shows both the ambitions of the duo and its incompetence to bring them to life completely. One can enjoy some good parts here and there, but a lot of the tracks lack compactness, impact and a clear direction. If one wants to understand the record as an experiment, we have to realize that it is a half-hearted one. Satyricon do not really step out of the black metal territory, but they also do not reach new shores. Even the production reinforces the dilemma. It is a pretty vehement one and it does not suffer from serious defects concerning the sound of the guitars, the drums or the vocals. Nevertheless, it does not create any kind of atmosphere and this somehow sterile approach is a shortcoming I cannot ignore.

The most coherent detail is the fact that the closer “The Scorn Torrent” shows the same weaknesses as the opener and so it closes the cycle. It holds some highly aggressive, relentless sections, but bloodless sections as well and crude female vocals are not helpful as well, to say it politely. For all those who did not realize it already, the closer makes clear that spontaneity did not play an important role during the making of “Rebel Extravaganza”. The result is a partly tiring, mid-tempo orientated album with some strong sections, but far away from being a worthy successor of “Nemesis Divina”. Therefore, the promising potential of our intelligent friend Satyr remains more or less well hidden in the dark. The album is not a total failure, but it shows that the band has lost its inner compass and this makes it even difficult to enjoy its good sides.

Rating: 6.4 out of 10


Review by Luka on April 29, 2001.

So Satyr finally decides to shave his rapidly balding head, and along with that, the whole band (the two guys) undergo a complete makeover, trying to look as scary as possible and putting their ugly mugs right on the front cover. It shows that Satyr not only has a sense for songwriting, but marketing as well: shock sells. The previous Satyricon albums were jewels in a sea of black metal crap and mimicry, always giving us something new, and (the beautifully packaged) Rebel Extravaganza doesn’t let anyone down on that account.

I’d call RE elaborate, modern, complex black metal (how totally opposite of Satyr’s side project Wongraven, which is basically simple, progressive medieval synths.) It starts off with "Tied in Bronze Chains"-my favorite track. If you’re in the right mood, each song is a treat. If not, the whole album is painfully boring and impossible to sit through (it’s over an hour long)! The real beauty of the songs is the unexpected twists and turns, you never know what to expect next. The lyrics Satyr simply describes as ‘misanthropic’. They mostly describe a terrifying future world overrun by machines and hellspawn and the death of all "white-draped men" and where "justice is replaced by mercy for the inferior". The lyrics are beautifully written (especially in Prime Evil Renaissance), except for a few grammatical errors which no Scandinavian songwriter seems to be able to overcome.

There are some interesting guest musicians here: Fenriz of Darkthrone doing some drums and Dod of Gorgoroth contributing some guitarwork. Also some horribly misplaced female vocals on the last song which almost totally wrecks it, but fear not, Rebel Extravaganza is awesome! It’s a hard listen at first and it takes time to get into. All who put down this album will burn in hell, Satyr is king!

Bottom Line: Soundtrack to a very cold and grim future world. No black metal fan would want to miss this, forget about Darkthrone and Burzum, this is the future of the genre.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10