Satyricon - Rebel Extravaganza
Nuclear Blast
Black Metal
10 songs (1:00:39)
Release year: 1999
Satyricon, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Satyricon have gained themselves a bit of a bad name in recent years, yet more than a few fans actually like releases such as Volcano and Now, Diabolical (personally, I’ve come to love both) despite what the Black Metal underground in general seems to think. Many there simply found the duo’s dip into Black N’Roll (to unfairly pigeonhole their new sound for a moment) too much to deal with, a betrayal of their underground roots. Of course, the fact that everyone who has listened to ‘sell-out’ single K.I.N.G only has to see those letters written down to start hearing the song in their heads is ignored – good songwriting in Black Metal?! Heresy!

Opinions are generally more mixed about the band’s interlude album, however, the moment that the Norwegian twosome departed from their ‘medieval’ sound and adopted a look that was quite a distance from the cross-destroying and naked blonde-sacrificing silliness of the Mother North video. The cover art of Rebel Extravaganza’s a clue to the music – the two filthy, homeless Black Metal junkies depicted have made an album that revels in taking steps away from the ‘true’ path, as much as that historic darkness can still be found at the heart of their sound. Listen to Nemesis Divina and then listen to this, and you can hear the progression; removing the medieval aspects and spiritual influences and replacing them with an uncanny, experimental Post-Industrial style that has been a bigger influence on post-90s Black Metal than many would admit.

From the ten-minute meanderings of Tied In Bronze Chains and The Scorn Torrent (with some great female vocals on the latter) to shorter, almost catchy blasts like Filthgrinder and Havoc Vulture, this is Satyricon exploring their moral and aural depths. This was a crossroads in the band’s career, where they could have gone careening off into Dødheimsgard territory. That they ultimately went catchy is just one path in time; in another, Satyricon are the Avant-Garde masters of Norway. Without doubt, this fits perfectly alongside the band’s earlier albums in terms of atmosphere, whilst being just catchy enough to merit a place atop Volcano and Now, Diabolical as the father of that much-maligned sound.

Looking at Rebel Extravaganza on its own merits, however, there’s much to like. The majority of tracks are between six and ten minutes long, with just a few shorter interlude pieces, and these longer tracks all have a traditional Black Metal foundation with an oddly progressive focus, still relying more on hypnotic repetition than weird sound effects or catchy riffs, although obviously both are used. Aspects such as the Hammond-y backing keyboards in Havoc Vulture and the Industrial-esque percussion throughout dotted here and there make it a very interesting listen, although the backing Black Metal is wonderful, of course. Say what you like about them signing to Roadrunner, this band are more than skilled at what they do, and Rebel Extravaganza is a classic release in more ways than one. If this review was written a few months later, those extra ten points would be added without a doubt. As it is, a re-examination of Satyricon’s sonic journey is vital given the imminent (at the time of writing) release of album number seven. Even if the forthcoming sounds of The Age Of Nero don’t excite you, then try this: literally an extravaganza in itself, a revolt against tired genre constraints, a blast of Black Metal that will take many listens to fathom completely. Come, let us join the orgy, as Satyr snarls on the opening track, for dirt and filth taste so good...

Killing Songs :
Tied In Bronze Chains, Filthgrinder, Havoc Vulture, Prime Evil Renaissance, Supersonic Journey, A Moment Of Clarity, The Scorn Torrent
Goat quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Satyricon that we have reviewed:
Satyricon - Satyricon reviewed by Goat and quoted 60 / 100
Satyricon - The Shadowthrone reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Satyricon - Dark Medieval Times reviewed by James and quoted CLASSIC
Satyricon - The Age Of Nero reviewed by Goat and quoted 84 / 100
Satyricon - Now, Diabolical reviewed by Daniel and quoted 60 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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