Satyricon and Cthonic @ O2 Islington Academy, London

14th November 2013, Review by Graham Hilling

Photography –
Chthonic – Graham Hilling
http://www.the-concrete-shell.com

Satyricon – Michelle Murphy
http://www.mootography.com

It’s a rather untypically late start in Islington tonight (8pm) due to there being only two bands on the bill, but this does mean that when support Chthonic take to the stage the venue is already heaving and there’s a great atmosphere.

Chthonic
Chthonic

For those that don’t know, Chthonic are a metal band from Taiwan who infuse traditional Taiwanese music and metal, using traditional instruments in addition to the normal stuff you’d expect to see on stage at a metal gig.

Chthonic
Chthonic

They are also notable for their campaigning for independence for Taiwan and self-determination for Tibetans and Uighurs, normally ensuring that they mention this at gigs to spread the message as far and wide as possible.

Chthonic
Chthonic

Propelled along by one of the best metal drummers out there (imho), Dani Wang, Chthonic live is a pretty impressive machine.

Chthonic
Chthonic

Loads of passion from vocalist Freddy Lim, slicing guitars from Jesse Liu (you wouldn’t know there was just a single guitar if you closed your eyes), every schoolboys dream Doris Yeh thundering away on bass and CJ Kao complete with freaky dreadlocked type mask on keyboards.

Chthonic
Chthonic

From the moment they hit the stage until the moment they leave it is a mint performance, 100% effort with no compromise.

Chthonic
Chthonic

“Oceanquake” from the album “Takasago Army” is a pretty impressive way to start and this is quickly followed by “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant” from the current album “Bu-Tik” Freddy Lims vocals really are throat shredding, there is no holding back or compromise here.

Chthonic
Chthonic

“Next Republic” keeps us bang up to date and this is followed by a spirited version of “Southern Cross”.

Chthonic
Chthonic

Back to the current album for “Sail Into the Sunset’s Fire” and “Defenders of Bú-tik Palace”, both squeaky tight and heavy as you like.

Chthonic
Chthonic

The latter being especially good and allowing Chthonic to show that they’re not all about uncompromising metal and nothing else.

Chthonic
Chthonic

Closer “Takao” is a fine way to close the set and it’s horns up for a photo from the stage. Chthonic have clearly arrived, the later material being particularly strong and very well performed (interesting though, that there was no really early material on show tonight).

Setlist:
Oceanquake
Supreme Pain for the Tyrant
Next Republic
Southern Cross
Sail Into the Sunset’s Fire
Defenders of Bú-tik Palace
Takao

A brief pause to re-configure the stage and it will soon be time for tonight’s headliners, Satyricon.
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A huge beautifully dark backdrop is backstage and expectation is at fever pitch in the full venue as they take to the stage to the tones of “Voice of Shadows” from the album “Satyricon”.
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It is a full five years since the last album and, I have to say, that “Satyricon (the album) was a little bit of a disappointment for yours truly (much because of the lightweight production).
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“Voice of Shadows” sounds like it should have a bagpipe added to it to me but as an intro this evening it serves its’ purpose well. The massed hordes lap it up and hang onto every note.
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“Now Diabolical” has the whole crowd singing along with Satyr and this is quickly followed by “Black Crow on a Tombstone” (the only song this even taken from “Age of Nero”).
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The curiously named “Our World, It Rumbles Tonight” gets the heads banging a plenty and I’m pleased to report that live, the new songs on display tonight work very well (certainly better than the recorded versions for me). And there’s no shortage of them (as you’d expect) – “Nocturnal Flare”, “Walker Upon the Wind”, “The Infinity of Time and Space” and “Nekrohaven” all get played to the metal hordes and all are very well received.
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Before “Forhekset”, Satyr muses on the fact that keyboard player Anders Hunstad was six when the album containing this song (“Nemesis Divina”) came out! It certainly makes you think how long Satyricon have been at or very near the top of the Balck Metal tree.
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Clearly disillusioned with the music industries demands of album after album, tour after tour, taking a long hiatus has left Satyricon better than ever. They certainly look refreshed and happy to be playing new material live once again.
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Satyricon index_clip_image038
Frost is a solid as ever behind his huge kit (adorned with various horns!) and while the incessant double bass drumming does get a little bit much by the end of the set there’s no doubt about how much he brings to Satyricon. The two closing songs “To the Mountains” and “The Pentagram Burns” both have thumping drums propelling them along and a menacing catchiness that is difficult to ignore. And menacing is a good way to describe most of the songs rolled out this evening, difficult to tie down why but they all have an air of menace that is palpable.
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A brief pause and they’re back playing “Mother North”, “Fuel for Hatred” and the majestic “K.I.N.G.” . A grand way to end the evening that leaves the crowd understandably shell shocked! Sadly no “The Wolfpack” or “Commando” tonight but I can forgive them for that.

Anyone who may have thought Satyricon were a little bit like yesterday’s news would surely reconsider that if they had been party to the show tonight. Not a foot wrong and I don’t think there would be many punters here who would disagree with that.

Setlist:
Voice of Shadows
Hvite Krists Død
Now, Diabolical
Black Crow on a Tombstone
Our World, It Rumbles Tonight
Nocturnal Flare
Repined Bastard Nation
Walker Upon the Wind
The Infinity of Time and Space
Forhekset
Nekrohaven
To the Mountains
The Pentagram Burns

Encore:
Mother North
Fuel for Hatred
K.I.N.G.

 

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