While Satyricon have never been afraid to embrace change or take on a challenge, this live album and DVD recorded in collaboration with the Norwegian National Opera Chorus still seems like a bold step.
Metal’s occasional dalliances with classical music have ranged from the triumphant to the piss-poor, but most – like Metallica’s strangely lauded S&M – have ended up somewhere in the middle; a perfunctory clash of sonic ideologies that harbours little substance beyond the superficial bombast. But Satyr is a crafty and meticulous chap and, against the odds, Live At The Opera is stunning.
A stately march through highlights of the Satyricon catalogue, all underpinned by the resolutely epic voices of the NNOC, this is both an inspirational live document and a wildly successful experiment. What is most startling is how seamlessly and naturally these potentially incompatible elements blend together.
On the already wild and thunderous To The Mountains, for instance, the choir’s layered interjections make such perfect sense that it’s hard to believe they weren’t there all along. Similarly, the familiar likes of Now Diabolical and Mother North sound enhanced and reborn in this context. Truly great live albums are a rarity, but this is fucking magnificent./o:p