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It’s been three years since the last SATYRICON album and since then, the band has toured with PANTERA and signed with Capitol (at least for Scandinavia). But one listen to the snarling growls of frontman Satyr and Frost’s double-bass and blast beats from opening track, “With Ravenous Hunger,” and it’s obvious that the band’s encounters with the mainstream haven’t influenced the band in the least. They continue the grim, pessimistic outlook they left off with on Rebel Extravaganza. Over the next fifty-four minutes, Volcano offers a dark, pessimistic view of life, and is filled with bitter disgust and contempt, as if song titles that feature the words “angst”, “hatred”, and “suffering” hadn’t already clued you in as to what to expect. Musically the band has written its most diverse material to date, from the straight-forward, almost industrial “Fuel for Hatred” to the sinister doom of “Suffering the Tyrants” to the blast beats that lead us to the fourteen minute epic, “Black Lava”. Session vocalist, Anja Garbarek contributes backing vocals to three songs, at times creating a Portishead-meets-black metal sound which SATYRICON effortlessly pulls off. But then again SATYRICON has also used tambourines and organs in a song before and still managed to keep it black metal. Satyr’s voice and guitar-playing are as grim and dissonant as ever. And Frost delivers another black metal drum clinic, displaying a variety of styles and tempos. So while SATYRICON is unafraid to experiment on Volcano, they haven’t forgotten their grim black metal roots, and that’s what ultimately separates the men from the filth. (Capitol)