Sigurd "Satyr" Wongraven, the snarling frontman for Norwegian black-metallers Satyricon, says his band's forthcoming LP, Now, Diabolical, constitutes perhaps the darkest material he's ever had a hand in writing. But he doesn't say you've got to be a black-metal disciple to relish the record.
"These songs are very direct," he explained. "Instead of 12 or 13 themes per song, there are just a handful of themes that carry each song, because I wanted the album to have an extremely solid framework -- something that was undeniable and unquestionable, something that was very insisting and full of authority. A way of achieving that is to concentrate on purifying the power of a few themes, as opposed to never letting one theme establish itself.
"I think too many metal bands sound like they play music for other musicians, that the song has no higher purpose or that they don't look for a special atmosphere or anything like that," he continued. "They just play and say, 'Look at me, I can shred.' It's very typical and it's really sad."
Still, Satyr said he has no idea what sort of response Now, Diabolical's going to receive when it lands in U.S. record stores on June 13. Satyricon's previous outing, Volcano, has sold a mere 15,000 copies since its release back in 2003. Six weeks ago, Now, Diabolical was released in Europe and is one of the fastest-selling records in their homeland.
But Europe isn't America, and according to Satyr, "Americans have a different understanding of extreme-metal music.
"It's kind of weird," he continued, "because death metal is a part of what I call extreme-metal music, and death metal has more to do with America than Europe, that's for sure. It seems like there is a lot of confusion as to who's, where it concerns black metal and death metal. Europeans pinpointed a long time ago who's black metal and what bands are important. The American kids don't seem to have the slightest clue about that, so you find yourself in a situation where a band that is not popular in Europe at all ... can do really well in America, while other bands that have very solid standings in Europe are not doing very well in America. It's hard to predict.
"If I was to go by the reception and the overall status of a band like Satyricon in Europe, I would say that [the record] is going to do extremely well in America. But given what I just explained, you never know."
Before year's end, Wongraven said Satyricon hope to hit the road with a number of other true black-metal bands -- nothing has been confirmed yet -- for a U.S. headlining run. But a few months back, Satyricon were presented with a golden opportunity to raise their profile with metal lovers in the U.S.: a slot on this summer's Ozzfest.
Unfortunately, "we just had about a million things we were already committed to doing in Europe, so we couldn't be a part of Ozzfest this year," Wongraven said. He hopes the band will get a second chance next year, "because it's something we've always wanted to do. Every band that has a little bit of common sense must want to do Ozzfest. [Now, Diabolical] is doing really, really well in Europe, and it's not like we're going to blow that just to see what could possibly happen in America. That's the honest truth."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Experimental grindcore gurus Cephalic Carnage are working on material for what will be their fifth album. The band will record the songs this winter and plans to release the effort a year from now. On a related note, Cephalic have found a replacement for bassist Jawsh Mullen, who left the band in February. Nick Schendzielos, who also plays with Denver's AinMatter, has been filling in for Mullen since he jumped ship. ... Unearth will shoot a video next week with director Darren Doane (AFI, Strife) for "Giles," the first single from the band's August 8 release, III: In the Eyes of Fire. ... Munich, Germany, death-metallers Heaven Shall Burn have completed tracking their forthcoming LP, Deaf to Our Prayers. "We're totally satisfied with the result," the band wrote on its site of the disc, set to drop August 28. ... Vincent McAllister, a guitarist and founding member of pioneering metal outfit Pentagram, has died. McAllister, 51, succumbed to cancer May 26, and his body was discovered inside his home by one of his roommates. He had been diagnosed in 2004 and underwent chemotherapy to combat the disease. He was not married and leaves no children. ...
According to Trivium bassist Paolo Gregoletto, the band has finished tracking The Crusade, the follow-up to 2005's Ascendancy. In all, the band recorded 15 tracks, which will graduate to the mixing phase this week. "We are incredibly excited with what we have accomplished in the studio," Gregoletto wrote on the band's Web site. The Crusade was recorded in Orlando, Florida, with producer Jason Suecof (God Forbid, Bury Your Dead). ... Grindcore legends Anal Cu-- have parted ways with guitarist John Kozik and drummer John Gillis, according to the band's Web site. Guitarist Josh Martin will return to replace Kozik, but AC are still looking for a new drummer. ... Death-metal icons Cannibal Corpse will be Jamey Jasta's guests during Saturday night's "Headbangers Ball" on MTV2. The band will discuss guitarist Rob Barrett's return to the fold and this summer's Sounds of the Underground Tour. ...
Canadian technical death-metal band Beneath the Massacre are in Yan's Room Studio in Montreal working on their full-length debut with producer Yannick St-Amand (Despised Icon, Ion Dissonance). The yet-untitled album will contain 10 new songs and follow up the band's 2005 EP, Evidence of Inequity. ... The Gathering singer Anneke Van Giersbergen won the award for Best Singer at this year's Muzikantendag 2006 on May 27 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. In March, the Gathering won Holland's illustrious Edison Award for Best National Music DVD for their double-DVD "A Sound Relief." Van Giersbergen, who suffered a bronchial and sinus infection that forced the band to postpone a month of European shows between April 19 and May 28, will bring the Gathering back on the road this month. ... God Dethroned are nearly done recording their seventh, yet-untitled album at Soundlodge Studio in Germany. According to a post on their Web site, the disc will feature "Some crazy double-bass rolls, super-fast fills, but above all, groove." Expect some "technical riffing mixed with heavy melodic atmospheres" as well. The album is the follow-up to 2004's The Lair of the White Worm. ... Laethora, a new death/grind band featuring ex-members of Dark Tranquillity and the Provenance are in the studio wrapping up their debut album, March of the Parasite. A rough mix of "Black Void Remembrance" can be heard at Laethora.com. ...
Alabama Thunderpussy have hired ex-Exhorder and Floodgate singer Kyle Thomas to replace Johnny Weils. The band has been working on new material since July 2005 and plans to enter the studio in the weeks ahead. "We knew right away that Kyle was the man for the singer spot when we heard him singing on some of the new material," guitarist Erik Larson said. "As an Exhorder fan, I felt a bit star-struck that this guy was singing on our music. It's amazing." ... ATP are among the bands contributing to For the Sick - A Tribute to Eyehategod, due this fall. New York extreme-metal band Brutal Truth reunited to record cover of "Sister F---er" for the tribute record, the proceeds of which will go to New Orleans musicians whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Other artists contributing to the disc include Byzantine, Watch Them Die, the Esoteric and Raging Speedhorn. For the Sick is scheduled for release this fall. ... Chicago's Novembers Doom will enter the studio June 16 to record the follow-up to 2005's The Pale Haunt Departure.