Satyricon Volcano

It would be hard to identify Volcano as a Norwegian black metal album by just looking at the outside. Satyricon’s logo is way too legible, the large snake in close-up on the cover doesn’t look especially grim, plus there’s a large parental advisory notice and references to Columbia/Sony on the back. Even the arty band photos inside look too polished for the genre. Arriving in North America almost two years after its release in Europe, Volcano is out on eatURmusic, an imprint for bands handpicked by System of a Down’s Daron Malakian (thus the Sony connections). A surprisingly raw sonic abrasion for a major label, Satyricon’s latest is often a slow hybrid of funeral march and dirge, but tracks like "Fuel for Hatred” pick up the pace in a much more rock’n’roll way. Satyricon’s creative core of Satyr and Frost are joined by a few guest performers, most noticeably a recurring female background singer. The "uncut” video bonus didn’t quite pass by the morality police intact, but aside from its gratuitous naked blonde writhing around with a snake, and the excruciatingly long final track "Black Lava,” encounters with Volcano should turn out just fine. (Quire)