The streets are Digbeth are full of colour this evening. As the sun sets over the Birmingham city skyline many a drunken revealer spills out of the public houses and onto the streets regaled in green. Today was the annual St. Patrick’s day parade in the city and everyone who claims to have an ounce of Irish heritage is out on the town celebrating.
The colours pouring out of the pubs are in marked contrast to the people standing patiently in line outside the Institute. For the figures in black, with the occasional face daubed in corpse paint, line up for a rare glimpse of black metal legends Satyricon. The Norwegian ensemble out on the road for an all too brief three date UK tour.
Those corpse painted brethren file into the venue and down into the basement room past lines of merchandise all of which too lack the colours filling the streets outside.
The only other act on this evenings bill are American thrashers Suicidal Angels, who may seem a strange accompaniment to tonight’s headliners, but then Satyricon have never done things by the book.
The band obviously take an influence from the darker side of the thrash genre, as there is more than a heavy hint of Slayer and Dark Angel in their style. The grunt of the guitar riff rumbles around the nearly full room at a full pace with wild technical solos interlacing each song. Close your eyes and you’d mistake that drum line for one of Dave Lombardo’s. Ok, maybe they are not yet that well polished, but these lads aren’t far off. Give it a year or two and these guys will be headlining in their own right. Old school thrash fans should check them out sooner rather than later.
As the roadies turn around the stage, a drum kit towers above us. Not your average kit, but one framed with horns, spikes and random extras symbols. A piece of artwork in itself, it dwarves the crowd it towers above.
Whilst the band are black metal they are by no means keeping in tradition to the genre. The foundations in black are present but with the bands added twist. Black Crow almost anthemic in nature has me banging my head as the fans pump their fists.
Technically exquisite in everything they do, after the first intermission they return with Die, by far more traditional than the first part of the set. A band forged in the fires of Norwegian forests, they incorporated their native scene in with their own uniqueness. Satyr’s haunting vocals matched by the eerie keyboards whilst the blasts from the menacing drum kit keeps them brutally true.
A second intermission follows Diabolical and the third section of the set incorporates Dissonant and Sorrow much to the packed house’ pleasure. A stunning set incorporating so much of their back catalogue is rounded out with an encore of Pentagram, Fuel and K.I.N.G.. Satyricon are a band that not only cross boundaries but erase them. Whilst steeped in black metal roots their music encompasses so much more and will even entice the most sceptical fan in.