Satyricon have always stood apart from their Norwegian black metal brethren, pushing boundaries from the get-go right up until the present day. From their solid live work on the road that helped shape the band stylistically to experimenting with different sounds and directions, their musical and stylistic evolution has been received with varying degrees of enthusiasm from both fans and critics.
Their 1999 album, Rebel Extravaganza, was the first real shift for the band, and one that still divides their fanbase. After their monumental Nemesis Divina record in 1996 (one that brought them universal acclaim, solid and blistering Norwegian black metal that ticked all the conventional boxes), the expectation was that the next foray would be more of the same, but Satyr and Frost needed to make a statement. Black metal at the time was comfortably settling into an overblown, gothic pigeonhole that didn’t sit right with our heroes – they felt the need to upset the apple cart and shake the genre out of its downward creative spiral.
Rebel Extravaganza was an attack on the senses that struck on a more industrial, cold level, brought to the fore with ‘70s analogue keyboards and playing around with various physical sounds that would add to the atmosphere rhythmically. They also took the time to get the drum kit tuned by a professional to allow the percussion to flower, and choosing guitars, pedals, and amps to achieve just the right tones and crunch. As it was, the album took everyone by surprise and did cause waves in the industry, pushing their peers and followers to colour outside the box in the new millennium, and the effect of these ten songs on modern black metal has been exponential. Hell, it even woke Phil Anselmo up at the time to invite Satyricon on a high-profile Pantera tour, so they must have done something right.
Here’s a short teaser video for the Rebel Extravaganza Re-Issues:
Twenty years later, Rebel Extravaganza is still a bone of contention in metal conversations, some claiming that it opened new doors and some denying its cultural impact or musical importance. Either way, the songs have continued to be classics for the band, with monster tunes like “Filthgrinder,” “Havoc Vulture,” and the brutal “Tied In Bronze Chains” high up on their live setlists. With future releases (most importantly 2002’s Volcano, where they would move into a more rock-oriented direction), they would continue to evolve and defy convention, but this 1999 album remains the most controversial and talked-about release to date, for all the right reasons.
The remaster on this re-issue doesn’t have any huge changes, but the fresh sound helps to highlight the myriad of sounds buried within and gives it an even colder feel. With this in mind, listening to this version against the original shows the band’s true intention and pushes the extremity of the wall of sound right into your face. I’ve always been a fan of the record, but to hear it with a different production makes all the difference, and it’s so great to see it given the respect and push that it deserves.
If you’ve never heard the album before, aim straight for this version; if you love the original, this one will make you salivate. Most importantly, if you have heard the album before and it didn’t move you, time to sort that out with this Napalm Records re-issue. Rebel Extravaganza has finally been given the time and care it craved, and Satyricon earn more non-conventional stripes by continuing to stand behind it and allowing it to blow new minds. Be part of the evolution.
Check out the mental track “Havoc Vulture” and go nuts!
Rebel Extravaganza (Re-Issue) Track Listing:
01. Tied In Bronze Chains
03. Rhapsody In Filth
04. Havoc Vulture
05. Prime Evil Renaissance
06. Supersonic Journey
07. End Of Journey
08. A Moment Of Clarity
09. Down South, Up North
10. The Scorn Torrent
Run Time: 60:39 Release Date: December 13, 2019 Record Label: Napalm Records