Satyricon-Roadkill Extravaganza (2001)

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 133:27 (Case: 130)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Satyr
Studio
Distributor

Modern Invasion Music
Starring Satyr
Frost
Steinar Gundersen
Cyrus
Kine Hult
Tyr
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Satyricon


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.59:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    To understand exactly where this programme is coming from, a history lesson is in order, but those who are already familiar with third-generation black metal bands may skip the next couple of paragraphs at your leisure.

    Satyricon are, as the previous sentence implies, one of the bands that followed in the steps of Burzum and Mayhem, just as those two followed in the steps of Bathory. Formed in the early 1990s by Satyr and Frost, the band began life as a variation on the traditional Norwegian black metal that often seemed more like "Christians out of Norway"-style Oi music. With their first two albums, Dark Medieval Times and The Shadowthrone, Satyricon established themselves as a force to be reckoned with, and their connections with such bands as DarkThrone and Emperor certainly helped matters. Their next album, Nemesis Divina, featured DarkThrone guitarist Nocturno Culto on session guitars, under the name Kvelduv in this case. However, one problem with this album was that the band had pretty much exhausted their well of ideas in the traditional black metal arena, a problem that has plagued numerous bands before and since.

    In 1999, a four-song EP came out that implied Satyricon had solved that problem by doing a one-eighty degree flip into a whole new style of black metal that was one part hardcore and three parts traditional. This new direction on the Intermezzo II EP was a big hit with listeners of all walks, myself included, and it has so far continued on their subsequent album, Rebel Extravaganza. Tours with Pantera, those "woefully untalented jerks" as Ian put it so well, ensued and allowed Satyr and Frost to take their ever-developing musical style to a whole new audience. Personally, I find their music from around the time The Shadowthrone was recorded to be marginally more interesting, but the beauty of a band that isn't afraid to innovate is that few, if any, of their albums are exactly alike. Purists have also argued that the shift of the lyrics from Norwegian to English diminishes the impact of the music somewhat, but Satyricon were never afraid to use both on the one album.

    Roadkill Extravaganza concerns itself with the tour that was embarked upon shortly after the release of Rebel Extravaganza. Featuring commentary from notorious members of the scene like Fenriz and Nocturno Culto of DarkThrone, Roadkill Extravaganza documents the trials and tribulations faced by both Satyricon, including the three men and one woman who were added to the band's line-up for the live performances, as well as their road crew. As the cover blurb states, this isn't just a heap of excessive footage chopped together and changed to look nice, it's a warts-and-all presentation of life on the road for a band that dares to do something artistic. Fans of Satyricon and third-generation black metal in general will be amazed by how tightly-knit the scene is over in Western Europe, and those who have yet to hear just how extreme music can get will be astounded.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This documentary begins with technical information stating that it was shot using a digital camera (probably a digital camcorder), and that everything has been done to keep the presentation as raw as possible. It shows in this transfer, which shows that Moonfog Productions obviously underestimated how much benefit a second layer of space would have been. Oh well, at least it isn't an NTSC to PAL conversion like a lot of independent music video releases here.

    The transfer is presented in an approximate 1.66:1 ratio, and it is not 16x9 Enhanced.

    The sharpness of this transfer is quite good at the best of times, especially considering the source material's limitations, but when it gets bad, it gets bad in the same earnest sense that the band like to play their songs with. The shadow detail is rather poor, with blacks being rather murky and indistinct, especially during sequences on the tour bus or other such poorly-lit locations. A small dose of low-level noise is evident at times as well.

    The colours in this transfer are reasonably balanced, with some bleeding evident in strong stage lights. Composite artefacts, namely dot crawl, are evident in the opening logos and every subsequent piece of text used to explain some things in the film that would not be evident without it.

    MPEG artefacts are in evidence during several sections of this transfer, with some ugly macro-blocking in stage lights and the bodies of performers at such points as 1:57. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of frequent camera wobble and several doses of moderate aliasing in luggage racks, such as at 9:45. Film artefacts were not in evidence during this transfer, but video artefacts that appeared to be dropouts in the original tape that was used to film this footage appeared every now and then. Overall, the latter half of the transfer looks more stable and clear than the first half, but with an average bitrate of just over four megabits per second, source material of this quality is bound to show compression nasties.

    Burned-in English subtitles are present to translate comments that are made in Norwegian, which two friends of mine who speak both languages found slightly annoying.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The technical information given at the start of this documentary also states that the audio on this disc was recorded using the microphone inside the camcorder that the video was recorded with. What little audio there is that has been dubbed over the original track is taken from the albums that the songs at these points first appeared on, or in some cases silence. Again, this shows in the resultant transfer quality, although the faults in the audio are generally more tolerable than those in the video.

    There is one soundtrack on this disc: the original English and Norwegian dialogue in Dolby Digital 2.0, with a bitrate that I couldn't determine due to some hassles in getting the necessary equipment set up.

Addendum November 16, 2001: The soundtrack bitrate is 224 kilobits per second. Presumably, the higher bitrate was used due to the problems one would expect with low-fidelity recording methods such as this.)
This soundtrack is not flagged to the player as either of those languages, and the Toshiba SD-2109 simply displays three dashes in place of any language information.

    The dialogue in the documentary sections of this programme is mostly clear and easy to understand, although there are some moments when sound effects like passing cars overwhelm the speech. Those who understand Norwegian without the benefit of subtitles will probably find the Norwegian speech easy to follow, too. The vocals in the songs that were recorded live, however, are rather muffled and recessed, thanks in no small part to the methods that were used to record them. There are no discernable problems with audio sync.

    The music featured in this documentary is primarily written by Frost and Satyr, with occasional writing contributions from the likes of Samoth or Nocturno Culto. The live band assembled for the tour from which all of this footage is taken consists of Satyr on vocals, Kine Hult on keyboards, Steinar Gundersen on lead guitar, Cyrus on rhythm guitar, Tyr on bass, and Frost on drums. This band plays together quite tightly, so much so that it's hard to believe that this line-up was assembled solely for this tour. The music's quality is something I've already covered in the plot synopsis, but suffice it to say that the focus in this documentary is on the workings behind the music rather than the music itself.

    Being a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, there is no surround activity on this disc, and I am not sure that the documentary or the music presented here really needs it. The subwoofer received a very small amount of redirected signal from my receiver, but the overall effect would be the same without it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Biographies for the band members that detail what they have been doing before they were brought together for this tour would have done, but we get a grand total of nothing from Moonfog.

Menu

    The menu is static and not 16x9 Enhanced. One positive side to the lack of features is that it is relatively easy to navigate.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Being that this is a Region 0 disc from an independent music label, it is the same all over the world.

Summary

    Roadkill Extravaganza is recommended for those who want to see all the insanity of a band that makes music, rather than advertising filler, touring several countries where the language barriers are often in full swing. If you've ever wondered how big a thing truly independent music is in more enlightened countries, then some of the things you'll see on this disc will really surprise you. It gets crude and even offensive at times, and you have to keep your brain in full gear to get the most out of the content, but the insights into how corrupt a society Italy can be, just for example, are worth it.

    The video transfer is of decidedly ordinary quality, and it would have looked a lot better with a second layer.

    The audio transfer is reasonable, given the source material limitations and artistic intent of those who made this feature.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Saturday, October 06, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 2109, using S-Video output
DisplaySamsung CS-823AMF (80cm). Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

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