Wednesday, July 19, 2006

satan's work

gorgoroth - 'ad majorem sathanas gloriam'

released: june 26, 2006
running time: 31'39"
regain records

songs: 1. wound upon wound 2. carving a giant 3. god seed (twilight of the idols) 4. sign of an open eye 5. white seed 6. exit 7. untamed forces 8. prosperity and beauty

As of late, Gorgoroth may have been attracting more headlines for vocalist Gaahl's tribulations with justice, but that should not overshadow the importance of the Norwegian band's new album. Despite a long career already, Gorgoroth have usually been looked at as part of a second tier of black metal bands by most genre fans (me included, I admit), and even excellent albums like 'Pentagram' haven't done much to give them the full notoriety many feel they deserve. However, with this new record, probably their best so far, things are bound to change.

The final piece in the Gorgoroth puzzle might have been the hiring of Frost from Satyricon and touring partners 1349 for drum duties. The man's relentless battery would make every band step up a notch of quality, and when it's a band already very well stocked in that department like Gorgoroth, the result is what we can hear on 'Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam'. More than the constant intensity, what impresses more about the record is the overpowering feeling of eerie malice, for which Gaahl's inhuman vocals contribute decisively. Much like 1349's latest, 'Hellfire', it represents the true face of current black metal - it's not music that you can easily dismiss as childish or cartoonish like you would some of the more popular bands associated with the genre.

The musical balance is very good - from the oppressive 'Carving A Giant' to the full speed ahead of 'God Seed', the quality and variety of the songwriting assures that the songs don't fade into blandness. The band also understands that it's good to not drag out things, and in typical Gorgoroth fashion, it's all over after half an hour. In fact, for the atmospheres created in the album, that might even be too short, there's a nagging feeling of incompleteness when you start to really get into the record as a whole.

One of the quality black metal releases of the year.

the good: relentless, brutal and blasphemous - contemporary black metal as it should be
the bad: far too short - two or three songs more would have considerably enriched the album


  1. I used to listen to Venom and Bathory back in the 80's, but never really followed the bands they influenced. I always wondered if there was really that much to do in death and black metal that hadn't been done by say 1993.

  2. there's a lot of copycats, but some of the envelope-pushing bands in black metal are really worth it. check out emperor's stuff (all of it, really), or dodheimsgard, or immortal's 'at the heart of winter'.

    in death metal, listen to nile. trust me. :)