Notorious. That's one way you could describe Gorgoroth
. Chances are that you've heard of them, but never heard them. Formed in 1992 by guitarist Infernus, Gorgoroth
have released several albums, split demos (with Burzum), and compilations (with Darkthrone); their latest release is Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
, a turning point in their career.
seventh full length studio album, Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
, marks their turn towards the death metal genre. That is not to say however, that the days of having the Gorgoroth
we all know and love (you know, the guys that slaughtered a live sheep onstage in Poland?) are gone, they've just evolved into something more than your everyday, low production black metal band.
Speaking of the production, it's suprisingly good on the album, for the most part. All of the instruments sound as though they were actually mixed and mastered. On several of Gorgoroth's
past releases the guitars have blended into the drums, which blended into the vocals, which made for a rather unenjoyable listen to say the least. Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
has none of that. Tracks like "Wound Upon Wound" and "Carving a Giant" sport production that rivals that of their more popular metal counterparts, while tracks like "Exit" and "Untamed Forces" have the kind of production you would expect when listening to a black metal band. Fortunately these are the only two tracks with production so low, unfortunately there are only 8 tracks, making 25 percent of this album have low production.
Unfortunately, this low production is what may remind listeners of their early work the most. But for the most part album does sport some solid production, and a nice continous attack of blackened death metal; marking their evolution as a band.
The vocals on the album are fairly strong, and Gaahl shows his versatility as a vocalist with his growls and shrieks. Nowadays Gaahl is pitching his vocals to match the music, and doing so very well. His growls are pretty good, but nothing amazing or special. He does well though with the new death metal direction some of the songs take, especially "Wound Upon Wound" and "White Seed." Lyrically this album takes the route you would expect it to: Satan. I need not say more.
The guitar work also shows vast improvement over previous Gorgoroth
releases. Like Gaahl's vocals, it's nothing special, but more than solid. The sense of melody of this album was also surprising; "Wound Upon Wound" and "Exit" display some catchy riffs in both the death and black metal genres, respectively. If anything negatively can be said about Infernus' guitar playing, it's that he seems to use very little technique outside of tremolo picking (speed picking) and that his tone doesn't change from song to song. Fortunately enough, his lack of different guitar ideology from song to song doesn't result in recycled riffs, as he is more than able to write different sounding lines for each song.
Rhythmically the album is brutal. Frost (Satyricon, 1349, Gehenna) manned the drums for this album, and did a damn fine job. The blast beats are fast and add to the sonic brutality that is Gorgoroth
and the double bass work is fast and intricate. However, there seems to be a lack of drum fills on all of the songs, sometimes leaving riff transitions sounding a little out of place, but not too off. In short, Frost is impressive, but we've heard better from him. King Ov Hell can be heard almost entirely throughout the album which is nice, but in certain places, especially the songs with lower production, he is missing. His bass work is great, and he is able to keep up with Infernus note for note, and occasionally breaks off from him to go on a short bass fill. He does a nice job of providing a wall of sound along with Frost, allowing the vocals and guitars to flourish and take center stage.
If you're a fan of Gorgoroth, this is a must. If you are a fan of black metal, this is a must. If you're a fan of death metal and hae some extra cash laying around, go for it. The mood of the album is dark, very dark, and for the most part the album is very produced. The music in itself is great, but not ground breaking; however, should you be performing any satanic rituals in the near future, this album should add a nice ambience to your little...."event."
- Overall, it's dark as hell
- Vocals have improved
- Frost's drumming
- Production of "Exit" and "Untamed Forces"
- Lyrical concept is recycled
Wound Upon Wound
Carving a Giant
Overall: 4 out of 5