Review Summary: Savage with a tendency to throb, Gaahl has returned to the black metal scene with ‘I Begin’.
Truly an excellent listen from start to finish, despite all the turbulence created from lawsuits and time in imprisonment Gaahl’s God Seed is a force to be reckoned with. For the former Gorgoroth members this is far from revolutionary, but for Gaahl and co. it’s definitely a fresh start. From concerts featuring naked crucified women, bloody goats heads and other Satanist-ic imagery, I Begin
marks many stereotypes of a Norwegian black metal group. The album itself is no different.
showcases some of your basic black metal passages, themes and styles but each this record allows tracks to twist and evolve around the raw-ish production value and come together with a sound that shows God Seed branching away from a former Gorgoroth sound. Unfortunately for God Seed there is a focus on what the two former Gorgoroth heavyweights can do. What seems to be forgotten is that this four piece (yes, a four piece) works together in a way that creates one of the better black metal efforts of 2012. Even with the primitive production values Nick Barker showcases his drumming talents blasting and crashing with the choppy sometimes rung out chords of guitarist Session Teloch. That’s not to say the record is one tempo, full of blast beats and raspy vocals. Not only do the band now how to slow things down a little but they can also add an eerie, some-what sinister atmosphere over tracks. Take the album opener ‘Awake’ for a spin; yes the track highlights some very black metal sounds but as the track progresses some keyboard and synth work takes point and draws the listener in. This atmosphere shows a slightly out of the box thinking for God Seed and while it definitely has been done before this type of musical incorporation only adds to I Begin’s
Interestingly enough the tracks on I Begin
do not exceed five and a half minutes (with the longest track being ‘This from the Past’ at just over five), this is not a bad thing at all. Tracks here never outstay there welcome, and for the most part are not brief enough to disappoint the listener. There are no ten minute epics to be found here just a focus on quality song writing and instrumental ability to match. Where there is black metal there is a contrast of sounds being presented, for example; for every ‘Awake’ there is an ‘Alt Liv’ where black metal is the base of the sound but with melodic, avant and keyboards thrown in. The music may be Gorgoroth-esque but I Begin
is really trying to do something different with its sound.
Legal battles and comparisons aside this is a welcome debut for God Seed. This eerie type of black metal may not be ground breaking but where the blast beats truncate and shrieks are replaced by whispers and chanting there is an array of excellently presented musicianship. For those familiar with the former moniker of King Ov Hell and Gaahl, there may not be too much that surprises the listener but some parts may add to the intrigue and may have been unexpected, overall adding to the records quality. This album is a welcome addition to any black metal fan and for 2012 this album should be well received.