Review Summary: The devil burns cold.
On the surface, Gorgoroth appears to be little more than a byproduct of genre stereotypes. A Norwegian black metal band named after the most evil land in The Lord of the Rings
, silly stage names like Infernus and Pest, overtly satanic imagery and lyrics, even performing in black and white face paint. All signs point to a gimmick band reliant on shock-value rather than substance, but that’s not at all the case. None of it sounds gimmicky. The band fully commits to their alter egos to the point that you wonder if they’re alter egos in the first place. The music sounds like it came straight from the bowels of Mordor during a blizzard – ice cold and fervently dark. Gorgoroth embrace their stereotypes and pull them off with enough conviction to embody what the Norwegian black metal scene is all about.
Not much has changed since their debut Pentagram
. The production is slightly crisper, the vocals are more dynamic (Hat and Pest split vocal duties this time), and the vaguely thrashy overtones are all but gone. Antichrist
is pure unadulterated black metal. It flows seamlessly from beginning to end as a single 25-minute piece of music. Tracks like ‘Gorgoroth’ and ‘Heavens Fall’ highlight melodic progressions over blast beat laden tapestry, while ‘Possessed (by Satan)’ utilizes offbeat drum patterns to accentuate its unnerving atmosphere. Clean vocals rear their head in a couple tracks, namely the closer ‘Sorg’, which sounds like authentic droning ambiance from an occult monastery.
What makes Gorgoroth special despite their superficial image is that they aren’t just putting on a show. They believe in what they do wholeheartedly. They’re playing “evil” in its aural form. And because they believe it, we can believe it and willfully relish in the darkness alongside them.