Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam - 2006 - Regain Records
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
With their latest release, “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam,” Norway’s Gorgoroth have done a pretty remarkable thing. Almost all of the so-called “kvlt” black metal bands from the early nineties are currently either disbanded or making sub-par music. Gorgoroth, however, have released an album over a decade after their inception that may in fact be some of their best work ever. Even more admirable is the fact that the band was able to accomplish this feat during a time of great tumult. Vocalist Gaahl currently has a pending prison sentence, and bassist King Ov Hell parted ways with the band shortly after the album’s release for nonspecific reasons. Fortunately, the creative songwriting of guitarist Infernus has made these other factors seemingly irrelevant.
It’s really tough to be creative in black metal today without combining black metal music with some other form of music, such as folk or avant-garde. Even more difficult is to remain creative after over a decade of existence. This is why Gorgoroth’s songwriting ability at this point in their career deserves a ton of praise. The team of Infernus and King Ov Hell has churned out riff after riff of bone-crushing, intense black metal. However, nothing sounds too recycled or repeated from earlier material. Gaahl’s vocal contribution, while not groundbreaking, adds to most of the tracks very nicely. His voice is neither too shrieky nor too low, and fits in well with the music. Making a guest appearance on the album is drummer Frost, who is most notably known for his work with Satyricon… although he’s contributed to pretty much every Norwegian black metal band at some point or another.
There isn’t much more to say about this album, because in many ways it’s just the typical good black metal album. But what sets it apart is that frankly there aren’t very many good black metal albums coming out these days. Gorgoroth put forth a somewhat refreshing yet familiar sound, which I’m sure any fan of black metal, old or new, will enjoy. Tracks that stand out especially are “God Seed,” “Wound Upon Wound,” and “Prosperity and Beauty.”
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