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Good for its time - 71%

Lord_Jotun, January 18th, 2004

Gorgoroth's first and only demo, "A Sorcery Written In Blood", serves as a reliable document to prove how this band has stayed true to its roots. Listening to any of the band's future album releases (especially the first three, but "Destroyer" could also fit) it's amazing to discover that, a year before the release of the debut, the Gorgoroth sound was already there in its entirety. You just have to compare these early versions to those who would later appear on the "Pentagram" album to discover it.
This demo was recorded by the band's original line-up consisting of Infernus on guitar, Hat on vocals and Goat Pervertor on drums, plus a bassist named Kjettar that only appeared on this release (not a big deal since his playing doesn't really stand out in any way) and would be replaced by Emperor's Samoth on the first album.
The sound is amazingly good for a demo; the overall feeling is that of a rehearsal but everything comes out rather clear. The guitar has its own share of static but is suprisingly thick, the drums are a bit lacking in tone but are very audible in their entirety - and believe me, this is a real rarity for a demo of this kind - and the vocals (not as Donald Duck-ish as on "Pentagram" but still pretty shrill) are loud and powerful... heck, we even get hints of the bass at times, although being slightly distorted it ends up being a single entity with the guitar most of the time.

The demo opens with an intro named "Gathered at Blåkulla", which is basically a minute and twnty seconds of incoherent screaming backed by sparse percussion and feedback noises; someones is actually performing backing vocals (if we can call them that way), although we don't know who he is.
Then we find "Sexual Bloodgargling", which is NOT an unreleased song but an early version of "Ritual"; it could possibly have dfferent lyrics but since they have never been officially printed I challenge anyone to figure them out (both here and on the "Pentagram" album), and it's also interesting to note that near the end of "Gathered at Blåkulla" we can hear the word "ritual" being repeatedly screamed rather clearly. Musically, however, the song has never changed from this phase: it begins pretty fast but then slows down for a rather ominous riff, then it picks up again and goes into a more plodding section backed by nice double bass drumming and a good melodic guitar line (you can hear it better than on the album here actually, because of the absence of a second guitar). Definitely a great choice to show the band's potential.
"(Under) the Pagan Megalith" finishes the demo, and once more it's the same song we will hear on the debut; this song keeps a faster pace most of the time, and even incorprates a nice Thrash break that definitely pushes up the variety meter quite a bit. A slower but no less powerful part finishes the song, and the slightly processed vocals that come in this are the only hint of any studio work on the recording, otherwise I could have believed it to be a very good rehearsal tape.

As I said, if you heard these songs on "Pentagram" you basically heard this demo (apart from the intro, but I can't really rate it as essential), as this is basically the same songs with a rawer and less polished sound - yes, I know band's like Gorgoroth never go for that 36 track studio sound, but "Pentagram" has a great drive anyway. If you really are into this band, you can try to find mp3's of it or even get the recent 7" bootleg reissue, but don't pay ridiculously high prices for this - there are better underground rarities to hunt down, honestly. Everyone else can move on to the "Pentagram" album right away.