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As a fan of Gorgoroth, this album has always annoyed me. It's almost insulting just how bad this album is, an aspect of Gorgoroth that should shame all of the band's fans. I wasn't really going to bother reviewing this, as I didn't feel like this terrible album was even worth the effort, however upon seeing how good reviews this has gotten, I just can't resist.
At this point in time, Gorgoroth was pretty much the property of Gaahl and King ov Hell (one of the most stupid pseudonym I've heard). What did these two fellas give the trusting fans of Gorgoroth, hoping for some good old Norwegian black metal? The most generic, pathetic, and insulting effortless attempt at black metal. It's as if the sole purpose of this album is just to earn some quick money. The song writing is lazy and the riffs are dull, and all the songs blend together into a bland collection of forgettable failures.
The riffs are, for the most part, fast paced, often with a hint of doom. However, they don't work at all. They just come across as incredibly lazy, there's no passion in the song writing, it's like King ov Dull Riffs saw that the Dimmu fellas were getting fame and money, and he wanted to get some of that black metal money as well, the only difference is that it seems as if Dimmu Borgir actually puts some effort into their songs, whilst King just rides of creating generic uninspired riffs that the hard-core kindergarten-Satanists will love. I guess I should actually describe how they are, rather than just making insults: there's a hell of a lot of tremolo picking, and nothing more than that really. The riffs are so god damned forgettable that it's impossible to recall anything after a listen. Actually, I can remember one thing: I was so terribly bored. It's hard to even distinguish the songs, or tell the riffs apart, because they're all basically the same thing: tremolo pick a generic progression or scale really fast with the drums playing some blast beats, and there you have it. I'm actually having some genuine problems describing the riffs, as there's absolutely nothing that stands out, nothing made even a slight impression on me.
Furthermore, the vocals are terrible. His vocals just aren't special in any way, frankly, they're actually quite bad. His vocals sound so forced, and it sounds like he is chocking, and are just overall very weak, as they don't really sound properly rehearsed. He sounds like a chain smoker with a sore throat. Additionally, there's so many effects on his vocals. A part of what makes black metal so special is its rawness and honesty when it comes to albums, and his massive use of effects completely ruins that, and is thusly significantly worse. I don't really understand why the edgelord called Gaahl is so popular and loved. When I realized his vocals are terrible, I thought that the reason people liked him might have been due to his amazing personality and charisma, however the fact of the matter is that Gaahl is a complete cunt; not only did he openly voice his admiration for Hitler whilst calling black people subhuman, (which is edgy as fuck by the way), he actually acts out his dumb beliefs; he's been in jail multiple times for violence. I am aware that this review is starting to become more of a rant than a real review, however please bear with me, as I will describe the overall sound more now that I've gotten all of that out of the way.
The drums are boring, which is a shame, because I actually quite like Frost with Satyricon, however it's like King instructed him to be as unoriginal as possible. There's pretty much only blast beats. And to further the insult, the snare sound is also quite bad, way to flat and dry, not even remotely dynamic. I'm pretty sure even I could write better drums for this, the drum writing is obviously rushed, and I just feel so disappointed that the fellas couldn't even bother with proper drum sound, nor bother having drums that weren't completely dull and unoriginal.
The production is ok. I don't care about production, nor do I really notice it, except if it is exceptionally bad, however this is fine. You can hear most instruments clear, and I have no problems hearing what's being played. The guitar tone is actually quite good, heavily distorted, however not so much so that you can't hear anything. It sounds powerful and heavy, just how a guitar should sound.
I've seen Gaahl getting some credit for writing great lyrics, however I beg to differ. Just take a look at this (from Sign of an Open Eye): ''There is a god in man and in nature. He who sits in the dark, the bringer of light. This beauty, the sign of an open eye. Call him to black flame. Call him, call him to black flame, call him, call him, call him'' This is far from great. Just some pseudo intellectual edgy nonsense. Anyone could write this. It's so vague and meaningless, a pathetic attempt at seeming deep and poetic, a poor copy of Emperor's writing style, the difference being that Emperor's lyrics are actually interesting, and with Emperor, it feels like there's a meaning and a point to the lyrics, however this comes across as lazily written random stuff just to seem deep and smart without really having to write anything insightful or meaningful in any way.
I will give credit where credit is due, however, as the song ''God Seed'' is actually somewhat good. Not incredible, but good. This is the only instance where the attempted doomsday sound actually works, starting with some great riffs, that are atmospheric and dark. However halfway through the song, it goes back to being terrible. Now one song I'd like to talk about in particular, is the song ''Sign of an Open Eye'', which a lot of people give a lot of credit to for being awesome and atmospheric, however in reality, it's a chore to listen to. The lead guitar plays about 3 notes, and is just so boring. I do actually enjoy a lot of simplistic and atmospheric metal, however this song tries way too hard to be atmospheric. It's as if Gorgoroth just finished recording the album, but then King decided they had to have a slow atmospheric song, and so he wrote one in 10 minutes. The riff is not interesting, and it is repeated way too many times. It's clear what kind of song they aspired to write, however they failed miserably. King was so desperate to have his own ''An Excerpt of X'' that he forced this dull song, which is quite out of place by the way, into the already boring album.
To conclude this rant/review, ''Ad Majorem ...'' is boring, uninspired, rushed, dull and uninteresting, with the sole purpose of making money. Why did Infernus allow this to happen? Do not get this album, it's terrible. Apart from the few good riffs on ''God Seed'', there's absolutely nothing even remotely interesting on this album.
I find it kind of amazing that Gorgoroth manage to strike up more polarized opinions even than some of the most challenging black metal bands coming out today. Always treading somewhere behind the Norwegian frontrunners, they've never been truly daring. Even their half-successful experiments closely echoed the industrial fascinations of their influences. But even so, Gorgoroth are one of those bands where even the genre elite can't seem to make their minds up about it.
I'm pretty sure this has little to do with whether the band were ever making challenging music (hint: they weren't) but moreso with what different people look for in a "traditional" sound of black metal. For some, it's the atmosphere; for others, it's got everything to do with the songwriting. Others still put the focus (perhaps too much) purely on an artist's ideology. At one point or another, Gorgoroth have had all of these traits. However, considering they've had a bigger turnover rate than an average fast-food restaurant, it's nigh-impossible to have a single opinion that applies to everything they've done.
Strangely, it's the albums written by schoolteacher and bassist King (ov Hell) that start the most arguments. I guess it's because even the detractors can admit some worth in the early stuff that arguments are saved for the point in which Gorgoroth became, for all intents and purposes, a "modern" black metal band. King has always been something of an outsider to the black metal circle, and that's part of the reason why I was so surprised with how solid an album Twilight of the Idols was. Even if it played it safe wherever possible, the album was solid, and it's still the sort of thing I'll probably listen to occasionally when the mood strikes.
Having heard that Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam, the second album written by King, was possibly the band's most striking output, I was expecting this to make due on Twilight of the Idols' promise of tight songwriting and atmosphere. On the contrary, AMSG doesn't necessarily fail in either of those categories, but I've left wondering if its praise wasn't meant to be directed at the following, similarly Latin-named album the band put out after King and Gaahl left. For a band that has earned its reputation on averageness, AMSG is the first of theirs that doesn't serve to move me in any significant way.
Even if Gorgoroth always followed in the footsteps of others, I think they earned their own character through the melodic slant of Infernus' guitar playing. Although King may have written Twilight of the Idols as well, at least on that album it felt like the songwriting meant to capitalize on one of the band's greatest talents. To call the evolution on AMSG generic might be a start, but being derivative never stopped earlier albums from hitting much harder. Instead, AMSG was held back by a natural continuation of King's lust for consistency. Most of the songs employ the same tired approach without the riffs to justify it, and the few songs that break form end up being the album's best cuts. The martial focus of "Sign of an Open Eye" and the melodic tint of "Prosperity and Beauty" make them notably powerful in an album that otherwise aims for function alone.
On AMSG, I get the distinct feeling that Gorgoroth were trying to get more serious with their atmosphere. Not that they hadn't proved their dedication countless times before, but from the needlessly technical guitar parts and notable dissonance, it sounds like at least one of them had listened to Si Monvmentvm Reqvires, Circvmspice and decided the orthodox route would keep them fresh. In most cases, I'd actually welcome a band who tries to reinvent their image like that. However, where Deathspell Omega sounded fiercely inventive with their dissonance, King's writing feels somewhat lazy and unmemorable. He's a tame composer by default, and while that might have flown with a more primitive sound, King's reach isn't quite far enough to accommodate for this new approach.
On the other hand, ineffectual songwriting doesn't get in the way of another strong performance all around for Gorgoroth. Even if the riffs revolve on Iced Earth-y chugging more than they likely should have, Infernus stands out again as a great guitarist who manages to show his classical influences even after having had the writer's pen usurped from him. Although Gaahl would never come close to topping his performance on Incipit Satan, his screams here are fierce, helping to breathe some life onto a dry template. Lastly, where a lot of the "modern" black metal bands suffer from heinously pristine production, getting Herbrand Larsen to mix it obviously rubbed some of Enslaved's organic quality off on the band. Whether al of that is really enough to compensate for the lacking songwriting is really questionable. Making matters worse is the fact that all of the strengths on AMSG would be shortly toppled once Infernus regained control on Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt. Let the record show that Gaahl and King offered an interesting stage in this band's history, but it may have been for the best that they finally jumped ship.
This is the point where Gorgoroth was almost at its end musically, Infernus was barely writing anything and let medicore bassist King Ov Hell and medicore vocalist Gaahl write everything.
Although I did like "Incipit Satan" for its experimentation and original sound I despised "Destroyer" and "Twilight of The Idols" and I was certainly not looking forward to this one. I can safely say though I do enjoy this album somewhat and can listen to it a lot more than the previous album.
Gaahl is a lot less irritating on this release, hell, I might even say he is pretty good. His presence and performance on songs "Wound Upon Wound" and "God Seed" make the songs worthwhile. Although I am still pretty sure he uses effects (Something I feel no REAL black metal vocalist should do so much) he still sounds pretty good.
Infernus might as well have given the guitar to King and asked him to play, because King wrote ALL of the music. The riffs here are your standard black metal riffs, none struck me as memorable or interesting except for tracks like "Wound Upon Wound", "Sign Of An Open Eye" and "God Seed". The riffs aren't bad per se but King has never been able to write anything memorable or original, listen to "Ov Hell" for proof of that.
The bass is played by King, and it is okay but again very generic. I never dug him as the bassist for Gorgoroth anyway. You can hear his bass a lot of the time but you'll never pay attention to it because it is so boring.
The drummer is famed black metal drummer, Frost, and it is not surprising that he has the best performance on the album. He varies himself a lot in each song and it is a shame he is backing up such uncreative riffing. Whether it is blast beating or more technical drumming he pulls it off well.
The production is good, especially for a black metal album. You can hear each instrument clearly. Each riff sounding furious and the drums sounding even more inpressive. Nothing is louder than the other. The production is the best thing about this album next to the drumming.
All in all, this is not a bad album at all. In fact, I can listen to this and not feel ripped off because this was pretty much what I was expecting only little bit better. It is a well produced album that fails to offer anything new or exciting. Tracks like "Wound Upon Wound" and "God Seed" make this album great though. "Wound Upon Wound" is up there in my favorite tracks by the band.
This was Gaahl and King's last album with Gorgoroth (Thank goodness) and it was a respectable last effort by them. Infernus is better without them though.
Listening to this album is like eating trail mix; there’s a few Smarties among the boring healthy stuff, but once you’ve picked them all out there’s really nothing much of interest. This seems to be the way of Gaahl and King. I don’t dislike them on principal, necessarily, but they sure haven’t done any good for Gorgoroth. This is their last album with the band, and for that, I am grateful.
When Gaahl and King grabbed the reins of Gorgoroth from Infernus, it seems as though the band became more of an image than a musical entity. This is clear when listening to their 2006 full length, Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam. Most of the songs are unvarying at best and interchangeable at worst. The first three tracks are at a fast pace and pretty much meld into each other when listened to them back-to-back. Carving a Giant is a bit catchier than the others and has a pretty cool, melodic riff near the end. The fourth track, however, is the only reason I would recommend this album to someone. This one is amazing, the big red Smartie. Savour it because it’s nothing but nuts and raisins after this. Sign of an Open Eye opens with a slow paced, ominous riff (reminding us that Infernus is playing guitar) that sludges on throughout the song. Gaahl delivers some menacing spoken vocals and from what I can make out of the lyrics, they’re evil. The song builds up to a climax in which Gaahl repeatedly shrieks “Call him…to black flame!” - awesome. Everything about the song is pure grimness but it wouldn’t be a good thing if the whole album sounded like it. It’s only effectively jarring because it’s so different from the rest of the music.
The instrumentation is fairly standard but leaves much to be desired when you’re familiar with Gorgoroth’s back catalogue. There’s the odd memorable riff (Carving a Giant, Prosperity and Beauty) but for the most part the guitars are just kind of there. Gaahl’s vocal performance is fine, but the production on them is a bit strange and unnatural sounding. His vocals on Sign of an Open Eye are excellent and I enjoy the deeper growls on Untamed Forces. Am I forgetting anything? The bass? Nah, who gives a shit. Oh yeah, Frost does drums for this album! You’d think he’d almost be enough to make the album awesome, but not quite. He certainly does his best to save as many songs as he can, but it’s not his fault that they’re boring from the beginning. His performance is nice and varied. I love the slow pounding of Sign of an Open Eye and he does some great blasts on Prosperity and Beauty. Despite his commendable performance, the production he gets is a bit weak and quiet. I often find myself searching for his blastbeats through heaps of mediocre riffs.
I’m overjoyed that King is no longer the main songwriter of the band because I don’t think I could handle another album that is mostly ‘by the numbers’. This album is just a bad representation of the evilness that is Gorgoroth and I don’t think I’d recommend it. Unless you need to complete your Gorgoroth collection, save yourself the $15 and just download Sign of an Open Eye.
What is now known as Gorgoroth’s final album featuring Gaahl and King on vocals and bass playing with the owner of the Gorgoroth trademark, Infernus, is one of the best Gorgoroth offerings to the Dark Lord. The production of “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam” is much better than most black metal recordings. There is little blending, and though that takes away from the cold feeling of some of the tracks, it in no way negates the atmosphere that Gorgoroth was striving to create. It is as though Gorgoroth is playing in the massive frozen halls of Nifleheim with how much audible echo there is. Gaahl’s voice is top notch, his shrieks are blood curdling and his lyrics are superb. “Wound Upon Wound” pummels in every aspect, and on this release, the pummeling doesn’t stop until the end of the album. Though a good song, “Wound Upon Wound” compares not to “God Seed”, in my opinion the best of the first three tracks on this release. The second track, “Carving a Giant” is also noteworthy, not only due to its release as a video before the release of the album featuring scenes from their infamous Krakow, Poland show, but also because of the almost classic rock sounding riff at the beginning going into a war drum sound featuring a slow, but catchy drum beat as Gaahl spews his hate and the guitars chug along. This is a solid song, but again not as good as the frantic “God Seed”. “God Seed” is the epitome of black metal, pure fanaticism meeting frantic guitar and drum with cymbal crashes everywhere, screeching vocals, and cold atmosphere surrounding all of the insanity. This is a song to headbang to, a song to mosh to, and an anthem of the destruction of the flock.
Throughout the album, the guitars sound as cold and defiant as always, wailing their message of hate, and spewing through riffs like chainsaws cutting through baptized Christian babies. The high pitched tremolo picked whine in “Sign of an Open Eye” perfectly accentuates the dark atmosphere created by the rest of the band at the onset of the song whereas the melodic echoing riffs in “Exit” give the song a little more evil melody around the frantic cannonade of drumming.
The drums are typical black metal, tons of snare pounding, cymbal bashing, and double bass kicking to set the intense tempo of each song. The drums continue on and on, keep pounding and crashing through each song. The only times that they aren’t pounding, crashing, and kicking are in “Carving a Giant” when the song becomes a war cry, “Sign of an Open Eye”, and whenever there is a quick pause in any of the other songs. Though the drums are repetitive, as most black metal drums are, they do not get boring at all. Instead, the drums at times are the only things keeping a grounded tempo for the band as Gaahl’s vocals come in at random times throughout the album and the guitars are featured flinging different riffs at the listener from every direction.
The best black metal sound of the band comes in the closing song, “Prosperity and Beauty”. There is a good blending sound for the drums that makes every note still heard, but a few here and there blend into the high guitar whines. Gaahl’s vocals sound perfectly pitched in conjunction with the guitar screeches. The snare pounding is pummeling behind all of this, and it makes for a great mix of melody, power, and anger. The song breaks for a short tempo shift into eighth notes, but speeds right up into the intense screaming chorus, if you can call it that. Either way, there is enough screaming intensity to make “Prosperity and Beauty” the perfect closing track for this album. After a few doses of pounding and tremolo picking, the solo comes in which joins the mix of drum and Gaahl screech and ends the song on a very Krieg note.
“Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam” is one of my favorite Gorgorth albums, and though it is a far cry from the old Gorgorth and will be a far cry from the feel of their newest album, “Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt”, it does well to capture a cold feel with good production and little unnecessary blending. Though short and well-produced, there is still a large amount of power in this release, as will most of Gorgoroth’s offerings, and now that the band has become two, it will be interesting to see what contributions to “Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam” will go into the new Gorgoroth and God Seed albums and what will stay unique to the Infernus, Gaahl, and King, mix of Gorgorth.
If this album had stopped after the last 4 tracks, it would've been one HELL of a demo. As it is, it's a relatively compact full-length with some great moments, plus some filler. That said, the filler isn't what you'd expect... there's not a single bad song on the album, and the below average songs are below average just because the bar was otherwise set so high.
In terms of the recording, Ad Majorem's production is good, and it retains just enough of that indispensable gritty black-metal edge to make it smooth without degenerating into easy listening. The riffage is excellent, especially on songs like "Carving a Giant" and "God Seed," and the band has really expanded its exploitation of intricate and beautiful harmonic colorations. A common criticism of any BM release is that the bass is washed out: that is certainly not the case here, as the bass is not only audible but integral to the sonic assault. There's even a bit of overdrive in the bass, especially noticeable on "White Seed." Gaahl, in my opinion, has a great black metal voice with a few different delivery styles, which allows him to sound not only terrifying but also human.... which makes it all the more terrifying!
A major criticism is the repetitiveness of the drumming. Frost is a great drummer, don't get me wrong, but his relentless blastbeat attacks get tiresome track to track. Sometimes it perfectly suits the song, as in "God Seed," but most of the time it feels like one-size-fits-all percussion on top of which the rest of the song is structured. That said, there are some interesting fills in the middle of "White Seed," and few drummers sound as furious behind the kit as Frost does, no matter how fast they play.
Because the first four tracks (and the last one, "Prosperity and Beauty") are so good, "White Seed," "Exit," and "Untamed Forces" are overshadowed. These last three tracks are neither as memorable nor as tightly constructed as, for instance, the barbaric opener, "Wound Upon Wound."
Overall, this is a solid-to-excellent black metal album with all the ingredients: killer drumming, great riffs, raspy, vitriolic vocals, and strong, well-composed bass lines. Highly recommended for all black metal fans, and also a good place to start if you want to get into Gorgoroth's music.
I am more than a casual fan of the Norwegian/Swedish black metal scene and I'm quite familiar with Gorgoroth from the early days. The new CD, Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam, is a lesson in evil straight out of the Scandinavian "black book". Originally spawned in 1992 from Norway, Gorgoroth has seen many lineup changes as well its fair share of legal troubles which should lend no credence to the music â€“ as that stands the music is pure "kult" black metal that is completely raw, unpolished (yet with decent production) and blasphemous â€“ all three elements of proper songs for Satan! The band currently consists of founder/guitarist Infernus (still holding helm since the band's inception), King ov Hell handling bass (though he has just left the band by mutual agreement for "ideological concerns), growling and vocal offerings are spewed from the throat of Gaahl. The drums were done by none other than Frost, who needs no introduction in black metal circles (though for those less versed, he is from Satyricon).
From beginning to end this offering is 31-minutes of blasphemy at its best! The CD has terrific moments of typical black metal insanity in tracks like "Wound Open" and "Carving a Giant", and total guitar-heavy slowness of "God Seed" that do not diminish the reputation Gorgoroth has carved for itself in the last 14-years. "Sign of an Open Eye" is simply brutal and horrifying. If true black metal is what you seek, then Gorgoroth will fill your wants nicely with Ad Majorem! Isn't it great to wait three years for a new CD from a great band and have it live up to all hopes and expectations? Gorgoroth has let up not one hair in its service to the Dark Lord and it shows!
As of this writing Gorgoroth has entered the Norwegian charts at 22 with Ad Majorem, while King has officially left the band by mutual agreement for "ideological concerns", hence carving another notch in the band's ever-changing roster. However, it makes me very happy to see a black metal band reaching any type of chart entry, especially in Norway where the shadow of Varg Vikernes, church fires and murders still loom ominously. Ihsahn did it earlier this year with "The Adversary" and now Gorgoroth has followed suit, exposing more people to the wonder and beauty that can be, and is, black metal! Give this CD a spot in the blackest part of your collection.
(Originally presented in Metal Coven webzine 8-12-06)
Call me crazy (you're crazy) but I prefer Incipit Satan over Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam. There are songs on both releases that brings down the overall quality from great to the ever dreaded pretty good, but it is less noticable on Incipt Satan. The problems on this album are quite simple. No, I'm not going to criticize King for his part in writing the music. That seems to be a trend for anyone who compares any album that King wrote to Under the Sign of Hell or Antichrist. King's writing isn't any better or worse. It's just different from that of Infernus. The problems are lack of variety in the music. Huh, I guess I am going to criticize King.
Now getting to the music on the album, the vocal work by Gaahl was to be expected. It's nothing new but It's not yet getting old. I, unlike some/most Gorgoroth fans actually prefer Gaahl to Pest or Hat or T-Reaper. Its just that he is the vocalist in the Gorgoroth that I grew up with. The one track that the vocals stand out (at least on this album) is Untamed Forces. The style on that track is very reminiscent of that on Ein Eim av Blod og Helvetesild from Incipit Satan. Very dark and very deep, except this time, the vocals are in English instead of German.
Infernus can really play. On this album, the guitar work is some of the best since Gaahl joined Gorgoroth. He plays like his life depends on it throughout the whole album. King's bass is very hard to hear, as in most black metal. Although there are moments that it does shine through the sonic raping that Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam provides you with. Frost's drum work is absolutely stellar. Many double bass drum fills and the ease at which he can change tempo is something to really amaze.
The songs on this album that I enjoyed the most and that I would consider the best are Wound upon wound, God seed, Carving a giant, Untamed forces and Prosperity and beauty. The track titles are not misleading on this album as they are on, say, Incipit Satan (i.e. Unchain My Heart!!!, When Love Rages Wild in My Heart) which is a good thing. You know exactly what you are gunna get. Straight forward Gorgoroth.
Now with Gorgoroth's last offering, the Twilight of the Idols... I got into them, however I always saw that album as kind of monotone and a little boring. The problem I really had with it was the extensive use of thrashy riffs. Well, after Gorgoroth's many scandals and line-up changes they offer something new, something amazing.
This album is what I would call "What black metal in 2006 should be." There is none of this rock n’ roll mixture as we see with bands like Satyricon or Carpathian forest. There is melody but no tendencies toward catchiness, and there is very powerful musicianship. I must also say the this album takes a lot from the first generation of black metal but it is autonomous and modern in comparison. The one big thing I see in this album relative to everything else being spewed out by Nuclear Blast and Century Media is the emotion. You really feel the darkness and pain with this album.
Now some have said that this album is too much like their previous record, I must strongly disagree. This album is very far from that. They have really taken the atmosphere up a notch into the dungeon. The creativity in King apparently blossomed for this album, because the amounts of original riffs in here are amazing. Now to examine each instrument:
The Guitars are great, a perfect mixture of the classic feeling of emptiness you get with black metal, but they have enough girth to fill up your headphones. The riffs are terrific (as stated above), they have similarities to those on Twilight... however King has decided to write some more tradition black metal double picking stuff, which I love. The drums are phenomenal, but what else could you expect from Frost? The truly sad thing about Frost is that he rarely shows his talent in his more popular project Satyricon. Me being a pretty big 1349 fan, I always grab the opportunity to listen to Frost’s amazing work. The bass isn’t very audible, but is that new in black metal? No. The vocals are really good. Ghaal once again shows us he can stand out from all of the other black metal vocalists. Of course I don’t know what the lyrics are, but I can get an idea. They seem to hold more water than on the previous album.
The reason I’m giving this album a 92 instead of a 100 is because, like all Gorgoroth albums, it’s very short, clocking only at 31:51. Also, a few of the song endings are a bit weak. Besides those things, it is the future of black metal as I see it.
I’m sure a lot of black metal fans will disagree but I would first say this is the best black metal album of 2006 and Gorgoroth’s best work to date. This album is just oozing with evil. If you were a Gorgoroth fan before this album, I’m sure you will enjoy this. If you weren’t a fan of them before, but you like extreme black metal, give this a listen.
Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam has been an album I've been looking foward to, as Gorgoroth is in my opinion one of the best Norwegian BM bands still playing in a pure artistic way. Their albums since Destroyer have indeed been taken by many in very different lights. Some hated them, some loved them. Personally I think Incipit Satan had some of their best and most experimental tracks and while Twilight of the Idols seemed to not be over all as inviting, the dark dungeon atmosphere contained on it, combined with more thrashy riffs was in the end a very pleasing record. Now with this new album Gorgoroth are out to prove something I feel, that after so many years and so much line-up changes (this album features Frost from Satyricon on drums for the second time (he was also on Antichrist)) they can still create the pure frigid cold yet hellish black metal they've always been known for.
On this album they continue down the path set by the last three albums, dark nihilistic soundscapes, combining fury with introspection. Gaahl's vocals are at their peak, this is perhaps his best performance with the band so far. The songwriting is in general split between more melodic work and more thrashy work. I believe I have heard Infernus and King split the songwriting, which explains the difference. The primarily thrashy Twilight of the Idols was mainly written by King, and Infernus focuses on the purer Norwegian sound. This combination works to the best effect on here, giving a very good balance. There is even quite a bit of almost doom like atmospheres on parts of this recording. The overall atmosphere is much like Gaahl has described it, finding wisdom and truth through chaos, darkness and death. This more mystical way of seeing existence seems to be very strong upon these songs (Gaahl also compared it to Shamanic teachings he follows, this I find to be very expressive of the very mysteries contained within the labyrinth that is black metal). Like the best of black metal, this seems to be part of an idea and expressing the idea at the same moment. One is lost in the atmosphere and the ideology, combining to create the most powerful of experiences. And yet, again like all good black metal, it is not immediatly easy to access, each song is like a mystery waiting to be unfolded. The more you listen the more you understand, but this is not a new aspect of Gorgoroth, always have they been this cold and stand offish, they don't want you to understand with one beer soaked listen, they want you to really absord their message and their atmospheres.
I wouldn't say this is a comeback record like many will. Gorgoroth never went anywhere, and in reality this is perhaps most of all a more focused version of the experiments made on their albums since Under the Sign of Hell. Much like that brilliant recording, this is pure black metal, but it is also very experimental, taking these experimental unusual elements and working them in perfectly with great songs that capture mood and emotion along with an icy internal silence. It's been many years since their inception, yet Gorgoroth are still just as important as they ever have been, and perhaps just as forgotten. This is no stupid Hail Satan band, they have a point in their Luciferian designs, and their music reflects this orthodox yet also openminded approach. If you are a black metal fan and have not heard this album yet, you should go out and get it, this will probably be the best pure BM album of the year. Gorgoroth reign triumphant again, creators of the fires of hell and of darkness and death.
(Originally written by me for www.tmetal.com)
After three years of wait. Black Metal fans finally get a new album from the infamous Black Metal act from Norway who are more well known for their Crimes and on stage antics than they are for their music. A band that in my eyes has always created solid, well done Black Metal for the most part but never quite reached the peak of the mountain like such other famous Norwegian acts such as Immortal, Emperor, and Burzum.
After their last two releases it looked as if Gorgoroth was in a downward spiral for the end after two straight lack luster albums and their vocalist Gaahl being charged with ritualistic crimes. But "Ad Majorem Satanhas Gloriam" was most certainly a surprise. As always, nothing special, nothing too original but Gorgoroth have bounced back and created a solid album. It starts off with "Wound upon Wound", one of the catchier tracks on the albums with riffs that will keep you head banging throughout. The album continues along a similar, steady path with flashes of atmospheric brilliance on tracks such as "God Seed", "Sign of an Open Eye", and the closing track "Prosperity and Beauty". "Sign of an Open Eye" does somewhat stray from the usual Gorgoroth style as it is a very slow atmospheric song with hardly any vocals on it at all, just a few spoken sections but it works well here and is one of the better tracks on the entire album. And as the album closes, Gorgoroth again touches back into abit more of the same kind of melodies that were present on the opening track. "Exit" and the closer "Prosperity and Beauty" are 2 of the catchier Gorgoroth songs I have ever heard and they are also 2 of the more memorable tracks on the entire album.
The production on this album is flawless but not overdone at all. The riffing is very clear and with Frost back in the mix; the drumming is nothing short of outstanding as would be expected. A big step up from the drumming on their last release "Twilight of the Idols". The vocals are much better this time around as well. I felt that the vocals were alittle overproduced on 2003's Twilight and sounded very fake but Gaahl puts forth a very good effort on Ad Majorem Satanhas Gloriam.
In conclusion, this is the best thing Gorgoroth has done since Under The Sign of Hell. But make no mistake about it; there is nothing particularly special or ground breaking about this release. As I stated at the beginning, it’s just a solid, straight forward Black Metal album that is somewhat of a return back to Gorgoroths better days. For long time Gorgoroth fans, this is a must buy and should not disappoint.
Standout songs: Wound Upon Wound, Sign of an Open Eye, God Seed (Twilight of the Idols), Prosperity and Beauty.
Cover Art: Alittle homo, 0/10
Replay Value: 9
it is never enough of Gorgoroth - they can release fantastic black metal cd-s full of various riffs and motives, full of overwhelming atmosphere. Their albums can be extremely aggressive, but still developing and surprising. They can, but it's not a rule. Here - it doesn't work like that.
"Ad Majorem..." is pretty... normal, I would say. It combines all Gorgoroth did on the previous albums and is quite similar to "Twilight of the Idols". The atmosphere is stronger, this is true, but on the other hand the riffs got rather repeated and used up. A song "Sign of an open eye" is even a precise copy of "An Excert of X" from "Incipit Satan". I liked in Gorgoroth the ability to record various albums, not repeating self and sounding differently. This is the first time this important advantage disappeared.
Still, if you expected a total failure, you were wrong. Gorgoroth did what it had to do though with the least effort, partly without ambition to show they're still strong and when others fall, they will be the leaders. No, they won't hold on. Unless they start recording albums like before. However, this was the first time when Gorgoroth went below the level sent by themselves, let's hope it isn't a beginning of a fatal serie.