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Gorgoroth's sophomore effort is definitely a source of mixed opinions among black metal enthusiasts. While most of them regard Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell as masterpieces, this one is loved by some and hated by others, and it's easy to see why: the style of this album is stuck between the other 2 mentioned ones. Sometimes it goes for the rawness and bleak atmosphere of the first album (Possessed by Satan) and sometimes for the more melodic approach of the following one (Gorgoroth), which makes the album feel uncohesive as a whole (having 2 different vocalists doesn't help). And this, together with its very short length, gives it a feel of a compilation of leftover tracks, instead of a full-lenght main effort (similar to future release Destroyer).
Still, I think this album is a lot stronger than Destroyer and deserves some praise. The first thing to notice is that all of the tracks were composed by guitarist Infernus, while more than half of the tracks in the debut were composed by then-drummer Goat Pervertor. In the debut you can clearly see the difference between the very harsh style of Goat Pervertor's songs (like Katharinas Bortgang) and the more melodic and melancholic feel of the Infernus-penned songs (like Ritual and Crushing a Scepter). In this album it's the latter style that dominates, as Infernus still couldn't emulate very well the harshness of songs like Katharinas Bortgang by himself in this period, which may be a reason for many fans finding this album boring.
After a very useless intro, the first song is Bergtrollets Hevn and I see it as wasted potential: it does have some nice melodic riffs with a slightly viking feel, but they are low in the mix and hard to discern under the drums and distortion. It's an okay song but nothing spectacular, and I think it could have been a lot better with different production.
Then comes my favorite song on the album (and one of my favorites in the band discography): Gorgoroth. This is the one in which Infernus fully displays his composing skills. It starts with a very melodic and melancholic tremolo riff with a beautiful viking-ish melody playing on the bass guitar (very audible by the way) before turning into a savage black metal attack with Hat's demonic vocals. By the end of the song you get some great melancholic clean vocals, extremely melodic riffing and even a cool solo (with a lot of tremolo, of course). The whole song feels unusually melodic, complex and epic for the band at that time, but I think it's very effective. This is the kind of song you feel the urge to play when you're outside in a dark cold night, which is exactly my definition of a great black metal track.
After that there's a big change: the next song "Possessed (by Satan)" is a very primitive and minimalist one in comparision to the one before. I guess this is Infernus trying to emulate the rawer style of Goat Pervertor's songs in Pentagram, but it doesn't pay off too well. Instead of feeling harsh and intense, this one is more monotonous and focuses on groove (again, unusual for the band) and it feels amateur. Even the vocals are not that good (I love Pest's vocals in the next album, but here he sounds very weak and frog-like) and the little I can make out of the lyrics sounds childish. I won't deny it's a catchy tune, which is probably why it's still part of their live setlist, but it's far from my favorite in this album.
Then comes the mostly instrumental "Heaven's Fall" which returns to the more melodic folk-inspired style of the "Gorgoroth" song. I do enjoy this one a lot, as again it displays some very good melodic riffing from Infernus, though I think it would have worked better with vocals and it frankly doesn't come close to the greatness of Gorgoroth. The album ends with a long slower piece called "Sorg" (sorrow), and it does live to its name as it's a very sad and depressing tune. While also an interesting new approach by the band, I can't help but to feel bored by it, it would have been a nice album closer if it didn't go on for so long.
And so the album ends, and as I said it doesn't feel cohesive, but very messy instead. On the plus side: it has a lot more variation than the debut and Infernus' melodic songwriting really shines on tracks like Gorgoroth and Heavens Fall, on the negative side: Bergtrollets Hevn is mostly ruined by its production, Possessed (by Satan) feels too amateur and Sorg gets boring really quick. Still, it's an enjoyable album and an essential part of Gorgoroth's discography and norwegian black metal, just not as essential as the albums that came before and after it.
In 1996 Gorgoroth released their second album “Antichrist” and with it came some of the most raw, atmospheric black metal of the time. For Gorgoroth this was very much true black metal because it was at a time before fame, controversy and criminal convictions thus making distinction between the true Gorgoroth fans and those who are drawn to it for the rebellious nature.
For this album there was a slight line-up change within the band from their previous album Pentagram. First off and probably most obviously apparent is that the band has two different vocalists for this record, there is Hat who sings on the majority of the albums (and whom we know from the previous album), and then there is Pest the new vocalist who performs backing vocals on some of the tracks and all of the vocals on “Possessed by Satan.” As for instrumentation, for this album Infernus decided to pick up the bass himself, as well as recruiting Frost from Satyricon to play the drums.
Despite the change, the musicianship is excellent on this album with catchy riffs interesting song structure, as well as having the drums and guitar very tight with each other. All of the songs are different memorable and easy to sit through (highlights being “Mountain Trolls Revenge” and the title track). The pace of the songs can range from very fast and sadistic to hauntingly slow as seen on Sorrow (Sorg). The one thing that I would say I dislike about this album are the vocals done by Pest. The vocals that Hat provides are excellent chilling, and haunting shrieks that suit the music perfectly, where Pest uses shrieks to some effect. However they can be long and at times even annoying. It may be that Hat predominantly sings on this album and that Pest sounds off beside Hats vocals, but whatever the case that would be my only complaint in terms of musicianship.
My favourite aspect of this album would be the sadistic, grim and depressing atmosphere it creates amongst combinations of the instruments and effects. With the opening of the album you are met with a very, cold, dark, and grim track entitled “A Rank Smell of Christian Blood” which indefinitely sets the tone for this album. As it progresses the atmosphere can be seen best in the intro to “Antichrist” with its sadistic riff and with the outro to “Sorrow” being the climax of the atmosphere with thunder and rain fading off in the distance.
In conclusion the album Antichrist is a solid example of musicianship, atmosphere, and song structure which would have me rate it as one of Gorgoroths best albums. I would highly recommend to anyone who is a fan of early second wave black metal or enjoyed the first Gorgoroth album.
Gorgoroth’s second full length release, Antichrist, is a worthy successor to their masterpiece of a debut, and is commonly viewed as a classic in the Norwegian black metal movement. Despite its short length (only twenty five minutes long), and the fact that it generally displays a more straightforward black metal style, I would argue that Antichrist holds just as much quality material as Gorgoroth’s other classics, namely Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell.
This is an essential Gorgoroth release for various reasons, some of them being difficult to explain. The sound can be seen as a natural continuation of Pentagram, but manages to sound quite different at the same time. The primitive, signature production has been retained from the debut, yet has been reinterpreted in a slightly clearer way. The atmosphere remains intact, but the instruments are given more of an opportunity to stand out. In addition, the songs are more melodic in nature, yet are still just as blistering as ever (save for the more chaotic moments of Under the Sign of Hell). On the subject of musicianship, Infernus’ song writing is as strong as ever. In fact, I would safely say that the five songs on this album showcase some of his best, most unholy riffs ever.
Opener, Bergtrollets Hevn, showcases a less buzzy approach to the guitars and brings them to the forefront of the mix; allowing Infernus’ mighty thunder to gleam through the snowstorm. This song serves as a good representation for the sound of Antichrist; it’s fast but not neck breaking, melodic but still aggressive, and features excellent performances from each member. The third track, titled Gorgoroth, is a very interesting piece of black metal. Grimly opening with the sound of frigid north winds, the track soon beautifully jumps to life with chilling tremolo riffing that carries on and develops for over a minute. Pest’s hateful shrieks inject the track with a violent edge, and he even utilizes some excellent melancholic clean yearnings, also present on the closer. Possessed (by Satan) brings forth the catchiest riffs on the album with a thrashiness that reminds me of early Celtic Frost or Bathory. Heavens Fall is a fairly fast instrumental which displays some great melodies partway in. Sorg is a personal favourite of mine and is a truly crushing way to close this dark chapter of Gorgoroth’s career. A burst of thunder marks the beginning of the storm and the church bells warn of the oncoming attack. But it is too late. A slow-paced, crushing, doom-ish riff carries this atmospheric track, inducing bleak images of frozen Norwegian landscapes. Pest tops of this dark number off with more of his emotional wailing. Everything about this track just drips with the one most evil atmospheres this band has yet to create.
To solidify this album as a classic, Frost (fan boy alert) gives an outstanding drum performance, certainly on par with his work on the early Satyricon albums. The drum production is excellent, his blastbeats are fierce, and overall he offers a tight foundation for the rest of the instruments. This is the last album to feature Hat on vocals, and the first to feature Pest, both of whom share vocal duties on this release. Hat sounds similar to his work on Pentagram, although he seems a bit more coherent, possibly only due to the production. Pest gives a sickeningly evil performance, although I would say his finest work is on the following Gorgoroth album.
When all is said and done, I wouldn’t have this album any other way. With its short length, there certainly isn’t time for any filler. Just the Gorgoroth promise: no-bullshit, Christian hating, true Norwegian black metal from start to finish. If you’re a black metal fan and this isn’t already part of your collection, I recommend adding it immediately.
Compared to Pentagram, this album sucks. Well, you can’t hide the fact that there’s a couple good tracks on here, but ultimately this album (all 25 minutes of it) stands out the least for me in Gorgoroth’s discography - yes, even less than Destroyer. The atmosphere isn’t as sinister, the riffs are less folk / wicked, and Hat doesn’t sound like a banshee anymore. Yeah you couldn’t understand anything on the debut, but his shrieks were so frightening that once I heard his gurgling on here, I just found that it paled in comparison. It doesn’t sound like he’s giving a full amount of effort, even though the rippling screams are quite cozy with the tone.
This tone isn’t quite as menacing as the debut and doesn’t grasp me until the third track, aptly titled “Gorgoroth.” Here I find comfort back in Infernus’ sadistic riffs with a good dose of folk involved, thus making for actually a pretty happy sounding song. Bass is surprisingly powerful and adds to the tense mood, but here begins Hat’s dive into clean vocals: they’re not lame or dull, but kind of guilty and mournful. Infernus’ seizes the rest of the song and goes berserk thereafter in a frenzy of diabolical solos and hypnotic riffs.
While redundancy doesn’t incorporate itself when it comes to Infernus, I feel as though “Possessed (By Satan)” does fall through without hope. The riff itself is pretty evil, but the drums and the complete repetitiveness just wears thin quicker than flittering mice scurrying up Satan’s asshole. It’s just the same bang bang bang bang bang bang bang for half the song while the rest in between accumulate to nothing. The next song suffers the exact same problem, but manages to pick itself up a little bit with a stronger, folk-inducing outro. Drumming is a little tight, but I find it to be largely forgettable in the face of Infernus’ captivating style.
The production is slightly better than before, but it doesn’t aid the cold hatred you’re supposed to be feeling all that much. Actually, I take that back a little; the only times you feel any bit of unholy fervor is with the two longest tracks: “Gorgoroth” and “Sorg.” The latter just happens to be doomier and filled with a gloomier rhythm above haunting clean vocals, but otherwise it still has more strength in atmosphere than it does in anything that Infernus usually is capable of coming up with.
I dunno, I just found this particular album serving as a low point sandwiched between the debut and Under The Sign Of Hell. It doesn’t offer much except one good track, one atmospheric track, three lame tracks, and Satan whining while being pummeled in the ass (the first track). How quaint…
Antichrist is the second full-length album by Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth. And fuck, is it good!
It starts off with the coolest intro I think I have ever heard, which sounds like the devil's masturbation itself, and proceeds to pound your ears in... until you bleed from every orifice of your body. Crank this one up, it deserves it.
Let's start off with the guitar work. It is the best thing on this album (no surprise there, right, Infernus?) It is the perfect blend of brutality, melody, and conception. That is, it delivers the black metal goods with fast picking, hook-line melodies that will drive your head into insanity, and with just the right amount for your ears to bleed to. It's what stood out the most for me on this album. Almost all songs sound fast, and ear-pounding... however...
On a side-note, there are some VERY catchy riffs to be found on the album. The LAST thing you would expect to hear on such a level of hatred, is found in some songs, such as "Possessed (By Satan)", some parts of "Heavens Fall", and "Sorg" (the latter being a very slow, melancholic and just overall eerie sounding atmospheric track). That, is nowhere NEAR being a bad thing, simply because all tracks sound great. The guitars on this album just feel right, and perfect.
The bass definitely has a presence in making this album fit for a Satanic funeral. Overall, it goes perfect with the guitar work, and fits right into this album. Giving it that perfect pillar of heavy balance. Just the way I like it!
The vocals are nice as well. They are very well done. They have that demonic feel to them that most black metal fans love. They are not very loud (for the most part), but in a way (in this album) it works. Raspy, demonic, and soul-stealing. Perfect for a black metal album.
The drumming fits right in (as you would expect). In this album, the drumming has it all. Everything from fast blast-beats to die, to slow compositions for decomposition. It is PERFECT and finishes off the album with excellent results. As a drummer, I have to say this is done well. Not incredible or anything, but it doesn't have to be, A couple of fills here and there, and we are set.
If you love black metal, this one is a timeless classic that you can hear anytime you feel like listening to hell. You NEED this album!
Regardless of whether you like black metal or not, no one can really deny the fact that this is an influential album. It isn't that long, but it is well worth the money. Throughout each of Gorgoroth's incarnations they have evolved, but maintained a certain aura and sound to them, this one is no exception, if you liked the other Gorgoroth releases, I see no reason as to why you would not like this one. Despite the undeniable experimentation of this album (compared to their "Pentagram" release), you can rest easy, they keep what brought them to the dance.
For some closure, I have to say that all of the tracks in this album absolutely stuck with me. I loved them all. But, for the purpose of calling some out, the best ones (just not by much) are:
- The intro, "En stram lukt av kristent blod"
- "Possessed (By Satan)"
- "Heavens Fall"
My opinion of Gorgoroth's first album is that it's essentially unbeatable perfection, but having acquired 'Antichrist', I have to say that their sophomore release honestly gives that seminal debut a legitimate run for its money. The second release doesn't have quite the uniquely maverick spirit of the first, as it's in a decidedly more 'conventional' black metal style as far as riffing and general aesthetic goes, but the songwriting is some of the strongest in Gorgoroth's musical history, and it does again prove that the band is capable of compositions more traditionally erudite than they normally let on. It's probably Gorgoroth's most melodic album, but it lacks none of their trademark savagery.
At twenty five minutes long, 'Antichrist' is refreshingly devoid of filler (well, you can argue that the intro is unnecessary). Each one of the tracks on this album is essential, and it could be said that this has a greater ration of truly excellent material than that on 'Pentagram'. Much of the music here is rather odd in the context of Gorgoroth's greater catalog; it's much more melodic and epic than on any other release. It is still uniquely Gorgoroth though, with a concrete style that can't really be altered by any mere change in delivery. Instrumentation and production is clearer than before, though it still has that exquisitely black Gorgoroth sound; all the playing is more professional and the writing actually seems engineered to allow the performances full reign.
'Gorgoroth' is the clear centerpiece of the album, with its crystalline tremolo riffing of incredible grandeur along with a fantastic vocal performance by new vocalist Pest (including some surprisingly emotive and dramatic clean vocals). But there are other tracks that are nearly as great: 'Bergtrollets Hevn' is extremely underrated and powerful, as is 'Possessed (By Satan)' which is probably ignored as it's much more in the vein of 'Pentagram'-era material. None of the track are weak at all, though. 'Sorg' is the slowest and most melancholy of the tracks on the album, making a good closing change of pace from the uptempo material that defines this LP, and 'Heavens Fall' is a sort of reprisal of the opening track, with subtly epic yet still blackened music ripping through your speakers with a collection of excellent riffing and strong, narrative structure.
Contentwise, this is admittedly a bit thin; I was fortunate enough to grab it for $6, but chances are you'll be paying in the double digits for this. However, I'd say that, within reason, this is an excellent purchase at any price. 'Antichrist' has some of the best music that Gorgoroth has ever turned out, in a style that is different from their typical yet unmistakably in their style. There's little to say about an album of this quality, however brief it may be. For any black metal fan, it is a mandatory album to acquire, end of discussion.
Before Gaahl and that childish legal dispute, Gorgoroth was led by Infernus while various band members came in and out of Norway’s self-proclaimed elite black metal squad. Fast forwarding a few years and whatnot, Gorgoroth eventually released an album that would be considered a slight milestone in their selected genre: “Antichrist.” Now considering how special and bold most legendary efforts typically are, it becomes blatantly obvious that our CD in question must have somehow weaseled into those divine quarters, because nothing but boring cacophony emerges throughout the thirty minutes of generic junk it presents. If black metal were a car and progression looked like a highway, “Antichrist” would simply be a random traffic jam causing frustration and drowsiness due to its meandering qualities of trivial nonsense.
Here’s a basic synopsis of what to expect from our little star in the spotlight: annoying shrieks, unfitting drums, boring riffs, and repetition beyond humanity’s limits. It’s no mystery that Infernus can perform decently as a guitar player, but every pseudo-pattern he does within this CD is just dull and downright generic for Gorgoroth’s sound; some riffs and solos are memorable, yet not what they should be. Modicums of disgorgement violate Frost’s terrible drumming as he switches from tantamount weaves while passing the exit to actually appear interesting by doing exactly what you’d expect him to do: blasting, soaking in unoriginal stencils of fast bass-snare sections, and altering between the two. Aiding these countless woes is a horrid example of shrieking in which a troll seems to incoherently shout over redundant formulas, yet that was probably destined due to the multiple other issues plaguing every category. In the end, everything that could go wrong happens; this is simply total malfunction from beginning to end.
Gorgoroth fans will tell you “Antichrist” has an epic atmosphere unlike any other, which is true, but not in the way you’d probably expect. To find a deep feeling, one must make music that has an overall sense of instrumental power; however, the attempt to structuralize such mood is systemically annihilated by nearly everything. Infernus’ dumb riffing, for instance, acts usually vague when crossing into Frost’s percussion as these two separate assets seem too out of tune for a proper flavor; now mixing the current duo in with random shrieks and an invisible bass gives off absurdity instead of actual atmosphere. Yea, it’s epic alright…epic failure.
So yea, what Gorgoroth released here might have caught the eye of dark individuals at hindsight, yet time’s natural ability to make things seem less and less powerful over a given period works against “Antichrist” without mercy or forgiveness. Anyone exposed to truly great black metal records will most likely find this disc to be a big joke; it’s laughably bad throughout, and enjoyable sections come as often as a solar eclipse. Inconsistency is thy name for Gorgoroth’s sophomore dud, so treat it with a reservation at the bottom of some recycling bin and focus your attention on a release that actually doesn’t disappoint.
Antichrist is overrated. Pure and simple. Sure, I am a fan of the "quality over quantity" argument, but that only works if the songs are fucking excellent. Well, with the exception of Gorgoroth (the song), the songs here are rather mediocre, with Possessed and Sorg being the two clunkers. Bergtrollets Hevn is an ok song, it's a fun song to listen to and contains a few catchy riffs and drum beats, but it's nothing to write home about, and could easily be the work of some second rate kvlt kiddie bedroom black metal one man outfit. The same could be said about Heaven's Fall, which is shorter and thus commands my attention even less.
Gorgoroth (The song) is a good song. I place this song as the reason Antichrist gets such a high rating, because it is indeed a great song. It was the song I always listened to, skipping the intro and Bergtollets Hevn. It reminds me of Life Eternal somewhat, which puts me off and diminishes my opinion of the song, but it is a good song nonetheless.
However, the two clunkers are unmemorable and boring. Possessed contains an alright intro, which leads into a boring 3 or so minutes of nothing in particular. Sorg contains the same flaws that a lot of bands who aren't used to doing slow stuff has, namely that it's boring and slothful. As I said in my review for Manowar's Into Glory Ride, slow=/=epic. Here, it's the same riffs found on other Gorgoroth songs, but slower, and more boring. It lacks inspiration, riffs, and even more, feeling.
Sorry, but 1 great song and 2 good songs can't save this album from being a total disaster in my eyes. I never listen to it, preferring the far superior and incredibly more consistent Under the Sign of Hell, which is Gorgoroth's best album, leaving this pathetic effort in the dust. It feels more like a stopgap EP than a true album.
P.S. The gorgoroth with King and Gaahl isn't Gorgoroth. Infernus is, has been, and always will be, Gorgoroth.
Firstly, is it better than 'Pentagram'? no it isn't, but don't worry, there aren't too much albums out there which are better than that one anyway. However, this album isn't a disappointing one because it still keeps on a good level of stormy black metal. While it isn't one of a kind as it's predecessor and doesn't brings anything unique, it has what every worthy bm album should have: well executed riffs, malicious atmosphere, emotional climaxes and there is also some extra melodic vibe within the riffing which doesn't let this album fall down into a great pit full with tons of "buzzing" albums which sounds the same. 'Antichrist' isn't a revolutionary album as some people tend to say, but it's stand on it's own somehow.
The album begins with short intro which leading to the opener 'Bergtrollets Hevn', rush with moderate power chords strumming and continues with a melodic yet harsh riffing. The vocals are pretty decent, not dominates too much yet leaves a space for the riffing and the brutal drumming. Something worth mentioning is the production which manages to stay clear and beautiful for the whole album and makes the album more genial for the untrained ear of the newbies of black metal. That means that if you are new to black metal and afraid of noisy, cultish productions, here you'll feel quite safe.
Now for the third track which is named upon the band name. 'Gorgoroth' Begin with harmonized alternate picked riffing with some decent fills of the bass, supported by brutal drumming. Then suddenly the tempo break down and the brutal madness turns into a more paced atmosphere. Moderate arpeggio strumming which creates a chilling, beautiful atmosphere, driving some clean vocals over there and also a great lead guitar job. Then the brutal madness goes back with a fast tapping solo together with some nicely tempo breaks. This is the most standout of this album. It keeps on brutal and melodic sense at the same time, without getting too much grind or cheesy. It switches mood at the exact moment and varies pretty much for it's length.
Another standout is 'Possessed By Satan' which is fucking brutal track with catchy minimalist riffing in a slowly jammed tempo. The chorus is also made in a very sing along shape so prepare to bang and scream like a stupid cunt.
Overall, I don't see any reason why the average black metaller won't like this album. Get it and play loud enough to make your ears bleed like a dead emo kid.
The album that is officially the beginning of Gorgoroth's history, this album is what the first album should have been. Antichrist has all the strengths of Pentagram, and has none of the weaknesses of Pentagram; strong vocal performance from Hat and Pest, excellent guitar play from Infernus, and above average drum play from Frost. The performance on this album is near perfect and convincing once again, a trait that is absent in almost all black metal bands.
This album is one of those albums that every song is good, plain and simple. The biggest surprise on this album however are the two 'epic' songs that are present on this release: Gorgoroth and Sorg. These two songs are definatly one of the best songs Gorgoroth has written that shows excellent performance and an atmopshere that is filled with anger and despair.
One thing that still bothers me is that some of the characteristics on this album are still too similar to other black metal acts. Its not nearly as bad as Pentagram, in fact this album shows a hint of uniqueness in the sound that only Gorgoroth can create, but the strong similarities are still there.
This album has all the characteristics of Pentagram but are enhanced to greater heights, making it a better release by far. This album is where people should start off if they wish to get into Gorgoroth; but it is in their next release that Gorgoroth reached their peak. The best album that they have made, and will most probably be their best ever is without a doubt Under The Sign of Hell.
Highlights: Gorgoroth, Heaven's Fall, Sorg
With ‘True Norwegian Black Metal’ emblazoned on the front cover, at least you know exactly what you’re going to get with Gorgoroth’s “Antichrist”, the second full-length from one of Norway’s more controversial Black Metal outfits. Indeed, with just six tracks clocking in at just under 25 minutes, this album is a concise and oft overlooked gem from the days when Black Metal’s original values had already started to implode, with labels having a field day signing any bunch of Norwegians who could apply some make up and scream for Satan. But for Gorgoroth, this was just the time to create perhaps their most spiteful work, almost as a protest at what their underground society would later become.
With a classic line-up of founder Infernus on both guitar and bass, Satyricon’s Frost on drums and both Hat and Pest handling vocal duties, the foursome managed to create an album with both an aggressive and eerie edge. Tracks like “Bergtrollets Hevn” and “Possessed (By Satan)” seemed to lay out the groundwork for many other bands to follow in terms of demented sounding vocals, repetitive use of simple but menacing riffs and the perfect mix of both mid-paced and faster drum arrangements. Comparisons could be made to early Darkthrone material, but there is something infinitely more powerful and involving at work within these songs, almost representing the huge amount of aggression that songwriter Infernus is trying to express through this perhaps restrictive medium.
But there is also a wonderful use of melody, utilised in such a way as to add to this emotive and melancholic feel. “Gorgoroth” especially stands out, with a fantastic interplay between high-pitched melodic guitar work and the slow obscure bass guitar while Frost sounds like he’s destroying his drum kit throughout. Combined with the genuinely disturbing clean, chant-like vocals that come out of nowhere midway through, the track perhaps best exemplifies how Gorgoroth played by their own rules and, as a result, created a fine trilogy of early work perhaps peaking with this release.
Constantly aggressive and melancholic in nature without ever losing focus on well-crafted Black Metal music, “Antichrist” is a definite must have for fans of the genre who may have missed it in their searches. If you need a reminder of how the genre sounded in its earlier years, this release should be high in your list of priorities. You might be surprised how simple song writing and the injection of properly thought out melody is so advantageous to a genre which now sees many bands concentrating on nothing but unfocussed extremity.
Originally written for http://www.blastwave.co.uk
Production: More than adequate; all instruments are audible and distinct, even if the mix as a whole is not exactly level.
The intrigue of style is brought to life with amazing use of melody; it is a reminder of how the great classical composers knew this and used it, with great results. Infernus, during this time, had an uncanny ability to tap into a world of uninhibited curiosity, emotional journeys, and great discoveries. Music is meant to stimulate the wonder and power of things not easily explained, whether it's seen or unseen, conscious or unconscious.
Unlike some forms of accepted black metal, there is no fear expressed on "Antichrist" for the beauty of melody in it's various forms. That being said, it still has it's own form of brutality, just not in the sense of non stop blast beats and 200 mile an hour speed riffing. Maybe finesse` is too much of a "pussy" word to use here, but there is, in fact, some of it present on "Antichrist"; maybe reinventing the term to suit it's needs.
Too much emphasis on finesse` may not be appropriate either, for there is a definite fire and furious pounding that should be noted and praised. 'Possessed (By Satan)', for example, starts out as a monstrous hell stomp that leads to some outstanding non-linear, almost "backwards" sounding drumming that inadvertently becomes the focus for the listener.
Although much praise goes to the guitar work here, the bass guitar shines as well; oddly enough, at times, thrusting the melody over top of the guitars when not playing as intermediary between the guitar and drums. The bass definitely adds a dimension and a thickness to these amazing songs.
An absolute masterpiece. Both this recording and Gorgoroth's previous effort, "Pentagram", are worthwhile music expeditions that history will show as being black metal cornerstones.
I had initially given this album an 86%. I would listen to it once in a while, and enjoy the songs and put it away. But then, without even noticing it, this album began to get more and more playtime in my stereo. And as I started paying more attention to the songs, I started seeing the true brilliance of this release. And I can't believe that the same band that made this actually were stupid enough to choose Gaahl as their vocalist later in their career. This really epitomizes all the qualities one looks for in a great black metal release and also brings some new elements that you don't usually find into the mix. For example, here and there you'll find a very death metal-sounding riff. And of course, Frost's truly original varieties of blast beats will be EXTREMELY refreshing to a black metal veteran listener.
This album needs to be focused upon a bit when you first hear it to really appreciate it. Although the haunting melodies of songs like Gorgoroth and Heaven's Fall are easy to pick up, you have to listen harder to really hear the mastery of the coordination of two guitars throughout the album, at times through them both playing complementary tremolo-picking riffs, or one guitar backing the other, or alternating for some very interesting interludes. Frost, it seems, won't be caught dead using any typical drumlines. He puts some variety into his blast beats by incorporating the high-hat and also the crash/ride cymbals at times. He creates complex patterns that retain the headbang value of the blast beat but without the redundance. And you've gotta love the Gaahl-less vocals. Pest and Hat put in a great performance with typical black metal raspiness and incorporation of clean vocals in certain places.
Let me put it this way: Imagine the coldest, darkest atmosphere you've ever felt through a black metal song. Then imagine that on top of that the riffs were good, the music was complex and melodic, and it retained its rawness. The low point of the album is the stupid intro, 20 seconds of the "deathbreath of satan". Then it fucking picks up and doesn't stop for a second. You'll get chills down your spine, you'll close your eyes and bask in the power of truly masterful black metal. Song wise, my least favorite is Possessed (By Satan) because it lacks a little bit of melody and atmosphere as compared to the other tracks, although you can headbang your spine to shreds to certain parts of it. Bertgollets Hevn and Heaven's Fall are both masterpieces which words can not do justice to. Sorg is a one-of-a-kind track that you won't hear from any other band, with a funeral march intro and some beautiful riffage. But even these pale in comparison to Gorgoroth. This 6-minute work of art is among the top 10 songs of ANY GENRE ever written. Nothing I've heard in black metal comes close (well, maybe a couple of songs, but this one still takes the cake). The middle of it (the verse) is excellent, but not incredibly special, but the first and the final two minutes (and those unbelievably good clean/harsh vocal switches) are indescribable. You have to hear them to even remotely understand. I could listen to that song for 2 hours straight and not get bored of it, seriously. Even if Gorgoroth release 10 more utterly fecal albums (in the vein of Destroyer and on), I will still revere them for having created this masterpiece. You have not heard black metal until you've heard this one!
So Gorgoroth took their time to come up for a follow up to their first record, "Pentagram", and how... "Anitichrist", their second offering, was released about two years after their debut, and moreover, came out as a 25 minutes long offering (despite the band always referring to it as a regular album... and alas, prices too). Definitely, Gorgoroth have never been the most prolific band to ever grace the Black Metal scene.
This, however, has a lot to do with Gorgoroth's project-like essence in their early years. Basically, after the first line-up collapsed after "Pentagram", Gorgoroth just meant Infernus plus other musicians recruited or borrowed from other bands - not the ideal situation to work fast and efficiently. Despite that, the band managed to keep a very dinstinct sound and attitude through the years. Derivative, of course, and maybe even predictable. Hats off to the consistency and coherence anyway. And let's not forget the main point: they are good at what they do. Really good.
The recording process of "Anitichrist" was somewhat fragmented, yet the album has quite a strong identity on its own. It's not just "Pentagram Part 2" and it's not "Under The Sign Of Hell" either: it's a complete (albeit brief) release on its own. And a very good release, I'd say.
Once again, Infernus is handling the guitars, but this time he is taking care of the bass too. This definitely had some influences on the structures of the songs here, since the guitar / bass interaction is way more developed than it was on the debut (where they had Samoth taking care of the low tones); it certainly makrs quite a step forward in the overall songwriting.
On drums, we find none less than Satyricon's Frost, which pulls off quite an impressive performance: his well know precise drumming provides a solid, dynamic foundation for the songs; he also makes his drumming fit the more minimalistic approach of Gorgoroth by combining his technique with the more basic patterns.
On vocals, two men share the spot on this album: Hat, the band's first screamer, and Pest (of Obtained Enslavement), which will stick with Gorgoroth for a while.
"Antichrist" begins with some seconds of weird noises (labelled as "deathbreath of Satan" in the booklet) isolated in the first track, "En Stram Lukt av Kristent Blod"... pretty awkward, if you ask me, as noticing that one track on a 6 track "album" just consists of that will hardly please any listener at first. Luckily, the real thing gets going right after that.
Enter "Bergtrollets Hevn", and please bang your head right from the first riff. The great groove is an updated version of that we found on "Pentagram", but the intensity is something the band achieved through progression - yes, I said progression. Hat's vocals are kind of surprising, as they are no longer the rather comic screech featured on the debut but a more "professional" rasping attack. Frost's incessant double bass is amazing, and fits perfectly the very square, rhythm based nature of the riffs. After two verses a brief break leads us into a crushing acceleration, which will give way to the return of the opening riff at the end, underlined by Hat's screams. Great song, and great way to open an album.
The sound of wind blowing (presumably over a grey deserted wilderness) introduces us into "Gorgoroth", the longest number of the lot, and one of the band's best. Again, the song begins abruptly, with Frost and Infernus doing their best "Transilvanian Hunger" impression; the layers of guitars and bass create a very melodic and sad atmosphere, before the first verse turns the rhythm into a kind of war march. During a break between the two verses, Hat even performs clean vocals - very quiet, almost whispered, somewhere on the line between sorrowful and menacing. I really had to rate his vocal skills again after hearing this album. After the second verse (with Infernus laying down some slow,solemn leads along the way), the song goes into a much faster part, which can described as simply spectacular: Frost pounds the hell out of his kit, Infernus goes into a jaw-dropping tapping solo and more melodic leads and Hat alternates between ritual-like chantings and ferocious screams. Yes, I am impressed.
"Possessed (by Satan)" is a very weird chapter in this book. The opening riff strongly reminds of old Bathory and Celtic Frost, but soon goes into a more groovy part built upon Frost's very peculiar drumming, his rhythm accents based on the snare and the kick drum coming in more sparsely. He will actually use a very similar patter on Satyricon's "Prime Evil Renaissance" (from the "Rebel extravaganza" album). The song, from its title, seems to be almost intended as a kind of parody, which hardly fits Gorgoroth's uncompromising image; yet, the weird and rather forced sounding accent of the vocals (provided by Pest, and way different from his usual style) and the over he top cheesiness of the lines that can be made out ("we are possessed by evil, we are possessed by Satan! Posseeeeeeesssed! By Saaaataaaan!") seem to confirm this thought. The pace gets faster for a very odd tempoed mid-section, and gets back to the verse riff to end the song.
"Heavens End", the following track, has a structure similar to "Bergtrollets Hevn" rhythm-wise but is a bit more repetitive and less interesting when it comes to the riff. Pity, because this is actually an instrumental (except for a "WHEEEEEEEYYYYYYYYHHA HA HA HAAAAH!!" somewhere in the middle provided by Pest).
The closing track, "Sorg", however, is unique. It begins with sounds of falling rain and thunder cracks, soon joined by a church bell, then the first riff comes in. This song sounds like a Black Metal funeral march, and has quite possibly the most melodic riffs Gorgoroth have ever created. Hat's clean vocals come in again, and have a weird effect that make them sound like a choir of (black) monks. Despite being slow, the whole composition is kept from being repetitive by a nice amount of very strong riffs and some subtle rhythm variations. The last verse is again sung with clean voice, and Hat's last note is made longer by a very strong reverb, left alone to fade away slowly, slowly... a thunder crack and mroe falling rain follow. Fade out, or should I say fade to black?
Despite the short length, the material presented on "Antichrist" is some of the best of the band's catalogue. I'd also like to point out that despite being raw Black Metal, this record (much like its predecessor) has a very clear sound. I often mentioned the great use of the bass that can be found here, and that's because the bass can be heard very clearly, just like everything else.
As I said, Gorgoroth know what they want to do, and how to do it.