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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.