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Gorgoroth - Antichrist - 87%

Technogoat, March 23rd, 2007

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