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In light of band founder Infernus’ recent backstab by his former bandmates Gaahl and King Ov Hell (nice stage name for a primary school teacher...) I’ve decided to review the band’s first album, done without any participation whatsoever from those two backstabbers, as is also the case for the two following albums (these first three albums being the band’s greatest).
The first thing one will probably notice is the cover. Now the original cover is the best, as it’s a simple black framed cover with the band’s name. Even the album name is absent from the cover and its simplicity really makes it excellent and perfectly suited to the dark grimness of this album.
Musically this is pure, grim and cold black metal. No compromise here. Pentagram is actually somewhat melodic but not in a way that would make it seem soft like what melodic black metal bands such as Dimmu Borgir are. This is indeed very raw yet it has an acceptable production level. Infernus’ riffs are classic black metal riffs that are among the best in the genre, being at the same time very cold and somewhat melodic, especially when comparing them to other pure black metal bands’ work. This is melodic in a similar way to Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger but obviously there is no real main long song in this album. They’re all 8 short tracks, each under four minutes, but that doesn’t weaken the album as it’s meant to be short and intense. Drumming is handled by Goat Pervertor, an amusing stage name if there ever was one, and most of the time it’s the usual repetitive drumming as heard on most similar black metal albums although with some variation. Again, this works perfectly with the rest of the music. Finally we have Samoth from Emperor on bass and Hat on vocals, who does some of the best high-pitched vocals I’ve ever heard. This sounds evil and is actually very enjoyable unlike the unbearably shitty screeches that constitute a good portion of the most famous practitioner of this vocal style, Dani Filth.
Pentagram is fast, intense, evil, cold, grim and most importantly very well done. It’s among Gorgoroth’s top three albums (the first three) and while I’m not sure which one I prefer Pentagram is excellent. It’s another essential black metal album, symbolizing the entire black metal scene very well. Hail to the True Gorgoroth!