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Norwegian masterworks pt. I - 97%

Utreise, February 24th, 2009

Pentagram is the name of Gorgoroth’s debut album. With a very simple cover artwork and a lenght that is about half an hour, this work enters straight forward in the olympus of metal. Three young musicians, influenced by the current wave of black metal - as well as the previous one (expecially Bathory) - wrote a couple of songs that were recorded in a demo tape named A Sorcery Written in Blood. That record provided the band a discographic relation with the Embassy Production house, a very good beginning for a band, if we consider that in those years there were tons of band that sounded all the same.

It’s the sound that made Gorgoroth unique. While the production is following the standars of black metal, with a special attention to the guitar sounds, the songwriting stands out. But let me go back a bit and talk about the three norwegians. They had nicknames, as everyone in the black metal underground: Infernus, Hat, Goat Pervertor. Infernus was the mind behind the band, the main composer and he also handled the bass parts because he wasn’t able to find a bass player to join Gorgoroth as a full member. Hat and Goat Pervertor added their musical influences as they played along the songs, and probably the way each member gave his own touch to the music is the reason why this album is a timeless masterpiece. Goat Pervertor is not the classic black metal drummer, he does not spend the time playing blast-beats that even an unexperienced drummer could do; he is more groovy, more technical and he uses a lot of fills that raise the value of the entire work. You can hear tom-rolls, clever usage of ride and a research to vary the patterns. Hat’s vocal style it’s, doubtless, original and effective. He manages to differ from the other singers like Abbath (Immortal), Burzum, Attila (Mayhem) and release an extreme performance. His vocals sound acid, suffered and absolutely evil. Gorgoroth’s Pentagram has become a classic of its genere also because of the vocal performance of Hat.

If we listen carefully to this album, we can hear a pounding bass guitar keeping the rhythm along with the drum and the gutiar. The bass player is Samoth from Emperor. He is listed as a guest musician, and I think it is a shame because his performance is very good. I don’t think that the bass lines are his own creation, but he manages to play them in a very aggressive way, thus fitting in te album’s sound. From the beginning of Begravelsesnatt, Gorgoroth shows no compromise: fury, aggression, and an evil frenzy that exalts the listeners. Hat’s vocals are strong and sharp like the edge of a razor. The band keeps up this standard for the following song, Crushing the Sceptre, which has one of the best guitar riffs of the album. A more melodic turn with the following tracks is imminent: Ritual and Drømmer Om Død are maybe less brutal than the previous tracks, but they are certainly more melodic and belong to the classic Gorgoroth sound. Pentagram will see an alternace between the brutal and melodic songs, a very good way to avoid the boringness that could affect the album if there was a unique music standard.

The hate against anything that’s not black flows quickly in this half an hour of satanism and madness. Pentagram is an adorable piece of muisc, probably you’ll end up listening it twice a day - if not more. The song Måneskyggens Slave is the highest episode on this album, but there are actually no weaker songs here. Every black metal fan should know this album, if you don’t just hurry up and buy it. If you are a newbie of the genere get it, it’s a perfect way to begin a relationship with the darker side of metal.

Numerical Evalutations:

Songwriting: 30. Even though the album lasts for half an hour, the quality of the tracks is supreme. Every song has two or more epic riffs, a bridge that you will remember and even a little detail that will make you like the song. Impressive qualities for a debut album, hence it’s an over-the-top aspect of the album.
Musicianship: 29. I give not the maximum because Samoth was a session musician, thus he played Infernus’ bass lines. Anyway the way he handles his job is remarkable and dynamic. As I have already stated, Goat Pervertor’s drumming fits perfectly with the band without being annoying or boring.
Production: 23. Typical black metal sound, nothing so outstanding. I liked the way drums and bass fit in the music, they are perfectly audible while they mantain a raw and razor-like sound.
Other: 15 points. Deserved for the historical importance of this album, deserved for the evilness of the songs and - last but not least - deserved for the countless number of beautifl riffs here.