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This is a masterpiece because it has some of the most beautiful melodies in all black metal. For a melody to be truly beautiful it must have a meaning of some sort, it must express something. The music of Gorgoroth has massive emotional power that speaks to the soul a poetic worldview.
Second wave black metal band, once the Norwegian foundational acts composed their definitive works for the genre, it was bands like Gorgoroth who took some black metal ideals to further articulation. Epic melodies of profound emotion that spoke of something larger than human boundaries. Dark, evil forces that awake imagination and fantasy and more importantly, a revelation that the world-nature is beyond human control and that its mechanisms of order are beyond any god or religion. This album is pure poetry in sound; it suggests a clearer worldview in mind, or a clearer mind to view the world.
I think the music of this album is art and my interpretation is that it mirrors how destructive and chaotic forces become organized systems of unraveling poetic beauty. It is like a metaphor for life: in Nature only organized chaos exists, thus all that is destructive and evil has a logical placement to maintain an equilibrium, including all that we might think is malevolent or dangerous. This music shows a passion to understand the world in poetic terms.
All musical elements are simple, from the percussion arrangements to the guitar riffs both in construction and execution however, the overall composition is very complex because it builds highly emotional melodies into a romantic narrative. There is a Classical influence in their songwriting; songs are like micro-symphonies phrases composed into motifs that become a narration of musical ideas without the verse-chorus structure. Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8.
Instrumentation is basic. Drums blast beat their way more for time keeping than anything else and just occasionally pound for rhythm emphasis. High hat and snare technique is primal, and all percussion aims to become background noise which allows the guitars to unleash their majestic melodies, the best since Immortal - Pure Holocaust. The bass adds a severe thick feel to the mix. Some people say that the vocals sound like a duck being painfully castrated, a very evil bad duck that is. Overall the music is harsh, epic and theatrical, bearing the coldness of early Norwegian black metal in all its sonorous ardent grandeur.
This music opens the gate to something outside and within us, of something unknown that can be known through feeling and intuition. In that, Gorgoroth achieves perhaps the original goal of black metal, a sense of transcendence. This was the supreme art of black metal from Hell, before it died and went to Heaven.