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Decent, as the best is yet to come - 70%

doomknocker, March 12th, 2009

Ah, good old GORGOROTH...they keep on pluggin' along no matter the weather or musical climate, and won't adhere to anyone but themselves and their fans. You gotta respect that mentality; very few bands can do so and still sound competent and great. And now, with news of King ov Hell's trademark scenario thrown to the wolves, I felt the urge to give the "ROTH more of my reviewing prowess. So let's start from the beginning...

At this time in GORGOROTH's career, they were a seriously fledgling act who hadn't really established both themselves or their take on black metal (that would come later in their masterpiece "Under the Sign of Hell") So as it stands, this is really little more than a group of well-meaning kids blasting their blasphemous hearts out, with influences shown oh-so-clearly on their sleeves; a little MAYHEM here, a little old BATHORY there, and a big helping of old-to-mid-era DARKTHRONE topping it all off. The riff-work is top notch evilness, chaotic and with a touch of melody to keep it from being the static-y dissonence most BM bands at the time seemed to find awesome. The guitars are clear and sharp, the bass audible and thumping along nicely, and the drums powerful and tight. But then you get to the vocals...man oh man is this strange. They're not the worse vocals I've heard in either black metal or any other genre, they're just odd. Easily not the BM norm in terms of rasping, instead it comes off like an evil parrot from an old cartoon, rendering the lyrics completely indecipherable (nowadays a common practice for GORGOROTH), and the lack of lyrics printed (another practice) leaves you mainly focusing on the music, with songs ranging from killer to decent ("Crushing the Scepter", "Katharinas Bortgang", and "(Under) the Pagan Megalith" being prime cuts of musical evil).

So in the end this is a nice, decent release...but the band wouldn't start kicking serious ass until the next couple albums. Still, it's a worthy addition to anyone's black metal collection.