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Most black metal fans old enough to remember Gorgoroth's early work seem to cite Antichrist and Under the Sign of Hell as their best works, and with good reason. Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt marks a long-awaited return to the sound of that era. The album came off the heels of a controversy and legal dispute over the band name, with estranged members Ghaal and King releasing material under the moniker without permission from the founder, Infernus. Once the matter was settled in favor of Infernus, this was the first work Infernus would release, and if he wanted to make the case that the decline in the quality of Gorgoroth's output over the years was due to said estranged members, Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt in many ways succeeds. I must say, I consider the Gorgoroth albums beginning with Destroyer and ending with Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam as kind of a different band, even conceding that some seem to like this band. QPAST is well and truly the rebirth of Gorgoroth, with guitar riffs destined to be recognized as iconic classics, as well as a chilling, merciless aural assault flawlessly executed by original Gorgoroth vocalist Pest.
The production on this record for the most part sounds like early Gorgoroth but with across-the-board improvements in depth and balance. The one glaring exception, as so many others have pointed out, seems to be the drums. Gorgoroth seems quite taken with this obviously triggered and overprocessed double-bass sound that so many pop-metal bands like to use. It comes off sounding like a robot and this is rather jarring against the raw, untamed sonic landscape. There is also a small gripe I have with the performance overall, where it lacks the sense of raw spontaneity and urgency of Gorgoroth's early material. By comparison, they sound restrained here at times, as if practicing along to a metronome. Again, the lackluster drums play a key role in this. However, the material itself is undeniably solid. Songs do seem shorter and simpler overall compared to early releases, but if anything this feels like an improvement on the formula. Lack of creative focus has arguably been one of Gorgoroth's weaknesses in the past. On this record, songs seem constrained to one melodic style per track, giving each one a greater sense of uniqueness and identity.
The band would later go on to do a misguided re-recording of the Under the Sign of Hell album. As of the writing of this review, what direction Gorgoroth will take with new material in the future is anybody's guess, but at this moment, and in contrast to many 90s black metal bands that failed up uphold the same spirit in their later endeavors, Gorgoroth still stands proud.
In terms of quality, for me this is at the level of Twilight of the Idols -- inconsistent and falling short repeatedly. I consider myself a Gorgoroth fan through and through. I remember getting into Gorgoroth, listening to classics such as Under the Sign of Hell and even Destroyer, and furiously headbanging along to their savage rhythms, and eagerly showing them to my friends. If I had discovered Gorgoroth with this album, would I have behaved like that?
No. Not that Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt is particularly bad, but it is unspectacular. One thing that appealed to me about Gorgoroth were two seemingly contradictory things, which were a savage, direct attack and an almost classical melodic influence. On the first Gorgoroth fails here pretty bad in my opinion, while keeping quite true to the second. This is my main problem with Infernus and co's new album, and that is that is lacks aggression. This reminds me of when Metallica did the Loads, but without all the mainstream pandering. It's essentially Gorgoroth, sterilized. The album seems to be mostly slower and more melodic parts, with a few faster parts thrown in the mix. I understand if that is the sound that Gorgoroth is going for, it's perfectly fine, but there is something disappointing about the end result for me. Even in melodic black metal, it's quite easy to find albums that, while they aren't the fastest or heaviest, still have the impact of a wrecking ball. This is melodic, but it doesn't seem to work quite right in my opinion.
A lot of blame has been placed on the production, featuring rather hermetic-sounding guitars on top of drum-machine sounding drums. While the production does seem to be neutered in my opinion, the blame must not be placed fully on the production. While many proclaim this as the "return of classic Gorgoroth riffing", I find the riffing to be a mixture of original content, repetition, ripping off of other norwegian bands *cough*immortal*cough*, repetition, chugging, repetition, and did I mention the repetition? I find riffs from different songs cropping up again and again. Overuse of the i-VI-VII and related progressions abounds here.
Don't let me convince you that this is a horrible album. It's not. It has quite the potential to be great -- provided 3 main things get done. The first is to make the production less plastic-y. The drums could stand to be less obtrusive and more natural sounding, for one. Gorgoroth has always been about organic sounds, and the music here would benefit from a more spacious, organic sound. As well as the drums, the guitars could stand to be a bit more spacious. Maybe bumping the bass would help, but production does in fact hinder Gorgoroth here to a considerable degree.
The second thing to do is to cut a few clunker riffs and condense a few songs and make this an EP instead of a full length. This would raise the overall quality of the songwriting and make the songs have more impact. Over time, I have begun to appreciate the riffing on this album. But the problem is that it's spaced out. The direct, savage, no-frills attack of old Gorgoroth is gone, and is replaced by a more meandering style that doesn't seem to deliver as often. This album delivers, as evidenced by songs like Satan-Prometheus, but the truly genius moments are spread out it seems. Most of the album is average -- which is why the rating is 74 -- with a few truly boring moments and a few truly genius moments.
The third thing would be to have more moments of aggression. There are fast moments, don't get me wrong, but nothing here really seizes me by the neck. Every album previously had at least one of the moments, and to some extend Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatum Trahunt has a couple, but they're not as great as previous albums. Even in the much hated Gaahl-era albums, the song Prosperity and Beauty still gives me chills. Oggeledelse Og Undergang still makes me bang my head in a primal and atavistic way, and I will say that the blastbeat section on Bergtrollets Hevn is one of the most ingenious slabs of black metal I have heard. This aggression doesn't necessarily mean speed; it means bombast. It means throwing subtlety out the window. It means unbridled, pure, naked, anger. Satan-Prometheus is a great song, and the best one here, with the closest this album gets to that ideal, but it seems... unexploded. Full of potential but there's never any orgasmic release.
On that note, this album could be considered mostly foreplay with little climax, however great the foreplay is. It's mostly average, and I'm sadly disappointed in Infernus. Here's to next time!
First, I'll say that this album is what Gorgoroth is about. I've been following the band since mid 90's when I heard for the first time 'Pentagram' and since Incipit, I thought Gorgoroth was kinda done and lost, especially TOTI and AMSG, which felt like anything BUT Gorgoroth. So, what we have here? I would say Quantos is the logical successor to Antichrist, at least in spirit.
The thing I liked the most of early Gorgoroth was the riffing, which it's the main aspect you'll find different from the last 3 albums, making a true return to form here. It's full of melancholic darkness, heavily inspired on classical music, some thrashy feel in some songs, (something that made Pentagram what it is), even a couple of songs have a slight black n' roll feel, which has been a trademark of Infernus. He explores basically all posibilities: tremolo picking, palm mutes, dissonant arpeggios, open chords, you name it.
Quantos is an unusually melodic album, almost like swedish' Dawn or Dissection sometimes, but I can't help but give all possible kudos to him for the flowing aspect of the riffs. The songwriting is excellent and solid, effortlessly riff upon riff flows with each other, the transitions are great, the harmonic construction of the songs it's very coherent, especially on 'Prayer', 'Rebirth' and 'Satan-Prometheus'. You can say the guy knows how to write a song, being a black metal one of whatever.
For instance and helping inmensely to this 'rebirth' of Gorgoroth, Pest's vocals are back and yes, he sounds just incredible. You might think he doesn't sound as vicious as he did on UTSOH, but he doesn't need to, since this album it's a different beast from the utter rawness that UTSOH was. His grims sounds evil as fuck, but slightly clearer, to the point you can understand what he's saying. He also uses his cleans on one song and, hell, he sounds terrific, providing a very epic performance.
There's something that I disagree with the general opinion: I think Askund did a great job on drums. His patterns are very good, he doesn't steal the show but he's not a boring drummer either; you can sense his versatility and apparent endless stamina (See Satan-Prometheus' double bass patterns in choruses for example). The problem comes in the production dept, but from a drummer's perspective, he did what was needed here. Bass it's just below everything adding a little of low end, but nothing more.
While I'm listening the album with studio monitors + flat eq, I think it sounds unbalanced, making the production the only real problem with Quantos. First: the drums are too high in the mix, especially the bass drum. About the bass drum, I think it's slightly 'clicky'. Second: the drums sound kinda dry. I don't have a problem with toms, but the snare, cymbals and bass drums sounds too dry, especially compared to the vocals which have a good share of reverb/delay on them, so you feel the drums are in a 'different place', what's called to be out of the mix. Also, I think guitars lack a little of bite on them, but the sound itself it's fine.
My personal Highlights? Prayer, Cleansing Fire, Rebirth and the best song, Satan-Prometheus. It's an epic behemoth full of tremolo picking with a slight classical feel (not much different than Dawn's Slaughtersun material), with Pest vomiting blasphemies, until the epicness of the chorus arise with the clean chant of 'Satan-Prometheus'. The second part has a solemn and evil atmosphere, making this song in particular the best thing Infernus has written since the UTSOH days.
Buy it and, if you play guitar or drums, you'll have fun playing along to these songs.
Before I begin, let me state that Gorgoroth is probably my favorite Norwegian black metal band. I feel that their work has been a defining project in that whole scene. I'm also a huge fan of the mostly maligned Gaahl days. I particularly feel Incipit Satan is one of the most underrated releases in their career, and Ad Majorem... was a big hit with me from first listen to now almost 6 or 7 years since it came out. Of course, I was confused by all the drama surrounding the whole kicking Infernus out shit that occurred, but of course Infernus also hadn't done much more than contribute a few riffs to the band since the recording of Incipit Satan (he says he was having a dry spell). Regardless, Gorgoroth is his band and I would have had more respect if Gaahl and King ov Hell had just created their own band and not done all that at all. When the dust cleared, I was optimistic that perhaps this album would be a return maybe to the classic days of Gorgoroth, particularly when it was announced that Pest was rejoining the band on vocals.
Sadly, the product we as fans have been given by Infernus is faulty and rushed. I'm not saying it's all bad, but overall I feel a dissatisfaction with this release for a number of reasons I will discuss.
First I have to say the main feeling I get from this album is that Infernus rushed it out to show the world that yes he could write an album and he wasn't an invalid or anything. Problem is half the songs on here are mediocre, sometimes featuring some good riffs, but over all they get stale real quick. Also I must point out the shitty drum sound and drumming "performance." In all truth the drums sound like a drum machine, and I'm fully convinced that what they are. Also there doesn't appear to be any bass on here at all, and if there is it's mixed so low it's pretty much not audible. The result is this sounds like Infernus playing guitar riffs over a drum machine with Pest halfheartedly vocalizing over it.
Most of the songs also lack any energy, and seem sluggish and dull. There's a lot of the "thrashy" type riffs, and the melodic riffs tend to be slower. Indeed only three of the songs have any real energy and spirit behind them, those being the opener "Knduthanasia," "Building a Man" and "Satan/Prometheus" all of which are excellent songs that bring to mind some of their previous work while adding some new elements in. This could have been the album, if Infernus had perhaps waited and polished his stuff up and maybe played them a bit with the "members" of the band to get that classic live feeling of the older material.
And talking about the rushed feeling, the final "track" "Invroi an Alatore Sathanas" is really very cool and atmospheric and feels like the intro to a fucking awesome song, then it just ends, and the album ends on a huh? kind of feeling. In fact the first time I listened to the album I thought my copy was faulty, until I looked it up and found out no, that was the song, or rather teaser song fragment.
Also a word about the lyrical lack, "Rebirth" for example, asides from being such a boring song I find it impossible to listen to it through (six minutes of the same few riffs and Pest phoning in the lyrics) has some of the most juvenile lyrics I've heard all about how the real Gorgoroth has returned, and a bunch of stuff about media whores, etc. all a big lash out to his ex-members. And while yes I can understand the anger, perhaps it could have been expressed with a little less of a ham fist.
Some songs could have been very good if we had some powerful drums and playing. Take "New Breed" for example, which has some cool riffing, but suffers from the mechanical drums and Pest's rather tired vocals.
So to sum up we have here an album that was supposed to be some kind of glorious return, and to those who "hated" Gaahl that's what this is, there's plenty of people giving this good reviews for the simple reason that Infernus is writing this album. But sadly I'm not one of those people. Honestly I felt Gaahl brought a real artistry and spirit to his lyrics and had a creative ear for his voice. Also Gorgoroth as a real band like it was at all points before this release was always a band that made you want to throw a fist and headbang, and left you breathless with the intensity of their attack. All this is really lacking on this release. Maybe Infernus was trying to do something diferent, and perhaps it would have worked, but it just sounds stale and forced, more like a demo to show band members the songs then an album for the listening public. Hell I've heard one man bands sound more furious and intense then this. For an album a little over 30 minutes it feels like it'll never end in some sections.
So over all a very flawed record, honestly with the fact that the follow up to this has been a "re-recording" of their classic Under the Sign of Hell, a re-recording which suffers from all the same problems as this album, I'm not too sure of the future of Gorgoroth (if he hadn't done that I would be more optimistic like I was before it's release). Part of me hopes the next real album will be a powerful release, but part of me hopes Infernus just hangs it up and admits he doesn't have the passion anymore. It's a sad thing to say, and I feel bad saying it, but that's how this album makes me feel.
I can recommend this for the true Gorgoroth fan, as there are a couple of really cool songs on here, but in the final cut I'd say just put on your old records and wait and see what the future brings.
Let's ignore all that's transpired, shall we? No need to drudge up the recent past, which has been chronicled to oblivion by both fandom and media alike. A sad state of affairs as, if you ask me, the music should speak louder volumes than any ongoing drama. At times it does, but other times it takes the back seat. So as the black metal public sat on pins and needles over the reinvention of Gorgoroth, in which Infernus was able to rope in both discernable and surprising talent, wondering just what could come about with such an unholy pact.
What came to be didn't live up to it's hyped line-up, sadly.
What we have here is a new, and dare I say, "modernized" Gorgoroth. Infernus and company are able to craft a multi-faceted modern black metal album that straddles the not-so-fine line between natural beauty and computerized wargames. Certainly better than the King-led dreck of "Twilight of the Idols" and "Ad Majorem Satanas Gloriem", though not quite up to par with the likes of "Antichrist" and "Under the Sign of Hell", "Quantos..." exists as the middle ground between the earlier majesty and the newer mid-tempo fury. At the forefront, the return of Pest's sickening vocals creates some of the same unearthly atmosphere of his earlier work, no matter how buried in the mix they are at times, though more restrained and not quite as otherwordly and wild as it once was. Bøddel trumps along, unleashing torrents of his death-tastic low-end rumblings with the calculatingly militaristic cadences of Tomas Asklund, who doesn't really showcase a lot of dexterity in lieu of simpler, meandering percussive ends outside of a few moments of speed and blast-beating frenzies. But it all boils down to Infernus' masterful riffery, which shows the world that black metal is still to be taken seriously no matter how much times has passed. Taking cues from his Nuclear Blast period with a touch of the neo-classical abilities of the days of yore, he goes for the jugular when he's on, as on "Rebirth, "Building a Man", or "Satan-Prometheus", and mildly pushes you around when he's not, like on "Aneuthanasia" or "Cleansing Fire", and for what its worth, a simpler, head-bobbing tone is present throughout much of the album, not necessarily rewriting the book on extreme black metal, leaving the listener slightly frustrated instead of frightened.
So all in all this was a bit of a letdown considering what went on and what could've been. Perhaps I'd set my personal bar up to high, as the 'roth have always been one of my absolute favorite black metal acts, which has made this debacle all the more problematic. Not necessarily worth the wait, but still worth a listen every once in a while. Here's hoping future years will bear more ominous fruit.
So, the first song "Aneuthanasia" plays. This song gives a good introduction to what the album is like; powerful and raw. The new former vocalist Pest is back, and he certainly delivers. I might add that this is without the addition of highly edited vocals, something that was very obvious with Gorgoroth's previous vocalist Gaahl.
But it's with the second song "Prayer" that this album really shows its true colours, or darkness I should say. Along with this song, the highlights of Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt are "New Breed", "Cleansing Fire" and of course "Satan-Prometheus". The song "Rebirth" is another highlight being the most slow paced track, yet also the most atmospheric. There really isn't any filler, only perhaps two tracks that don't stand out as much. There is also a rather atmospheric outro "Introibo Ad Alatare Satanas" which ends the album nicely.
But what about the technicalities of all the instruments? Well, everything is almost solid. The vocals and lead guitar are definitely there. The drumming for the most part is brilliant, although doesn't compare to the older days of Gorgroth. And the bass doesn't stand out so much either. But this is just nit picking and has little to no effect on how listenable this album is.
All in all, the rebirth of Gorgoroth is a very welcome return, especially in this current state of black metal, and entire metal industry in general. Infernus and Pest have taken a new direction with Gorgoroth, yet without ripping off their old material. Any fan of black metal must buy this album.
Well, hopes were high for this release. Infernus and Pest together again with Gaahl and King out of the band. Very promising indeed! Especially since I personally started to like Gorgoroth during the Gaahl/King era. Back then while everyone whispered about Infernus as the hardcore Black Metal master of the band, and considering this, Quantos Possunt was something really nice to look forward to. Gorgoroth, but even better than Gorgoroth! It all went downhill from there.
The contents of the album pretty much qualifies as old school black metal. It could be labeled necro, or historic re-enactment, but it is produced in a much cleaner, modern fashion. The album also is heavier and more riff driven than your usual old school black metal. The genre typical tremolo pickings are mere atmospheric background events. There are plenty of blast beats, although they are slow and machine like, which gives the drums a cold, programmed feel to them.
I do not have the energy to go into detail for every song because I honestly feel that there is no point in doing it. This is a one listen-album. Everything is there, plain and open, and it does not grow on you after ten listenings. The album is boring. I wonder if it even should be called Black Metal. If you remove Pest's (excellent) voice, the music sounds more like someone practicing standard riffing for a blackened death metal band. The same goes for the drums, standard beats without surprises. The wet cardboard bass drums coincidentally sound similar to the bass drums on another very tired album from former masters: Cradle of Filth, Thornography.
Overall, the music lacks fire, nerve and spirit. There is no trace of genius, inspiration or any kind of musical development. It is like Gorgoroth took granny's old recipe book and made an album straight from the Blackish Dull Metal recipe and produced it in a sort of modern way. Hell, this is not even harsh or wild or evil in any way apart from the usual pseudo-christian satanism and the mentioning of human sacrifice and other, more or less fantasy events.
I cannot help comparing this release to the rest of Gorgoroth's releases, and Quantos Possunt is a very bleak album. Very, very bleak. Suddenly, I understand clearly why Gaahl and King wanted to fire Infernus from the band.
The sleeve looks cool though, but a bit too tidy and *nice*.
Thank Satan that Infernus won that case, because if Gaahl and King got control of this band I would be heartbroken. I don't know what they were thinking trying to kick him out, seeing as he is Gorgoroth, but we all can keep it out of our minds now that Gaahl is retired, and King is fucking around with Shagrath to make some genuine black/shit metal!
Well, Infernus is out of jail, ready to make some new blasphemies, but his band (once again) is broken and he needs some fresh meat. So he gets some newer metalheads to do bass and drums, but he still needs a singer. Who fits the bill? Who can revitalize this down and out band that has released a stream of mediocer at best album since Pest's departure?
Pest can thats who. I know I'm not the only one who thinks that Under the Sign of Hell is Gorgoroth's magnum opus, and I'm not the only one that thinks that Pest is Gorgoroth's best vocalist to date. But if you might be thinking that Pest went soft or lost his touch after years of bumming around with Octagon and that other band, Blood Stained Dusk or something like that, you are happily wrong.
Pest has always been one of my favorite harsh vocalists, and he remain so, delivering this disc of blasphemy with his usual ferocity, clarity, and raw power. No clean vocals on this album, but I'm not complaining, they didn;t really add much to UtSoH. All in all it is fan-fucking-tastic to have Pest Infernus back together.
The composition of this album is great, Infernus had plenty of time to perfect these riffs. Prayer is a sweet old-school black metal ripper, Rebirth is a darker song, that is a little slower and deeper (plus the lyrics pretty much rip on Gaahl and King, which is nice), and Satan-Prometheus is one of the best black metal songs of the new millenium.
"See the horns rise
And the eternal reign of SATAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!"
Building A Man and Clensing Fire are both really good tracks as well, the rest aren;t bad but don't get too much play time in my stereo. Aneuthansia is too plain and kind of textbook black metal. Human Sacrifice just doesn't seem very original either. The last song is just a dramatic outro. Infernus's unique guitar style is present throughout, and holds this album together.
The crippling issue with this album, besides a few weak tracks is the production. The bass isn't there- no shocker there- the guitar sounds too modern, and the drums.... Ohhh the drums.... The drum sounds different from track to track, which is confusing, and made worse by the fact that it never really lands well. The bass drum sounds like wet cardboard, and the snare like a moldy countertop. Pretty much all these reviews comment on this flaw, so if it is so obvious to us, why didn't they fix it? And why did they use such modern production? That is so not kvlt!
With Pest back, and a return to what Gorgoroth should be, the band is getting their act together. If the next album has more of the same level of composition, with a bleaker production, more lo-fi, and they fix that fucking drum tone, we may be looking at an album to get up to the same level of UtSoH. Still, this one of the best black metal albums in a few years, and a worthy addition to any metal collection. For keeping it blasphemous, bringing back an old friend, and some great black metal riffing,
Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt gets an 85, or a 4 out of 5.
Gorgoroth, one of the most satanic Norwegian black metal bands, has made their 8th offering (to Satan), "Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt". After three albums with Gaahl and King ov Hell, we now have the old Gorgoroth back. It's been a while since Gorgoroth didn't sound like themselves, but don't worry guys, the old Gorgoroth is back. Well, sort of...
Well, the music sounds like old Gorgoroth, though this isn't their best work. Their earlier albums have more emotion in it, being darker, chaotic and eerier, while this album is more melancholic in nature. The riffs are still minimalist, but more melancholic, more melodic and generally slower, unlike their former works. The drums are simple compared to their former works. Blast beats aren't that present in the album, unlike before. The vocals, of course, are a big change since it's Pest who is on charge on it now. His vocal performance is just simply amazing. His vocals still sound like the ones on "Under the Sign of Hell". Now the production. It is somewhat polished like the Gaahl-era Gorgoroth, and one primary reason why this can never sound like the good old days, though this isn't much of a concern for me, for the production, as far as i know fits the songs as a whole. I think this is a new beginning for the band, for this album, though sounding like old Gorgoroth, has something new in store for their listeners. Truly splendid.
Overall, this is, nonetheless, a great album. Although it doesn't match up to "Antichrist", this is still one heck of a Gorgoroth album. Each song in this album will never disappoint you in every way possible. You won't regret getting this one!
Originally made for http://mystifymyserie.blogspot.com
Gorgoroth is back, for the first time in about a decade in the opinions of many, with a lineup that closely resembles the one they had in the mid 90s. The absence of Ghal and King is greatly felt, and that is hardly a bad thing. But does it mean that the frost coated sonic brilliance of "Antichrist" has returned with their departure? Well, not exactly, as the band has retained a mode of production that is relatively close to what has been normal for the band in the past few albums, consisting of a very clearly defined set of barriers between the instruments that somewhat resembles the mixing job done on Dimmu’s "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant". But in spite not being in full adherence with every standard practice of the early to mid 90s, "Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem" is a clear winner after a long period of mediocre output.
There are many areas in play here that could be used as examples of a superior effort. Pest's vocals are much more in keeping with the character of black metal, coming off as a vile sounding goblin stricken with dementia while rambling in sepulchral tongues at the moonlight, though his words are bit more intelligible than that of his mid-90s contributions with the band. A similar mixture of thrash metal influences, simplistic yet depressing melodic contours, and an occasionally dense layering of hazy chords and tremolo leads, in line with that of "Antichrist" is up front and center. But more than anything, there is a general sense of genuine darkness to this album that was never to be found during Gorgoroth’s previous era. Musically it is a bit more rough and primitive than what Ghal would come up with, but this band's charm is not found in half-hearted attempts at upstaging Dimmu Borgir in the accessibility department.
Individually, each song stands as a compact, yet utterly wicked mixture of fast paced thrash riffing and catchy melodic majesty. A quick listen to crushing anthems of terror like that of "Human Sacrifice", which perfectly melds a heavy dose of active guitar work with a rather mundane rhythmic foundation, reveals the same sort of rudimentary wickedness that originally made Slayer a house hold name. Occasionally the implied guitar harmonies get catchy enough to resemble early Gothenburg material, but keeps itself from becoming too cliché or light sounding to listen like an In Flames song circa "Lunar Strain", though a general comparison of the formulaic nature of this song, and several others on here with the early days of the melodic death craze in Sweden could be made. Other songs such as the blurring, blast beat steeped and tremolo happy "Satan-Prometheus" and the dragging, doom-like "Rebirth" reach back to the mid 90s in some respects, though the heightened production quality keeps it from sounding like a complete revisiting to the early 90s.
It's a pretty close call between this stellar, though not 100% faithful, return to form and Immortal’s latest offering, but "Quantos Possum Ad Satanitatem" edges out "All Shall Fall" slightly in the overall performance. For some it may be the ugly (in a good way) sounding vocal performance that ventures a little closer to the Mayhem and Bathory manifesto that is heard here. For others, it might be some sort of odd hostility towards the idea of guitar solos popping up everywhere. But speaking for myself, the songwriting is just ever so slightly more memorable, to the point of being able to hear them in their entirety even when the music is not playing. For many of the old fans, it probably won't measure up to "Antichrist" or "Pentagram", but in a fairly different way, it works just about as well as they did 15 years ago. Black metal doesn't necessarily have to sound grim and frostbitten to be great, though admittedly, in most cases the better albums do tend to sound that way.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer) on April 8, 2010.
Man, I DID NOT expect this. I never thought Gorgoroth was a bad band even in the last 10 years, I still didn't think they ever sold out or softened themselves up like fellow compatriots Darkthrone & Emperor. But somewhere from Destroyer to Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam they sort of lost their way in my mind. Something was missing. The intensity was still there, but it wasn't the "Gorgoroth sound" I knew from their earlier releases. It was becoming more progressive and less raw over time. Perhaps it was a sign of Gaahl & King taking over their roles in the band.
As everything turned out Gaahl & King bit off more than they could chew and eventually had to be forced out of someone else's band. Whatever it is, it certainly lit a fire in Infernus and he brought in former vocalist (my personal favorite) Pest, Bøddel and Tomas Asklund in the lineup. Outside of knowing that Pest came back I had my doubts. Can a completely new lineup gel in enough time to make a great comeback? Well yeah, apparently.
Already hearing the first song 'Aneuthanasia' I noticed an immediate difference and I loved it. The sound was more direct, raw and very much like their early trilogy of Antichrist, Pentagram and & Under The Sign Of Hell which is what we all wanted as fans of the band. Some say the production is bad. I think if anything it may be somewhat thin sounding, but I think that's the charm of it. The early releases all had that similar sound to it. But then again, people will complain about anything. The drums are excellent throughout, especially on 'Rebirth' & 'Building A Man'. The new lineup came together perfectly in my opinion and sound like they've been playing together for years and not months.
I am delighted to hear "the old Gorgoroth" again on this album and even the cover is reminiscient of their early black and white covers as well. While this may not seem like a big deal to some, I think it's great to see a band embrace their past, their finest work and try to recreate those days again and do it successfully. Some (too many) just resent it and try to distance themselves from it like a bad memory. Infernus was excited to have his "name" back to him and made sure he made it count by bringing back and old favorite in Pest, some trustworthy and excellent bandmates to solidify his vision and the sound he wanted. He achieved that in releasing their best overall work since 'Under The Sign Of Hell'. Well done Infernus!
If you want to understand Gorgoroth’s purest essence, Infernus is the way to go. About this time in 2008, I would have never believed that statement to be true. Yes, I did side with Gaahl and King in the whole band dispute. Yes, I was wrong, because when Gorgoroth (with a new lineup featuring two of their best past members) came out with “Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt”, I realized the most desolate, coldest, and most intensely raw black metal atmosphere I’ve ever heard.
Pest is amazing to say the least. His vocal style is a gurgling screech that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up as it assimilates to the overall aesthetic ambiance of the music and accentuates the desolate symphonic sound echoing throughout each track. Most demonstrative of his malevolent personae is his screech of “rebirth of Gorgoroth” in the song, “Rebirth”, and his overall performance in “Building a Man”. The song, “Human Sacrifice” features some very interesting lyrics that sound like they have to do with the Gorgoroth name rights dispute and Gaahl’s position (as the shaman) describing how their “words cut like knives through insignificant lives” during the court battle, and how Gaahl’s sexuality came up at one point. All of this is just what I’m getting form Pest’s vocals (I prefer to listen to how they are incorporated into the musical mix), but since Gorgoroth keeps their lyrics under wraps, I’ll just have to listen to it again. Luckily, with the job that the band has done on this album, every song is very listenable and stays at a relatively simple, but not simplistic level.
The drums deliver a thunderous black metal sound. This sound brings the weight of an entire symphony upon the overall sound of Gorgorth and really brings back the booming march sound that was exemplary in “Funeral Procession” and “Profetens Apenbaring”. The drumming adds another severe level of rawness to the sound of the band nowadays and with a little more technically driven percussion from Boddel (Frank Watkins), the song really gains the epic low end that it was lacking before.
The guitars wail and whine out every different riff as though they are different sections of an orchestra contributing to the low end sound of the band. This dynamic is pulled off astutely by the band and helps to reflect the low tones of the bass and Pest’s lyrics. Gorgoroth does well to keep the sound of the band aesthetically pleasing as well as technically pleasing as the guitars speed up and add more intricate note structures to their music. The aesthetic that is created by the song results in a very cold atmosphere that Pest does well to accentuate with his echoing screams and the ambient sounds added to different songs like in “Satan-Prometheus”. In all, the way each instrument adds to the overall effect Gorgoroth is looking to create helps bring the band to such a low bass sound that their thunderous echoing in the frozen mountains of Northern Europe can be heard as long as Pest’s wolf-like screams from atop the band by the end of the album.
Gorgoroth’s “Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt” perfectly captures the band’s essential sound and demonstrates their amazing delivery of well-produced, modern black metal ambiance and gives it an even stronger pummeling low end while balancing it with old members of the band that really understood Gorgoroth’s sound. What I’ve learned from Gorgoroth’s new album is if you want some original material from Gorgoroth’s original members, this will not disappoint but give a new insight to the amazing work of these intense musicians.
I'm just gonna break the review into several broader categories for this one to hopefully make the review comprehensive and coherent for this album. The album being the first Infernus wrote the majority of since Under The Sign Of Hell, I was interested to hear where the band was going since Gaahl and King had hijacked it on the previous albums. The bottom line (if you don't want to read the details and whole review) is that the album is a continuation of the first three full lengths, the only thing that has changed is the production. The riffing and vocal delivery have returned to a classic Gorgoroth sound.
Infernus' riffing here sounds just as good as it ever has. The guitars often harmonize on dark harmonies that flow naturally from one chord to the next. Generally tremolo picking and palm muted chord "stabs" (think of riffs where accented power chords have fast palm muted notes between them). There are some thrashy sounding riffs here too, which are much appreciated since Gorgoroth ALWAYS had a thrashy dirty feel to them in the old days. So the riffing here really is what you would expect from Infernus, there even some lead parts that remind of the song "Gorgoroth" off Antichrist which showcased some of the lead work on older albums. The drumming here is basic, however the actual rhythms and patterns aren't the problem, the problem is in the absolutely terrible production of the drums which I'll discuss later. Otherwise drumming is competent, it is there as a supporting instrument and keeps driving riffs along and giving some of the thrashy riffs a nice solid base. Vocal delivery is also well done, phrases are similar to old material and Pest definitely hasn't lost his touch since last appearing on a Gorgoroth release. Everything in the songwriting department will make fans of old Gorgoroth pleased with the record. However...
Absolutely atrocious. This is the only possible reason I can think of that would lead people to say this is nothing like the old material. It is absolutely wrong, it doesn't fit the songs, the band, the feeling of the songs. There are absolutely NO MIDS on this album. Everything sounds isolated from everything else. No atmosphere, guitars are distinct from vocals, distinct from drums, and the bass is pretty much not there. Drums are triggered to hell, sounds like a drum machine ffs. Nothing bleeds together like on Pentagram or Antichrist, it's produced like a power metal album, not a black metal album. This really hurts the overall presentation of the album, it's aggravating to think how good the album could have been if only it had been mastered mid 90s by Pytten in Grieghallen. The production definitely brings a commercial sound to the album, it's empty, it has no depth, it's too distinct and obvious, there is nothing mysterious about how the instruments interplay.
It's a well written album with crap production. Fans of Gorgoroth will appreciate the release is it is far better than the last few albums, however it fails to reach the greatness of the older albums due to the terrible production work. Fans of Gorgoroth should look into this, those who are hoping for a return to the glory days of the mid 90s will find that it does fall short sadly.
Musically speaking, 2009 has been a year filled to the brim with wonderful surprises, monumental releases and insane comebacks, and of course Gorgoroth is a big portion of the reasons why. Every single human being who enjoys black metal, all around the world, have been waiting dearly for this release, and finally it's here.
This album proved to be the biggest disappointment of the second half of 2009, for me.
Why you ask? Because I'm a silly person. The moment Infernus announced the new lineup, I thought to myself "Under The Sing Of Hell Part Deux is now inevitable." And clinged to that idea up to the moment I sat down to listen to this record. The first listen was like being stabbed in the heart by a loved one. Seriously. At the time I felt so betrayed and disgusted by what I was listening that, for a moment, I thought that Gorgoroth was better off dead.
Of course you might have noticed the score I gave it by now, so I'll move on to the bright side of this story.
A few days after the heartcrushing incident, I realized that as with many other albums, I was to listen to it a couple of times before giving a final verdict. Hell, I hated albums like Ordo Ad Chao, Blood Inside, Revel Extravaganza the first time I listened to those, and nowadays they rank among my personal favourites. So that's exactly what I did. I sat down and chewed on the massive beast once more. And then once more, and one more time after that. While I was still sad by my broken dream of a second UTSOF, I realized this album had something even more valuable, even if it doesn't quite go with my expectations.
What we have here, in essence, is the continuation, the lost brother of Pentagram.
It's only now that I can allow myself to go into detail on the album itself.
The major issue, the one issue that made me dismiss this album completely the first time I listened to it, is the sound. It's too sterile, too mechanized, it lacks a soul. Especially the horribly artificial-sounding drums. Asklund is one hell (pun intended) of a drummer, no doubt about it, it's the actual sound of the kit that makes it lack the punch a more natural sounding drum would have. But it fills its part well enough, giving impassivity when needed and keeping the slower paces just fine. I've read that Infernus himself recorded the basslines but to be honest I can't for the life of me hear the presence of said bass anywhere. That's a major downer. Finally, the guitar. The sound is nice, even though it also lacks punch, seems to lack energy and anger, but then again that might just be me, remembering songs like Revelation Of Doom and Krig and feeling let down. As far as sound go, this album is quite lacking, but only marginally, which makes it even more painful for me, because they were close to actually making this album sound like the choir of the very core of hell. Close enough, though.
Up to this point I had re-listened to this album multiple times, and realized that, indeed, it was growing on me like a maddening hunger or an unfathomable lust. Yes, I was really liking this album, despite the many many obstacles which were not going away any time soon. Even as I type this, with the album raging in my ears, the sound still sounds tame and mechanic, and I still feel something big, something important is missing, this album is in desperate need of an extra dosis of hate and passion.
Now, let's get into the song structures themselves. As I said, this album is but a continuation, a (quite technical in comparison) continuation of the most intimate and primal style of Gorgoroth, of Infernus. The quasi-thrashy moments, the procession-like powerchord progressions, those glorious moments in which only the guitar can be heard, spreading arpeggios like the four horsemen spread death, hunger and war over our world, the riffing overall is but a translation of that ancient (ok, 15 years is not "ancient" but you know what I mean) sound into modern ages, which not only means Infernus has not lost that passion that burns eternally in his heart, but he has improved greatly as a guitarist. Upon realizing all of this, I became very happy and relieved.
Even more so, songs like Building A Man and Satan-Prometheus are truly reminiscent of Under The Sign[...]'s unique array of classical-influenced riffage, even though they lack the rage of said album, they could, at times, mix rather well with songs like Funeral Procession and Profetens Åpenbaring (especial attention to the latter example, as Satan-Prometheus presents clean vocals from Pest). But other than that, most songs would feel right at home in Antichrist and Pentagram, with the romantic styled riffing with thrashy undertones, the constant variation in both tempo and approach and Pest's vocals, which are as wonderful as always, even if the man is a decade and a half older (of course his voice is kind of weak in comparison but come on, try to growl like that man for 15 years and see if you end up better).
The main problem affecting this album is the same problem that affected a couple of great comebacks this year: Timing. (see Beherith and Nargaroth for some prime examples of bad timing). This album could have been something much, much more immense had it been released quite a few years prior. Of course, and unlike the examples previously quoted, this could have not happened, as the events that surrounded this album and this band could not have been any other way.
I'm not going to call this anything less that a magnificent return to form for Gorgoroth and Infernus. But that implies that we're right where we left off, and Infernus still needs to work into de-oxidizing himself a bit, and finally creating a new, monumental beast to release upon mankind, so to make things clear: I still feel highly disappointed by this album. I wasn't expected such a tamed beast from Infernus and company, because at the end of the day that's what this album is: A beast that has been imprisoned for a decade but has not quite been let loose yet. And while it's unsavory to let my hopes ride high after such a let down, I'm gonna take my chances again, and hope Infernus lets himself loose and creates a work of art that will eclipse even the greatness of Under The Sign Of Hell.
Originally written for the paper version of the Terror Cult Zine
I'll tell you, up until recently, Gorgoroth was pissing me off. Under The Sign Of Hell was the last masterpiece of brutal black metal by the band. With it's harsh riffs, tone, and brutal drumming, Gorgoroth made a statement in the newborn Norwegian scene. Most importantly, it didn't have those God-awful vocals by Gaahl, who sounds more like a clown than a black metal singer. It was his inclusion to the band that turned me off of Gorgoroth for a while. I haven't even bothered to catch up with their latest releases just because of the depressing lineup. Speed up a little more than a decade in Gorgoroth's history, and I was pleased to hear Pest was on vocals again, and that Infernus would be writing much material for the album. After taking in the wicked album cover and title, I heard that Infernus would be using his recent confinement as an inspiration for Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt. Immediately, I knew what he had in mind. This was the comeback album, but not a return to form in that Quantos would contain blast beats and screaming to impose anger and hate, but that it would be themed on dread, despair, and darkness. Boy was I right. Perhaps, my predictions have never been more accurate.
Quantos didn't even need to try to reach my top 5 albums of the year. This album is black as hell, no matter how you take it. This is my vision of dark and cruel metal; entirely how it's been constructed. The riffs revert back to the glory days of Gorgoroth, full of complexity, flow, and emotion. The songs soar through a black, empty sound, and play on dissonance, and mystery. I recall an intro being played backwards too. To appreciate it though, perhaps, one must be more accustomed to a doomy atmosphere. I remember when some weren't pleased by the textured doom factors of Celtic Frosts reunion. Should you accept Quantos for the brooding dark realm of insanity that it is, then it truly will make this years October ten times as treacherous and ominous than ever before. Along with the superb atmosphere and musicianship in this album is a fitting vocal delivery. It's perhaps a little more legible than any Gorgoroth has been before, but it suits the album so well. Though Gorgoroth doesn't publish their lyrics, it's clear they wanted you to hear some parts, as they are too irresistible to not sing and scream along with. While much of the album is focussed on a lethal injection of darkness -which I think I have capitalized on a lot- they've managed to throw blast beats into the music to kick up the speed when just necessary.Still, very heavy bass drumming is present through the album's entirety. Finally a lot of 3/4 time measures into it as well.
The album does have a few drawbacks of course. While the vocals are great, I feel they could have been more varied. Not the rasping in it's self, it's just that I wish there where more styles than said rasping. I would have loved to hear more clean vocals for instance. Also, the drumming got slightly stale at times. I feared I had briefly suffered "retro thrash fever" for a few short moments (See: intro of Cleansing Fire.) Further, I just felt that there wasn't enough of the album. Now, even though most of the album was strong (I found Building a Man and New Breed to be the only slightly redundant tracks), the brutality of Aneuthanasia, and Satan-Prometheus weren't enough to satisfy my thirst, and I think their anger should have been sampled more. Finally, most of the songs where too short for my taste. Luckily though, they didn't end terribly abruptly. This should be expected from a band that's never put out an album longer than 40 minutes of course. These drawbacks aren't too negative though, as everything that is presented is done extraordinarily well, resulting in what may be the best Gorgoroth album to date. I will let this be a rebirth, and look forward to any and all albums Gorgoroth produces in the future as of now.
The story behind this album should be well-known to most. In late 2007, two weaklings attempted to usurp control of Gorgoroth from its very creator. This act of betrayal split their fans into opposing camps. Some of the more braindead followers seemed to think that the utter mutiny of these two was, somehow, justified. However, the true force of Gorgoroth was Infernus. This was plain and clear, not only from the overwhelming support shown by his true fans, but by the Norwegian legal system. The battle seemed to be drawn-out but, in the end, Gaahl and King were defeated and cast into oblivion. during this struggle, Infernus worked long and hard to restore this band to its former glory. He assembled dedicated musicians to assist him in this task, secure in the knowledge that he would prevail and that a musical statement must be made. He had been working on material since before the split, and this treasonous nonsense seemed only to inspire him all the more. The resulting album, Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt, was released in October 2009, through Regain Records.
The album begins with "Aneuthanasia", and the distinct vocals of Pest are joined by the trademark guitar riffs of Infernus to recreate a feeling lost since over a decade ago. The pace speeds up as it goes along, as Infernus unleashes a vicious thrash riff to accompany the high-pitched rasp of Pest, who has long since been missed. The song is rather short and simple, but sets the tone very well. The only complaint I would make would be against the mechanical drumming of Tomas Asklund.
As "Prayer" starts out, we can see that the awful songwriting of the former members is soon to fade from the memories of those who gave up on the band after Under the Sign of Hell. This is classic Gorgoroth, something that has been missing for some time. I was completely unable to enjoy the Gaahl era, as I found his vocals grating and unfitting of the band's great legacy. This song is rather mid-paced, with a dark and sorrowful tremolo melody that will stick in your brain, alternating with thrash riffs, in the vein of Pentagram and some somber arpeggios.
"Rebirth" is the longest song on here, clocking in around six and a half minutes. The open arpeggios set a melancholic feeling, as Pest's vocals are filthy and misanthropic, just as on Antichrist. This one is mid-paced and very atmospheric. The feeling is dark and epic, in the style that Infernus is known for. You can feel some primal force rising within you as he screams, "rebirth of Gorgoroth!" This is a very powerful moment, and one filled with poignancy. You are taken on a black journey down into the depths, from which you will not emerge the same as before you started.
This is followed by "Building A Man", which slowly builds in speed. The tremolo riffs flow into some melodic thrash sound, with the double bass rumbling beneath. The drumming could have been a little lower in the mix, but this is a minor complaint. The riffs that Infernus has created are truly brilliant and take precedence over all else. The overall sound is very clear and powerful, not too different from the earliest Gorgoroth albums. As the song goes along, the intensity increases, til the end.
"New Breed" starts out with a riff that could almost have been on the last Dissection album. The transition from the previous song to this one is very natural, and it's worth mentioning that this doesn't feel like just some 'collection of songs'. There is a flow and a strong sense of coherence. Everything seems to fit together, very well. After a minute or so, the pace slows, but this is very brief as a melodic and memorable riff soon erupts, joined by blasting drums and Pest's hateful voice. Around the middle, there's another change. This is too brilliant to really describe. It pierces your spirit, letting your essence bleed out onto the frozen soil. There is something haunting and beautiful about the dreary feeling that this riff creates. It continues through the remainder of the song, leaving you utterly drained by the end.
The atmosphere changes, quite a bit, with "Cleansing Fire". This one is faster and more upbeat, in a sense, during the opening moments. Despite being only a few minutes long, it's still quite dynamic. Near the middle, there's another great riff that brings the feeling down somewhat, taking it to a darker place. Production-wise, this is beginning to remind me a bit of Reinkaos, come to think of it.
"Human Sacrifice" begins with an energetic thrash riff, but the song soon transitions to something less intense but darker and more sorrowful. This song seems to be building some sense of tension, as the album nears its end. It's fairly simplistic, yet highly effective. As with the rest of the album, the riffs here are very memorable and executed with great skill. Pest sounds as lethal as ever and the rhythm section handle their duties well, also.
The next song is likely to be the one that most are drawn to. "Satan-Prometheus" is a massively epic song that is absolutely certain to haunt your mind even after the first listen. Then again, what else would you expect from the brilliant mind that crafted "Maaneskyggens Slave"? It starts out with the classic Gorgoroth sound; raspy vocals spewing hatred over fast tremolo riffs and blasting drums. The melodies are dark and somber, weaving through your mind like venomous serpents that are soon to poison you and leave you for dead. After about a minute, a feeling of there's a brief section with clean vocals and a slower riff, to accentuate this. Following a thrashier section, this is repeated with additional tremolo riffs joining the Black Mass. The effect that this creates is very powerful. In a sense, it hearkens back to the feeling of "Sorg", though being quite different. Late in the song, the whole feeling changes and the pace is that of a funeral march. The track ends with hellish screams being drawn out over mournful melodies.
"See the hordes ascend
Crushing the face of god
See the horns rise
The eternal reign of Satan"
"Introibo ad Alatare Satanas" is a brief outro that closely follows the feeling established in the latter moments of the previous song. It possesses a Satanic and deathlike atmosphere and is a very fitting way to close out this masterpiece of an album.
This is the record that I've been wanting Gorgoroth to release for years. It's as close as you'll get the the classic period of the band's career and, really, sounds like a natural extension of those albums. It really does sound like an updated version of the musical vision that began back then, as if the middle period was some nightmare that has now been forgotten. One can only hope that Pest remains for the next album, as he has been as missed as Infernus's songwriting. Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt is a worthy addition to the musical legacy of Infernus and the mighty Gorgoroth. Buy this with confidence.
written for the Rites of the Black Moon Webzine