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Gorgoroth's Darkest Hour - 60%

beardovdoom, November 30th, 2013

Gorgoroth are one of those black metal bands with a mixed back catalogue, early albums regarded as some of the very best of the genre, 2 experimental albums and then a divisive period. This is the first album after the 2 experiments, an album some love and some hate. Musical influences from outside of black metal are more limited than previous releases, but there's still a strange vibe to the album. Bass player King Ov Hell wrote the majority of this album. For those that are unaware, King is regarded as a poser by many in the black metal scene (ask Darkthrone) and is seen as an attention seeker who doesn't stay true to the genre either. This doesn't automatically make him a bad songwriter, but the lack of Infernus' songwriting on this album clearly shows as it meanders away from the original core sound of black metal.

'Procreating Satan' starts us off, fairly fast paced drums, tremolo riffs and Gaahl's vocals being more of a roar than a traditional black metal screech. He does go to a higher pitch at times but in general his is a more mid-range style. Good luck with the lyrics, as Gorgoroth have attempted to suppress their publication, but I did hear 'satan' in there somewhere, now there's a surprise.

'Proclaiming Mercy...'is slower, to the point of almost being doom metal (only wihout the heaviness). A confusing track that immediately doesn't fit in. 'Exit-Through Carved Stones' is also a slower track but is still distinctly black metal, this track has a good atmospheric riff that slithers around your brain, only spoiled by annoying pinch harmonics.

Unfortunately, by track 4 my interest is already fading. I like various types of black metal, but with Gorgoroth I expect more ferocity than this album gives us. Weak songwriting really holds this back. 'Teeth Grinding' has an awful attempt at sort of clean vocals. No....just no! Doesn't fit the style at all. It's also another slow track but totally lacking in any mood other than putting me in a bad one.

At least 'Forces of Satan Storms' picks up the pace a little, but it's still pretty boring with more of a chugging riff that again isn't in Gorgoroth's traditional style. At least it gets better towards the end with a cool riff and some better drumming. The last 2 tracks are more traditional black metal songs, fairly fast with decent riffs but also some terrible vocals in 'Blod og Minne', whereas 'Of Ice and Movement' starts off brilliantly only to descend into some electronic experimental shite halfway through that kills it. Decent enough tracks that are spoiled by trying to be too different, and the crap on the first half of the album makes enjoying the latter half even more of an effort. Then we've got an outro track which is better left unheard.

I think the biggest problems with this album are: the songwriting is dull and disjointed, the musical performances sound forced and uninspired, and the production is lifeless. Very little atmosphere and the few good moments are soon ruined by a stylistic change that is ill-fitting. Vocal experimentation also brings this album too. Gaahl has a decent voice for black metal, but in certain places he sounds like he's trying to be Sakis Tolis from Rotting Christ! This style works for that band, not for Gorgoroth. From what I can pick out from the lyrics, it's mostly satanic cliches typical of the genre. I don't have a problem with this as I don't really expect better from black metal, but it isn't inspirational poetry either.

This album had potential, there are some great moments of black metal completely ruined by poorly chosen genre clashes, electronic parts and stupid vocals. The 2 albums before this were seen as straying from black metal and I'd throw this album in with them only much worse. Fortunately, the album after is better although still flawed. Then the band fell apart in legal battles, Infernus won the name (the fans also won with King's departure!) and Gorgoroth returned to true form after this. This album is for completists only.

Recommended tracks: 'Exit-Through Carved Stones', the first half of 'Of Ice and Movement'.

Underneath the sun, I watch the moon rise! - 90%

DomDomMCMG, April 15th, 2013

This is easily my favourite Gorgoroth album. While this may draw ire from the black metal community who live by the code that "Pentagram", "Antichrist" or "Under the Sign of Hell" are the ultimate Gorgoroth albums, but as much as I do like those albums I just don't find them as easy to get properly into compared to this one. Okay so it's pretty different from their early raw pure black metal output and at times is far more melodic and accessible, but for me that's what makes it so much better and maybe not unique, but certainly refreshing.

As I already said the album is a lot more melodic than previous Gorgoroth offerings, with Infernus mixing slow paced black metal riffs, such as those found on "Exit Through Carved Stones" mixed with faster paced songs like my personal highlight "Procreating Satan", keeping the album from becoming throughout it's 32 minute run. Some of these riffs are very memorable and easy to headbang to, especially with King ov Hell's thunderous basslines adding a bit of weight.

Kvitrafn's drumwork is exactly what one would expect from Gorgoroth. Lots of blast beats and double bass with a few fills to go with the slow parts, basically what is needed to help drive the music forward.

Sole vocalist Gaahl exhibits a very impressive range here, using the standard black metal shriek to perfection, mixing it up with some growled vocals that take songs like "Forces of Satan Storms" to an almost blackened death metal territory, as well as spoken word in "Teeth Grinding" and some very mournful cries of anguish such as before the outro to opener "Procreating Satan".

One drawback of this album is it feels very short. While there are 8 tracks clocking in at around 32 minutes, there's really only about 7 and a half songs. 6 minute closer "Of Ice and Movement" is actually only around 4 minutes long, with the remaining 2 minutes being an extended outro, which closes into another 8 bit instrumental outro called "Domine in Virtute Tua Laetabitur Rex" which didn't really need to be there at all. Nonetheless, the songs that are actually songs are more than enjoyable enough to make up for this.

If you're looking to get into Gorgoroth this may be a good starting point due to its accessible nature. After you've gotten used to listening to this a few times it is recommended to move onto "Pentagram" and "Antichrist".

Highlights: Procreating Satan, Exit Through Carved Stones, Teeth Grinding, Forces of Satan Storms, Of Ice and Movement

Kill the King - 30%

doomknocker, March 12th, 2011

There has been much ado about this here Gorgoroth entity...much more than originally perceived (or wanted, for all I know). Not that it's not well deserved; after all, it's not every day that a second-generation act could burst from their anonymity and obscurity through a sense of originality and be able to rub elbows with some of their genre's most aristocratic lords. And, the way I see it, Gorgoroth did so, pushing forth through their influence-clad sleeves ("A Sorcery Written in Blood", "Pentagram") with acts of impure wickedness ("Antichrist") and near-perfect evil ("Under the Sign of Hell"). And when Nuclear Blast came a'callin', they came at us both confused ("Destroyer") and confusING ("Incipit Satan") before taking a small, 3 year hiatus to unleash their latest opus to our battered and bruised ear drums

And what a let down it was...

At first glance, it would appear that "Twilight of the Idols" is a bit of a tease; it opens so well with the excellently devastating "Procreating Satan", but then descends into a mediocrity that doesn't let up until the very last minute or so, to which I place the majority of the blame firmly on the lack of Infernus' compositional craft. It's pretty obvious that King (or King of Hell, or King ov Hell, or whatever), he of the Shagrath-like attention addiction, is nowhere near Infernus' songwriting echelon, and instead gives us the main bulk of the album as plodding, chunky, sextet-laden go-nowhere doom riffs and tripping-over-one's-own-feet drum work that does not hold the attention as well as I'm sure he would've wanted. Not quite as abysmally bad as "Ad Majorem Satanas Gloriem," his attempts to bludgeon us only mildly smacks us in the head and make us long for something else to happen before changing to the next track in frustration. And it doesn't get any better for the foreseeable future until the very end, the sole Infernus composition, which astonishes in its complex simplicity (strange how a guitar-only track has more moxie and ideas than the majority of the whole-band-made songs the rest of the album has). But perhaps I'm being a bit unfair...it's not entirely King's fault this album is such a mess, as other problems persist; the production is blurry, making it hard to decipher instrumentation and vocal work, Gaahl's screaming, growling, hollering, and overall vocal nonsensery seems barely in conjunction with the rest of the band (and replete with mistimings and errors), and the whole performance seems rushed and sloppily thrown together, as if the band wanted to get this over with before the impending prison sentences pushed the group into a forced sabbatical, giving us a less-than-stellar product that only serves to blight the mighty Gorgoroth name rather than make us aware of their continued presence. What few good songs are present, the aforementioned "Procreating Satan" and "Domine in Virtute tua Laebitur Rex", are still fine examples that warrant extra listens from time to time, but the rest of the songs, like "Proclaiming Mercy - Damaging Instinct of Man" and "Forces of Satan Storms", fall flat on their face so hard and so fast that they're not even worth repeated looks and listens.

So in the end, I've not heard an album so bland and slapped together in quite some time. It's a shame that a mighty band like Gorgoroth would excrete such a mess, but that may or may not have been their real intentions. Maybe if they put more effort into the arrangements and production values this could have been a fine album, but as it stands, this is a disgrace. Avoid and fall back on what made the band great in the first place.

Our Master’s Return, Praise Satan, Praise Satan - 87%

Five_Nails, December 11th, 2008

Though only being thirty-two minutes long, Gorgoroth’s ‘Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan)’ is a truly amazing half hour of Norwegian black metal. Beginning with the explosion of sound that is ‘Procreating Satan’, Gorgoroth delivers a carnage-filled blow of Satanic rage. Gaahl’s screeching vocals come over the top of the guitars and drums creating a disturbingly evil ambiance that continues through to the end of the song which goes from a chant of ‘Our Master’s Return, Praise Satan, Praise Satan’ to an eventual devolvement into screeching and a painful halt that makes one wish that the chant would go on forever.

This being my first Gorgoroth release and having no predecessors to compare it to, the experience created is very unique. ‘Proclaiming Mercy-Damaging Instinct of Man’ demonstrates how unique this band is as the songs go from being pure black metal to an almost death metal command to cut flesh deeper and deeper. ‘Cut deeper, cut once again, endless torment, fire, destruction, and war’ are some of the lyrics as the song closes with a great segue into the epic opening of ‘Exit-Through Carved Stones’. This song, played in both the ‘Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’ and the ‘True Norwegian Black Metal’ documentaries is a black metal epic that creates the torturous and desolate ambiance that Gorgoroth seems to have been going for. Gaahl’s vocals again impress as he holds notes for dozens of seconds throughout every part of the song and the double bass and guitars chug along throughout to create the intended atmosphere.

‘Teeth Grinding’ is a favorite of mine. This song, though slow and dragging, really brings forward the songwriting ability of the band as this song goes from the tortured dream of a meteor-like object falling from the sky to the nightmare of a severed head devouring the remains of an animal or human. The song at three minutes and twenty seconds breaks into a grinding explosion of snare drumming, guitar whining and Gaahl screeching ‘From a distance, from a far, tear my heart out’ to close out the song. The torment displayed in this song breaks, but leaves the lasting impression that even in sleep one cannot escape the torture of human existence.

‘Forces of Satan Storms’ kicks the disc back into gear with the crushing combination of guitars and drums. This song is obviously meant to demonstrate the ability of the guitarist, Infernus, and the drumming ability of Kvitrafn. The song goes from fast pounding to slow whining of both guitar and vocals as Gaahl screeches in the background then kicks into gear again as the drums and guitar explode forward again. This song isn’t the best track on the album but passes. ‘Blod Og Minne’ is a catchy riffed song with great combination of guitar and drums. Gaahls vocals sound less impressive in this one as like in ‘Forces of Satan Storms’ this song is for the guitar and drums to be displayed. About a minute and a half into the song it speeds up then slows into a combination of snare and spoken vocals which continues for about a minute until the main riff of the song comes over the top of the song to dominate the music. It closes with yet another droning ending, but the song in general is a great addition to the track list of this release. ‘Of Ice and Movement’ is the last song on this release and could have been done away with. It is too much like ‘Forces of Satan Storms’ in that the band tries to play as fast as they can without any regard to the music. It is catchy, but its placement at the end of the release is not fitting for the outro which is a kind of organ music score.

In all, this release is amazing, though repetitive in theme and execution at times and is a great demonstration of the musical ability and power of Gorgoroth. The best song on this release would have to be ‘Teeth Grinding’ and the worst would be ‘Of Ice and Movement’ so in effect, the beginning of this release is better than the weak puttering out at the end.

Few standouts, nothing amazing. - 56%

MutatisMutandis, August 9th, 2008

Before it crosses your mind, the "6" I tacked on the rating is borderline arbitrary. A "57" or "55" would showcase my same sentiments, but such is the spawn of "guestimation" in most of your cases. I'm parodying other metal reviewers, get it? OH LAWD, I'm a basket of laughs. And ironic claims.

Now that we got that cleared up, Gorgoroth is the first black metal band I ever really got into, and while this certainly won't pull in any acclaim, my first exposure to the group of grumpy Norsemen came in the form of 2000's Incipit Satan. Looking back, that album was a steaming diaperload of spastic songwriting, shitty vocals, and overall inconsistency on the parts of all participants. Fortunately, I was young and impressionable enough at the time to misnomer it as "fucking true blue" and began a pilgrimage back to the band's earliest output.

Twilight Of The Idols carries on the tradition established with Destroyer (aka Gorgoroth twists it's impractically thin heel into enjoyable music's nads) and kicks off with the most brutal and repetitive track of the recording session. Fortunately, while the title track of Destroyer blew donkey schlong and Incipit Satan's was only a little bit better, Procreating Satan fucking bulldozes through the hymens of all naysayers and christfags. No ambient bullshit, no build up, just instant anthemic domination. For the first time since Gaahl was introduced to the fold, his heavily distorted style aids the band's approach.

The followup, Proclaiming Mercy is a slower, more methodical track with a relatively elementary vocal pattern that somehow hits home despite it's simplicity. Exit Through Carved Stones is held together by a bleak melody that ends up being the highlight of the release. SUDDENLY: the rest of the band realizes something fishy is going on and immediately rectifies the situation by conducting the derailment-prone Teeth Grinding train to lunge into the remainder of the album and explode. The next memorable track happens to be the completely misplaced and ridiculous outro with the analog organ jam. Of Ice And Movement, for example, is about as engaging as watching dust settle.

Bottom line: Gaahl should get lymphoma.
*ahem*
Bottom line: if you're an established post-Under The Sign Of Hell fan, by all means, pick this up. If your loyalties lie with the gnat orchestrated catchiness of Antichrist or Pentagram, you're better off avoiding this altogether. If you're new to the band, I strongly suggest starting at the beginning.

Familiar, yet Too Familiar - 76%

PaganWinter_44, February 19th, 2006

This album was the second black metal album I purchased. I owe a lot of respect to Gorgoroth for always achieving multiple musical stlyes within their albums. This album is average, at best.

The very beginning of this album makes you want to jump back in your seat. Normally, a band would use a two-minute ambient intro to their albums or a quote from a movie. Gorgoroth, however, usually decides to go in blasting and never look back. In other albums, like Destroyer, they have started out this way. "Procreating Satan" is an all-out blast fest. They go in and immediately manage to plow away as if their lives depended on it. A few minutes into the song, they go into a half-time feel and just keep repeating "Praise Satan" over and over again. Since when did Gorgoroth become Dark Funeral?

After their initial blasting, they begin to move into a darker and more melodic stage. The biggest surprise is the song "Teeth Grinding". The vocals in this song are actually understandable, and the guitars have a sense of melody and harmony, or as much harmony as can be found in metal. This is a surprise because Gorgoroth doesn't usually play in this style. It's an improvement, if you ask me.

This album's structure is nothing new. If you want an idea of how this album is, then just listen to Destroyer or any other album, then you'll have a sense. Gorogoroth is a band that feels the need to repeat themselves with their styles in the albums. For once, can someone change the usual? It is much appreciated when it comes, but rarely seen.

I only recommend this album to the ones who have never heard Gorgoroth. If you are a fan of them already, then it will not do much good to listen to this album, eventhough it is a decent album. The only problem is it is nothing new. If you're looking for originality, then you will not find it here.

One of the best examples of modern Black Metal - 98%

queen_cyanide, July 14th, 2005

This has to be one of the best albums of 2003.

Compared to their older material, Gorgoroth's "Twilight of the Idol's" has remarkably clear production - so if you're one of those people who will immediately dismiss a Black Metal release if you can actually hear what's going on, you may want to miss this one.

What captivated me with this album particularly is the vocal work done by Gaahl. There is a great deal of range and emotion portrayed here, and thanks to excellent production, is clearly brought out.

The album starts with "Procreating Satan" - introduced with crushing speed and haste, finalizing with the chant of "Praise Satan". It's a pretty quick song, but it's an instant anthem and excellent build-up to what the album has in store for the listener.

Overall, the riffs on this album are perfect - grim (for lack of a better word), dark, emotional, aggressive, melancholy and interesting. I expect many "tr00" BM fans may find the guitar work a little too catchy (or Death Metal inspired), but if you're open to dark sounding music then you'll definitely enjoy this.

For me personally, standout tracks include; "Procreating Satan", "Exit Through Carved Stones", "Teethgrinding", and "Of Ice and Movement".

The only reason I didn't give this album 100% was because of the instrumental. What the..?

Death metal meets gorgoroth - 60%

judasiscariot, October 23rd, 2004

Let me start by saying the first song is excellant, along with the 4th song. Other then that this album is pretty average. Heaps of palm muting riffs that sound like death metal along the lines of deicide (not really death metal but that's another story). The recording is pretty good considering its of a high production. Its pretty noisy/heaps of guitar distortion, which gives the impression of rawness yet the production is clear. The material is what lets this album down terribly. The riffs are boring, slow, sometimes heavy (goes against black metal). This album is one of those useless ones in my collection. I put it on the hear the two tracks I like and then put it away for a couple of months. If you really like Gorgoroth check it but beware it might not be what you expect. If you are not into black metal that much and want variety you may find this to be for you (espiecially if you like new darkthrone from panzerfaust onwards.
The picture on the front cover is good, but the music does not do it any justice. If you are interested in listening to the two good songs off this album I suggest you download them. Who buys an album for two good songs? I expect Gorgoroth to release a single to increase sales.

Surprisingly good! - 90%

BloodyPhalluses, October 7th, 2004

I found this album used in my local record shop, so I figured I'd give it a try. I've heard a lot about Gorgoroth lately, especially because of the whole trial surrounding Gaahl.

The blast beats start right from the beginning. No silly intros, no stalling, no slow starts... we're talkin mach 100 right off the bat. The guitars sound awesome, and Infernus is definitely one of the most talented black metal guitarists around. There are some really awesome dark melodies throughout this album. "Twilight of the Idols" is pure Norwegian black metal with pounding fast drums, and a nice thumping bass tone. Which leads me to my next point: the production. The production here is really well done. It's not overproduced like many black metal bands today, and you can hear each and all the instruments quite well.

Gaahls vocals are pure and hateful. He has a lot of variety in vocal syle. Sometimes there are effects, other times there aren't, sometimes its shrieking, sometimes growling, other times a sort of chant like sounding vocal style. Lots of variety to keep things interesting here on Gaahls part.

My favorite song is "blod og minne" which is a great fast song with some awesome guitar melodies at work. It's a great song to headbang to. In my opinion, the best on the album.

My only complaint here is that it is just way too short. I usually listen to it 3 times in a row simply because 30 minutes of black metal just isn't long enough. Then there is a 50 second outro song which sounds a lot like classical music being played on a really distorted synth set on a strange voicing.

Other than the short length of the album, I definitely recommend this CD to anyone who listens to Black Metal, and wants something that sounds great, but doesn't over-do it.

True Black Metal. Period. - 89%

MHITO, September 14th, 2003

It is of course unnecessary to stress the fact that the Black Metal scene has always brought forth violent and hateful individuals. But like so many others I thought that these things belonged to the murky depths of the 1990s. I was proven wrong when reports of “torture like violence” and “attempted manslaughter” reached me from (the now defunct) www.gorgoroth.com and other sources. Ghaal, the new vocalist, who had so brilliantly pushed Gorgoroth into the right direction music wise on the milestone “Destroyer”, had been arrested for acts of blind and furious violence. Knowing that a new album was under construction for several months and not wanting to wait too long for a follow up to the admirable “Incipit Satan” I kept my fingers crossed (upside down of course!). Hoping for a glitch in the Justice Department’s paperwork or some other technicality that could send this undoubtedly guilty demon back to the studio to finish what was started prior to his arrest.

And Lo and Behold! My prayers were answered!

And so it came to pass that the mighty Gorgoroth shat its latest piece of unholy excrement onto an ever unsuspecting world. And, oh fucking hell, what a caustic and spiteful piece of work it has become! Musically speaking you pretty much know what to expect and I won’t waste time by explaining to the ignorant the merits and prowess of TRUE NORGEWIAN BLACK METAL. From the fast opener “Procreating Satan” through the blindingly hypnotic “Teethgrinding” to the haunting outro “Domine in Virtute tua Laetabitur Rex” you’re being treated on the un-holiest of the unholy, the pinnacle of irreverence and absolute Darkness and Hate.

The sound reminds me of “Destroyer” in the sense of distortion and harmonic effects, but it’s certainly a bit “cleaner”. Still way to rough for the average “Dimmu Burger” fan though... The greatest improvement as opposed to other albums is the diversity of the vocals and the use of effects on them.
My only lament with this piece of art is the fact that it’s only 32 minutes short and with Ghaal probably heading for probation or perhaps jail there’s no saying how long it will take for the next album to see the light of day.

With Gorgoroth being one of the very few bands to actually still be playing Black Metal in this manner I’d say that it’s rightly time for someone to pronounce them the Kings of Black Metal! Let it be me!

(This review was originally written for http://www.lordsofmetal.nl and is republished with kind permission of the webmaster)

The Black Flame burns on... - 85%

Lord_Jotun, September 14th, 2003

Black Metal is dead, long live Black Metal!
This is all that can be said about this unique musical phenomenon. Black Metal is an undead genre which is continuosly reurrected into new and ever different forms not only by promising newcomers, but by the original creators of the scene itself. Albums like "666 International", "Grand Declaration Of War" or "Volcano" explain it better than a million words.
There are artists, however, who prefer to dig deeper in search of the musical roots of it all rather than climbing up to newly sprouting limbs. This is how albums like "Morbid Fascinations Of Death" and this "Twilight Of The Idols" are born.

Since their early manifestations in 1993, Gorgoroth have always incarnated an unique force among the angry underground metal scene in Norway. Combining simple but effective riffs, primitive arrangements and quite a high dose of brutality, their discography is really a journey through the multiple shapes of hatred. "Twilight Of The Idols", subtitled "In Conspiracy With Satan" as if to underline where the inspiration comes from, is the new chapter in this black book. Once again, the same old Black Metal, which is never the same and thus never old.

Musically the album is the logical fllow up to the band's previous output, "Incipit Satan", and the step forward is obvious, as the sound is much more cohesive and self-confident. The album kicks off with the bonecrushing speed of "Procreating Satan", a malevolent storm of infernal darkness to reassure any doubtful listener that Gorgoroth haven't forgotten where their quintessence lies. Yet, as the track proceeds, slower and more plodding tempos enter the soundscape, and so the nature of this new album is unveiled.

No, the faster assaults aren't definitely lacking - tracks like "Forces of Satan Storms", "Blod og Minne" and the vaguely Darkthronish "Of Ice and Movement" are there to satisfy your lust for pure aggression. The real surprise of "Twilight Of The Idols" is the abundance of mid tempos, which create a very sombre, malignant atmosphere without sacrificing power and drive. This is the spirit of a song like "Exit - Through Carved Stone", a masterpiece of heaviness and fury in slow motion, or the disquieting "Teeth Grinding". Yes, variety is the band's wild card this time around. With "Incipit Satan" Gorgoroth began to experiment, now they know and understand perfectly what they are doing. And they do it well.

Musically, the new line-up, once again a four piece, works extremely well; actually, the contribution of the newcomers is fundamental in creating this balance of classic and innovation which makes the new Gorgoroth sound so interesting. The production is also more appropriate and fits the music a lot better: I am used to harsh sounds but I still believe that parts of the previous album had been downright ruined by the "grim at all costs" sound.
No more room for taht here, luckily. King's bass is now clearly audible and even Infernus's axes have a more palatable distortion, making it easier to discern how interesting and varied those riffs are. Kvitrafn's drumming is more than appropriate, although some patterns could have been more developed - still, it's Gorgoroth we're talking about, a band whose music has always been known for its essential approach.
The real surprise comes from Gaahl's vocals. The band's latest vocalist simply shines here, showing an amazing range of expression which varies from song to song - from the classic ferocious screaming of the album opener to the murmuring narration on "Teeth Grinding" - , contributing to make the variety of the material even more apparent.

All in all, "Twilight Of The Idols's" is my favourite Gorgoroth release since "Under The Sign Of Hell", and I am sure it will be looked back upon as one of the band's most interesting offerings as time goes on. Definitely a great piece of Black Metal art. Recommended.