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Tear the wings of the angel! - 88%

svartsind, October 4th, 2004

Push play at your own peril. The first track on this album must be one of the most insane black metal songs ever. The opening 20 seconds of this track is like driving 200 mph in the wrong lane, not that I have ever tried driving a car, but I imagine it being close to this experience.

If you wish for distorted guitars like the ones on Gorgoroth’s other releases you’ll be disappointed. Not for the absence of them, but for the fact that people don’t make this kind of black metal any more. “Destroyer”, as the song is aptly named, is an ugly song, and the album is also an unpleasant acquaintance, though in my eyes that is just a flattering remark.
The albums itself spans over 4 years of Gorgoroth’s celebrated career (from 1994-199, something that explains the vast horde of musicians appearing on this “compilation” (I believe there are a total of nine different sets of fingerprints on this record), and the songs are therefore very varied, both when it comes to style and when it comes to quality. Overall, the album is still a typical Gorgoroth release, as it combines the extremely competent almost light-speed guitar-work that is the trademark of Infernus and the other stringmen, and the lovely melodic parts that makes the crushing brutality of songs like “Destroyer” appear almost unnecessary.

My personal favourites are “Destroyer”, “Open the Gates” and “The Virginborn”. As mentioned before, “Destroyer” is one hell of a beast. It speeds by as falling church masonry. A thing that gorgoroth has done on their later albums, and an idea that I support wholeheartedly. Why start an album with a lame two-minute ambient piece, or with some (cheesy) film-quotes, when you can just give the listener a minor head trauma? An interesting note about this song is that current vocalist Gaahl, made his first Gorgoroth appearance on this track (as far as I know). This song is therefore in some way a glance into the future of the band. “Open the Gates” and “The Virginborn” have an entirely different line-up, namely Infernus, Tormentor, Vrolok, Ares and Pest (these songs must then be from the period around “Antichrist” and “Under the Sign of Hell”), and are a huge step from the likes of “Destroyer”. The songs are much slower, and in these songs Gorgoroth shows that they have more to them than meets the eye. Actually these songs are so soothing and melodic that apart from the vocals this almost sounds like music that most people would be able to accept. Luckily Pest destroys any hopes of that, with his evil high-pierced voice described how Jesus lies dead at his feet.
As you may have figured, this is not merely a brutal black metal album about Satanism, war and u-boat sounds (!?). This is a political and religious manifesto, an open attack on Christianity, and its enslaved pawns.

Sadly, Gorgoroth will not print their lyrics for various reasons, one being that they do not want bands to cover them, so if you don’t understand the words, then it’s simply tough luck. This is a bit odd considering that they cover Darkthrone’s “Slottet I Det Fjerne”, but let’s leave that for another time, and just respect the band's wishes. From what you can salvage, Gorgoroth’s famous philosophical side (look at “Antichrist” for an instance), is still being nurtured, and Infernus & co. has always tried to show the listener that this is not only musical compositions, but is in fact works of art, in which the band tries to take a stand.

Gorgoroth has always had an enormous sense of originality, and only the band member’s solo-projects manage to make something remotely close to this beast. Pest’s Obtained Enslavement, or to some degree Orcustus, is close, but this is the magnum opus. “Destroyer or About How to Philosophise With the Hammer “ is truly Gorgoroth’s finest hour, if you have the time, try to find room to enjoy this tour de force, but take your time, and I’ll dare promise that you’ll not be disappointed with this album. Enjoy!