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Paving hell with good intentions. - 68%

ConorFynes, May 10th, 2016

Despite the rep Gorgoroth get as the "standard" Second Wave band, you've got to give them credit for the number of times they attempted to push themselves in new directions. Then again, between the ways everyone from Immortal through Darkthrone reinvented themselves at the turn of the century, maybe it was fitting for the scene's darlings of averageness to reflect some innovation themselves.

Incipit Satan is arguably the first album from the "modern" incarnation of Gorgoroth, that being the first one fully fronted by the infamous Gaahl, as ghoulish and menacing a frontman as any there were. The band had been so unstable with the lineup that I'm surprised they made it to their fifth album. Antichrist and Destroyer both felt like patchwork efforts that fell short of their potential on the basis that Gorgoroth couldn't hold a stable lineup for long enough to bring things together. Of course, this incarnation crashed on the rocks within a few albums, but I do think the combination of Infernus' melodic bite with King's tight writing and Gaahl's grim authenticity made them interesting, if not always amazing.

Like Destroyer, Incipit Satan sounds like a collection of different approaches thrown into an album. Unlike its predecessor however, Gorgoroth managed to blend it together in a way that felt relatively coherent. Part of that stems from the production, which had felt underwhelming on the previous two albums but arrived on Incipit Satan sounding relatively sharp and vicious. The sense that Incipit Satan works as a start-to-finish album should distance it from too much comparison with Destroyer, but there is the similar sense that Gorgoroth were happy to take their sound in a number of directions. For pure songwriting's sake, "Incipit Satan" stands out, giving Immortal-sculpted riffs a fiercer Satanic energy. "Litani Til Satan" and "An Excerpt of X" even show them shedding speed for ritualistic atmosphere, and it's all to their credit.

Easily the biggest surprise is "When Love Rages Wild In My Heart". The song title almost sounds like something Joy Division would conjure up, and the association rings true here. After a black metal false opening, it goes into a strange blackened take on deathrock, complete with crooning clean vocals. Does the experiment work? Yeah, sort of, but it's the fact that Gorgoroth were willing to pull a curveball like that, that makes Incipit Satan more interesting than the black middle-of-the-road fare I first imagined it to be. Quite the contrary-- if Under the Sign of Hell was Gorgoroth's Pure Holocaust, this is their Grand Declaration of War. The resorts into trip-hop and industrial music (arguably filling the hole usually occupied in black metal by dungeon synths and spooky wolf howls) feel a bit forced, but it does manage to find common ground with the grim atmosphere that otherwise permeates the album.

Of course, this is a Gorgoroth album, so the album's got its share of less notable tracks. The ratio between "great" and "meh" is roughly the same as it was on Destroyer. What makes this one slightly better is the sense that the band audibly held their own throughout its making. Although it may not have the atmospheric depths of Pentagram or the razor riffs of Under the Sign of Hell, they did pretty well for themselves on Incipit Satan.

Gorgoroth - Incipit Satan - 90%

Orbitball, August 15th, 2013

Talk about black metal insanity within the realm of the extreme bands especially like Marduk on Panzer Division, but more variety exhibited here which gives the album more depth. Here we have a combination of amazingly orchestrated black metal frenzy that's apparent on every aspect of this album. If there's a true hell on Earth, this album reflects that killer type of vibe and just annihilates the listener with yes some experimental components and variety, not just a black metal album that's all about blast beats and you cannot hear the guitar too well because it's just a pure blur. Gorgoroth captures black metal on this album so transiently and fills it with such utter perfection.

Solid, crisp, melodic, intense, variability is apparent here and Gaahl just annihilating the scene with his utmost high-end screams which personifies a hellish demon of tronka that never loses it's extremity, Even when he's not spewing out lyrics, he's still screaming like a sheer madness and hatred towards mankind. A true album that one has to hear if you're a major fan of black metal played at its utmost finest. Even though the album starts off with craziness and black metal intensity, it mellows out on the latter tracks and becomes spoken word blasphemy mixed with moderate paced guitar work to back it up.

So yeah, what we have here in dissection of sheer brutality is black metal at it's utter demise and never to be replicated because of it's sheer Satanic hero-worship of the demons that lurk around in the afterlife. Gorgoroth blissfully captivates listeners because they're not afraid to reveal what they're all about. The guitars are like no other and the riffs just flow so well with the music it's like utter insanity; We may not know consciously what Gaahl is saying really when his spouts of blasphemic tone dynamites just as his high end screaming exasperates his heart fueled hatred upon the metal scene.

This album from start to finish never lets up in intensity and the music is so original and spellbinding. It is a true gem of an album just put on ear plugs obviously if you want to blare it out of your speakers. Really a domination within the black metal realm, Incipit Satan is an album never to be forgotten by this band. I don't think that any Gorgoroth album can ever duplicate a vibe so invigorating and captivating. It's truly a masterpiece in it's complexity and an dynamites your speakers causing utter blast in the speakers as well as your eardrums. This album is like no other in this scene, although Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas ranks up there too in utter black metal anti-Christianity and evil.

Experimental yes, but still driven with intensity no doubt. The guitars are a series of complexity and exoneration of brutality in riff writing that doesn't die out. Gaahl just overall makes the album more devilish by spewing out this utter evilness never to quit. Obliteration of mankind in a black metal realm. Guitars so much like no other, their distorted tone is so full of crunchy riffs that mainly are melodic at times, yet still intense not only that but utterly captivating. At the beginning of the album you would think that oh no this is another black metal album that just is like pure noise. With Incipit Satan you have variety as previously stated. Variety on vocals, guitar and synthesizers.

Overall damn good 36 minute black metal deception and Christ at the mercy of death because this band just rips your ears apart exposing the weak to overall deathly sounding outputs we will say instead of just songs. I would call them amazing outputs because you're not getting much else here, you're getting evilness upon the extinction over mankind. They don't want to let up either, they just blast you away most of the time and keep you within the realms of hell and demonic hatred. The band gives us it all, with no deceptions just exaggerations of utter unconventional kind of chemistry that's omitted when you have this album. Get it, it worth it's wait in hell to hear a blasphemous and relentless nemesis of utter apocalyptic end of humanity as it exasperates.

Incipit………………………………………… Satan - 85%

OzzyApu, July 14th, 2009

Hearing this album straight through from the first track doesn’t help give quite an open impression, so I recommend this to you: hear the last track, have a good laugh, and then go hear the rest of the album. You could call this by far Gorgoroth’s most experimental work, but I feel that it mingles just fine with the later recordings thanks to Infernus’ trademark style of sinister showmanship. Say what you want about Micky Faust and his fat-ass Elvis impression (I find it hilarious), but hearing that first tremolo riff (the one accompanying Faust’s vocal introduction) is like taking a spear to the heart; it sounds so evil, vile, despicable, and heartless that you know this is Gorgoroth bringing Satan ‘round the mountain.

All over the album I hear some of the most perilous riffs fluttering like locusts (tremolo), building up into a colossal wave (akin to later albums), and actually nailing melodic death metal without becoming contrived. Gorgoroth on this release become more of an idea rather than an entity – they don’t belong in one tangible form, but shape themselves accordingly to trial and error. If they fuck up, they can go back and fix themselves within seconds – no points knocked off, no paparazzi, no strikes against them, nothing. The process becomes more fluid and less focused / attentive while still remaining something that isn’t shy of our perception.

For instance, “An Excerpt Of X” is merely a catalyst towards a feeling… an invigorating mood that forms a connection between the listener and not Gorgoroth… but a collective set of ideas that we can only think about. The second that song ends, we are thrust back into a world we know, a world we live in, a world that feels less special because it doesn’t always seem as serene as that song. This isn’t Gorgoroth with the sick riffs and sadistic attitude like in the 90s, but in comparison this seems more like a set of tracks that would split the band apart.

There’s definitely a distinguishing feature here – everything was done on purpose for a reason: the type of vocals performed, the way the guitars churn in a grindy fashion, why bass is at its jazziest, and so forth. Infernus can only give you a real answer, but I’ll just say that it was done to give another face to black metal. Sure, you can probably outwit me on this one, but the point is that we’re meant to react to this kind of music a certain way. Many people feel differently about certain albums, even if they like it, but Incipit Satan binds us in only one scripted form. We’re meant to listen to it a certain way, interpret it a certain way, and praise it a certain way. Does it not make sense that King and Gaahl took inspiration for the two subsequent albums from this album? All they had to do was take the same aspects and strip it of any free range. Notice the two King and Gaahl albums sound most akin to this album by far, and I believe it’s because both of them found a way to exploit this direction. I mentioned that this album could be looked at as one that has the potential to split the band apart – guess I wasn’t too far off on that (even though there’s much more to it).

Regarding the regular instruments (guitars, bass, drums), the culmination isn’t too instigating. It’s the arrangements and nature that keep us in check so that we don’t go judging this album the wrong way. “Will To Power” on one end just sounds like a waste of time, but if that’s someone’s line of thinking then they wasted their time looking for the wrong resolutions. Guitars have this intriguingly distorted pitch that chew up the playing field like barbed wire – very sharp, crispy, and wicked. To me, the sound of the guitars here are more twisted than on the debut; they aren’t cold, but they’re done right and with more cynical consequences. I can’t blame King either on his bass lines, which sound incredible as they sit opposite of Infernus; they sound chunky, fat, and inquisitive amongst Infernus’ more warped playing. If anything, he brings in more of a finishing blow, since the distorted guitars have a ton of bite…but less of a bark. Guess that’s what King is good at… blowing.

Gaahl’s singing reminds me of Kvarforth in how he does anything but sing in a familiar way. His style hear is very unpolished and unfocused, but more expressive than on the others. You’ll get to hear his nasty screams, but he also caters to other vocal forms from speaking to grunting. Infernus kind of has a vocal role, but its limited to just speaking – surprisingly, it goes well and adds this very supernatural touch to its respective song, “An Excerpt Of X.” Micky Faust I found to be the shit because I rarely get to hear such cheesy vocals in black metal. The song itself is a lesser form of black ‘n roll, but he doesn’t seem out of place at all. Drumming I can describe all day on how supportive it is, but it plays the least important role in the music. In fact, it sounds quieter in the mix than anything else (aside from the double bass), though I think it fits better this way. If the riffs go berserk, drumming does the same; if the rhythm prods along, then the drums have some form to fall back on.

Wow, what a read; you’re bound to get confused by at least one sentence up there. If anything, just check out the album and listen with open ears. Don’t go in hoping for Pentagram - Part II or a contender against Under The Sign Of Hell. Nay, this is a Gorgoroth that wishes for simple respect and shows little desire to compete with the other albums

Insipid - 58%

marktheviktor, June 3rd, 2009

You hear that cliche 'too many chiefs, not enough Indians.' Actually, since we're talking about Gorgoroth here, a more appropriate way of saying it could be 'too many Odins and not enough beserkers'. In any variation, it's an old saying but a good one to describe some of the band's output in the last ten or so years and in particular, Incipit Satan.

This is one of those strange albums that I liked when I heard it the first time and then could have sworn I heard something else the second time but not so much in an all bad way. I think it's because Gorgoroth has always sounded so consistent prior to this album. I would describe this record as an interesting misfire. Technically, Destroyer the debut album for Gaahl in the band and since I wouldn't be alone in viewing that full-length as little more than a glorified compilation album, Incipit Satan can be better looked back upon as the one where Gaahl is better evaluated on. As stated before about the directional issues on here, it doesn't surprise me that a tribal falling out would later ensue with this band because this album sounds awkwardly experimental in some places and comfortably black metal-ish in others.

The song called Incipit Satan is not very good at least for a beginning track. It actually sounds more closer to a death metal song than black metal. Gaahl even does pure death growls in the middle of it. The riffing is slower and there are a couple different sets of power chords chugging along to predictable beats. Sersjant Erichsen was brought in for this record and he's alright but I miss the beast blasting of Frost or Grim. Erichsen is more of a death metal drummer and that's probably one of the reasons why they used him here.

After that then comes the track A World to Win which made me go "yeah, now this is more like it!" I am an avowed Deströyer 666 fan and this song sounds very much like something from them. This still isn't typical Gorgoroth but that's perfectly alright if they can play this kind of stuff too! If you ever see this band live, watch out for this track. It's an essential live cut and one of the reasons why Gorgoroth led by Infernus and Tormentor is preferred but kudos to King Ov Hell for doing a fantastic job in writing the bass lines for this song because FOR ONCE the four strings play an integral part in giving a great black metal song much power in contributing. A World to Win is the tall and confident standout track on an otherwise wandering-around-lost album and as it so happens, the song is one of the band's finest moments too.

A World to Win is motivating but you can chalk the next song into the loss column. Gaahl is a good vocalist and front man. Litani Til Satan serves as little more than a showcase for his deadpan delivery and coldness. It's a very industrial tinged song. It sounds like Gorgoroth trying to do Rammstein. The only part I like about it is the cutting slow drum beat that guides the track.

I didn't quite know what to make of Unchain My Heart but after many more listens, I think this song is pretty damn horrendous once you get down to it. It starts out with a brief old saloon style piano part that tries to be ominous but is cheesy. The first stanza once the aggression blasts out hints at more of their ordinary sound but then the song quickly goes to complete shite! It contains pinch harmonics timed in which is a big no-no in black metal even if the black metal album flirts with industrial and death metal at times. You would do well to just get forget this song ever happened. The people upstairs at Nuclear Blast probably had something to do with encouraging it but shame on whoever thought it up. The track really stinks up the joint.

It's a rollercoaster ride, this album. Unchain My Heart was the vomit inducing turn in case you had to ask. An Excert of Ex brings things back to higher ground and reason, thank Satan. This is purely an Infernus track. It's beautifully morose and depressive side trip even if it doesn't help bring a consistent tone to the record. Then comes Ein Eim Av Blod Og Helveteslid. Awesomely brutal, this is easily the most identifiable black metal style that Gorgoroth plays but it also reminded me of the songs found on King's solo outting Jotunspor. I think King originally wrote the chaotic structures for the Gleipnirs Smeder album of Jotunspor and then some more traditional Gorgoroth speeds were added along with Gaahl's frightening screams. At least that is how it sounds. The drums cleverly start out with some death rolls and Sersjant then kicks into Norwegian black metal blast beats galore.

If Unchain My Heart was the skip-it track then Will to Power is the forget-it track. It's an electronica (read writer's block) piece that's phoned in as if someone dialed up Maniac and asked if they could borrow something left out of Grand Declaration of War.

The record ends with an unusual but mostly good song(that dreadful pinch rears it's unwelcomed head again though, fuck!!). The opening Celtic Frost-y riff is salivating! The riffs keep it going well throughout the heart of the cut and it ventures into the upbeat territory. Michael Krohn of the Oslo rock band Raga Rockers does the vocals on the track. It's pure clean style singing that sounds like Leonard Cohen. This song is called When Love Rages Wild in My Heart and it's the only pure experimental track that works on the album. At least they got it right in the end-for the most part.

Incipit Satan contains one of Gorgoroth's best songs (A World to Win) and one of their worst (Unchain My Heart). There's two maybe three other good songs on here. If you put the LP on a scale though, the balance is left hanging and the needle finally rests on failure. Besides the lack of hegemony, I'm not sure what went wrong here. Perhaps the band took too much time to write and record this. Maybe there was even too much experience between them. Sometimes that can work against you in a new lineup.

Experimental - 88%

thammaren, October 5th, 2008

Gorgoroth have never been an open minded group, they have always stuck to brutal Norwegian black metal. Even though this album has many noise and industrial elements thrown into the mix, Gorgoroth still remains "True".

The title track "Incipit Satan" is one of Gorgoroth's heaviest songs, and a great way to open an album. Like all of Gorgoroth's songs, the vocals are completely indecipherable, except the two words "Incipit Satan!" which clearly highlights Gorgoroth's message; Gorgoroth have really never been about the music.

The album's other songs are a lot of the same, same structure, same everything, though "Ein Eim av Blod og Helvetesild" was very interesting, as well as "An Excerpt of X" which features Infernus' vocals. At first I was worried that "Unchain My Heart!!!" was a cover of the Ray Charles song, but it is actually the third best track on the album, after "Ein Eim av Blod og Helvetesild" and "When Love Rages Wild In My Heart".

The last song on the album is "When Love Rages Wild In My Heart". Neither Gaahl nor Infernus sing on it. The vocals are in a conventional rock style, sung by someone credited as Mickey Faust. Though some Gorgoroth fans will reject it as being "not heavy enough", this song is actually the darkest song on the record. A great way to wrap up a black metal album.

Gorgoroth have always loved to shock, and confuse, and create fear. Ways that they have done so on "Incipit Satan" are quite obvious to me, just looking at the song names. They have long used Satan's names in their music as something of an advertisement, so they will receive more media coverage and so real Satanist people will pay to see their live shows. What's more, many of their song titles are in Norwegian, which gives quite a mysterious feel to the music.

Overall Incipit Satan's good points outweigh the bad. If only every Gorgoroth album was this good. This black metal album was one of the first of the new millennium, and is certainly one of the best.

Incipit Courage - 89%

Henceforth, May 14th, 2006

A bold album above many, specially for a band so 'underground' appealing as Gorgoroth. This is most definetely their most experimental and alien sounding work. It's quite brave to make such an album... and it's a good album, let me tell you why.

This album contains a rather mediocre production. Someone forgot King Ov Hell, bass gets smothered in the music. But after the nice riffing, you'll forget about it. The music is clean, the vocals arent to sunk into the sound. Yeah, yeah, the last track is strange, the bass sound seems unaudible, but overall it's a good, strong work.

Incipit Satan: The title track comes in first, pounding and straight to your face. Complete with fast, consistent drum work. A few breakdowns throughout structure, with some electronic effects around the one minute mark before it starts again... The vocals are good/decent, and together with a set in the chorus sound nice.

A World To Win: My second favorite from this album. It has probably the best guitar riff on Incipit Satan, galloping throughout the song untill it reaches this solo-ish nature towards a pseudo blastbeat. The vocal work is slower [take that however you want, some say BM vocals are supposed to be incomprehensible]

Litani Til Satan: This song... it's slower and ballad-like. It resembles the name clearly 'Litany For Satan' it seems as a bit of a prayer. The vocal work is plain and spoken; It has a few growling intromissions. It's a lyric focus song, so the instruments are boring and monotonous

Unchain My Heart! ! !: My favorite song on this Incipit Satan album. It starts with a piano/electronic sound intro. Vocals kick in with a roaring scream, mid/fast paced drumming with some breakdown, the guitar continues steady, even though bass has no prominence in the album, the pedal drums are decent. It's a rather echlectic song.

An Excerpt Of X: Dont expect metal to start anytime soong... a long guitar/sample song, compared to the others [5:50, longest in Incipit Satan]. Again, resembling Litani Til Satan, with a few samples here and there.

Fin Eim au Blod Og Helvetesild: Brutal song, 'blackmetalest' in the album. Gorgoroth's Destroyer style, you could say. This song, drumming, guitar work, vocal work [and i assume that the unaudible bass too] pour down like a rain of spears. Excellent for die hard violent black metal. Accurately, the shortest, due to it's brutality.

Will To Power: You may wonder 'What the fuck is this?!' it's not a song anyway... it's several industrial noises with a few samples. A must skip, unless you expect the same throbbing sound.

When Love Rages Wild In My Heart: This song starts with some eerie sounds. It looks up like a metal song up to the 1:10 minutes... when a strange Deathrock like voice kicks in... a deep voice, [to some it sounds like Elvis, to me it's Sisters of Mercy], Here, apparently the only song where bass makes an appearence [at laaast!!]. Excellent riff around the 3 minutes. It's a good, well built experimental song. Song which makes them true owners of a bold, courageous status. At the 4th minute, a more epic air begins to blow. It's got decent drum work, good vocal work, accurate riffing.

incipit satan - 95%

vorth, March 5th, 2005

I haven't heard "Under the Sign..." or "Destroyer", I admit, but I can't imagine that any of these releases would be better and more interesting than this one. "Incipit Satan" is full of experiments, which makes this album so unusual and interesting. Every song here brings something new, but it’s not a matter of different riffs - it brings something new to Gorgoroth and even to black metal. I don't know any other release of this kind, I would love to know...

"Incipit Satan" has its own sound, based on heavy, fuzzy guitars, that play sometimes simple, but sometimes complicated riffs, melodies or just make noise. Bass is rather hard to hear, so I can't say what is it like. Drums play either extremally fast or slowly. Vocals range from great, wild growls to clean, spoken or sung quotes (I can't name it, actually) and they make a very strong point of the album.

"Incipit Satan" - variety of songs. We have more typical "Incipit Satan" or "A World to Win" here, though both of them have electronical moments in them. We can also hear here few concept songs, like maybe simple but very effective "Litani til Satan", great and different "An Excerpt of X" or "When Love Rages Wild in my Heart" - a song that is definitively not a black metal one. We can find here also an industrial\electro\whatever track - "Will to Power".

The whole album is spectacular at least for me, and though I hadn't heard it for a long time, when I returned to it I was amazed by it. Generally - "Incipit Satan" is for everybody that likes black metal that evolves and turns to something new - something fresh. I would even say that if black metal cannot go the path Emperor or Naglfar, my favourites, have gone, it should go this way.

Interesting.... - 85%

Black_Metal_Bastard, February 1st, 2005

Don't get me wrong, I love Gorgoroth, but I just wanna know one thing. Who the fuck is that singing on When Love Rages Wild in My Heart????? It sounds like an evil Elvis. And what the fuck kind of song title is that, especially for a band like this??

Anyway, this album is very experimental. There is a lot of samples and keyboards. The song Will to Power is nothing but weird noises and a little bit of techno, but not techno like you're thinking. The guitars also sound a lot like traditional metal at times, but that is not a bad thing. The riffs are excellent, especially in A World to Win. The opening song, the title track, is very much your typical Black Metal, but with some extra things added in, i.e. noises, a weird break in the middle with just synths and samples. I can't really say this is bad, because I really like this song.

Gaahl's vocals aren't piled up with effects either like on their latest, Twilight of the Idols, and he sounds really vicious on this album. Litani Til Satan is a very heavy, slower paced song, with Gaahl's vocals consisting of him doing spoken word in German. A very interesting song. Unchain My Heart has some really catchy riffs.

The drumming is at times fast as hell, and other times it is slow, but they are always catchy and technical at points. A lot of cool fills are thrown in on the songs. I especially like the drumming on the title track and A World to Win. The bass is mostly inaudible, sadly.

Overall this is a good album, and not as bad as some have said. I really like it. This may not be 100% true Black Metal, but it is a very good release from this legendary Norwegian Black Metal horde.