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Cliché, but still has a certain charm - 87%

Feast for the Damned, October 12th, 2019

I have to point out one thing before I start: I don't like Gorgoroth at all, I really don't. That was the main reason why I didn't want to review/listen to any of their albums, but since one of my friends asked me to review them I had to put aside my dislike for the band and give this album a couple of listens. I wouldn't say I'm happy I did, but I must admit that this album deserves most of the praise it gets (although I wouldn't go as far as calling this one of the greatest black metal albums of all time).

So how would I describe the sound of the album? Darkthrone with better production (not necessarily a good thing) and with a gremlin on vocals instead of an undead warlord. As bad as it might sound it actually works. The vocals delivered by Hat are truly hateful, grim, scary and... you get the idea. He hits some weird notes for sure, so much so that I was actually concerned about the condition of his vocal cords, but in the end, they are probably the main reason why I liked this album.

The guitar riffs, for the most part, are your usual tremolo nonsense with no particular stand out parts other than 1 song (but more on that later), but somehow they still manage to keep the songs going with their repetitive nature (which in the case of black metal, is useful usually). Few songs even wonder to the melodic black metal regions, but obviously, they don't over-do it. The sound of the drums is pretty "meh" for me. They don't sound good, but they aren't irritating either.

The one song that caught me off-guard was (Under) The Pagan Megalith which turns into a full-blown black/thrash song halfway through. Surprisingly, it fits well with the rest of the album even though I wasn't expecting the vocals to go well with it. Probably the most memorable song out of the more traditional black metal style songs is Crushing the Scepter (Regaining a Lost Dominion). It has the best vocal performance in my opinion and the slowed-down riffs help the song have a larger impact before it goes berserk with the additional layer of guitars and even more pissed off goblin sounds.

While the album is consistent for the most part, I still don't like everything about it. I must admit that it's nicely balanced in almost every direction, but the droning tremolo riffs sometimes going a bit too far and ending up being slightly boring (but then again, this only happens like once or twice). I'm still mixed on the drums, but the production bothers me a lot more since it's not consistent on the entire album.

Overall, I don't think there is anything more I could say about this record. It isn't flawless (in my opinion to say at least), but it is a damn good 2nd wave album and probably the highlight of the band's discography (although I sure hope it won't get a lot worse than this).

The highlight of the album is Crushing the Scepter (Regaining a Lost Dominion).