Gorgoroth - _Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam_
(Regain Records, 2006)
by: Jackie Smit (
With arguably more attention being focused on their frequent and numerous run-ins with the long arm of Johnny Law, it's easy to forget that for the better part of fifteen years, Gorgoroth have been one of the underground's most silently influential forces. As far back as _Pentagram_ and _Antichrist_, they have been churning out the sort of relentless, serrated-edge riffing and chilling soundscapes that have now become commonplace in a new generation of so-called necro black metal bands. Whether or not they remain the undisputed masters of that craft is probably another matter entirely, but regardless of popular opinion, _Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam_ (their first for Regain and the follow-up to 2003's hugely impressive _Twilight of the Idols_) serves up a deafening message in no uncertain terms that these grizzled Norsemen are not about to let their artistic credibility slide down the proverbial totem pole anytime soon.With Satyricon's Frost handling drumming duties, "Wound Upon Wound" starts off _AMSG_ with the same overpowering sense of malice as "Procreating Satan" did on its predecessor. In unmitigated contrast to his disappointingly muted efforts on _Now, Diabolical_, Frost unchained is nothing short of glorious: confidently technical, uncannily intuitive and almost always bordering on a speed of mach five, his carpet-bombing style serves as a welcome and effective addition to Gorgoroth's already impressive arsenal. "Carving a Giant" harks back to the hypnotic grinding of _Destroyer_, underpinned as it is by an almost militant backbeat. In contrast, "God Seed" ratchets up the speed quotient again, this time delving even further back to more traditional black metal melodies, though by no means sounding dated.As has been the case time and again with Gorgoroth, it's over far too soon, and eight tracks spanning just over a half an hour are all we're granted for our three year wait. Then again, that could well be the point. After all, to steal a pun, philosophizing with a hammer was never meant to be carried out across a lengthy expanse of pompous, cartoonish fretboard wankery, and the seventh chapter in Gorgoroth's impressive discography definitely strikes out in a most inexorable manner. Jon Nödtveidt would do well to take lessons.
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