Gorgoroth - _Under the Sign of Hell_
(Malicious Records, 1997)
Osculum Infame - _Dor-Nu-Fauglith_
(Mordgrimm, 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (8.5 / 9 out of 10)
Cranky old-timer that I am, I must say I'm beginning to get weary of constantly having to come up with new ways of saying "Here we have yet another black metal album which offers nothing especially new or different -- but which still manages to be pretty gosh darn enjoyable when you're in the mood, as I often am, to savor the musical output of scowling young minstrels decked out in face paint and brandishing swords." Believe it or not, here we have two more releases which fit quite nicely into that ever-more-crowded category. Norway's Gorgoroth have always produced cool music, and their latest is no exception: stripped-down, totally unpretentious black metal with a killer garage vibe, enhanced by a loud, no-nonsense production that keeps everything sounding brash and abrasive, as this style most certainly should. Truth be told, I don't think this release quite matches up to the musical excellence of _Antichrist_ or the "We Are Totally Insane" vibes of their great debut, _Pentagram_. Still, it's got that unmistakable Gorgoroth feel, with the band's most in-your-face production yet, and it's hard to go wrong with a combination like that. Over on the more atmospheric end of the spectrum, you might also want to keep an eye peeled for Osculum Infame, who have put out what may end up being my favorite black metal release of 1997. This is not rude, crusty basement blasting in the Gorgoroth style; rather, it's "epic", long-winded black metal with varied pacing, outstanding keyboard work, lots of emotion and atmosphere, and a very somber, wintry feel. Pardon me if I refrain from trying to whip up a blizzard of additional descriptors; suffice it to say that the band's sound is fairly standard, all in all, while their skill in songwriting exceeds that of most of their "true unholy" peers. Rumor has it that the band has tried to keep this release way underground by refusing to let the bigger distributors stock it. In any case, I'd say this is definitely worth tracking down if you're in search of some authentic, moody, fairly traditional black metal composed and performed with real skill.

(article published 5/2/1998)

6/25/2006 J Smit Gorgoroth: Seasons in the Abyss
8/9/2008 J Smit 5 Gorgoroth - True Norwegian Black Metal
5/31/2006 J Smit 9 Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
6/17/2003 J Smit 8 Gorgoroth - Twilight of the Idols
9/1/1998 A McKay 9 Gorgoroth - Destroyer (Or About How to Philosophize With a Hammer)
8/12/1996 S Hoeltzel 9 Gorgoroth - Antichrist
12/7/2005 J Smit Gorgoroth / 1349 Twlight of the (Black Metal) Idols
3/5/2000 M Noll Morbid Angel / Gorgoroth / God Dethroned / Amon Amarth / Krisiun / Occult Formulas Fatal to Gorgoroth
10/1/1998 M Noll Einherjer / Old Man's Child / Gorgoroth / Cradle of Filth Doom Descends Upon Deutschland
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