Norwegian black metal band Gorgoroth were formed in Bergen back in 1992 by guitarist Roger “Infernus” Tiegs, a theistic Satanist. The band’s material has thus been based upon the religious and philosophical beliefs of Infernus.
Gorgoroth have been involved in controversies during their career, including problems with the authorities in Poland over a concert performed in Kraków that featured Satanic symbols, naked “crucified” models on stage and copious amounts of sheep’s blood.
Former vocalist Kristian “Gaahl” Espedal served nine months in prison for assault in 2002, whilst Infernus himself was imprisoned in 2006 for four months for the oddly defined crime of gross negligent rape.
The band has had numerous members throughout their career, with Infernus being the only constant. Former vocalist Thomas “Pest” Kronenes has been a member of the band twice, from 1995 until 1998 and again from 2008 until his sacking in 2012.
Additionally Gaahl and former bassist Tom “King Ov Hell” Visnes attempted to oust Infernus from the band in 2007, which resulted in a court battle for the band name, which was eventually won by Infernus two years later, leading Gaahl and King Ov Hell to rename their new line-up as God Seed.
During this period there was also a legal battle over the release of “True Norwegian Black Metal – Live in Grieghallen”, a live-in-the-studio album on which Infernus had removed King Ov Hell’s bass parts and replaced them with his own!
Somehow, in amongst all comings and goings and legal issues, the band also released nine studio albums between 1994, when their debut “Pentagram” was unleashed and 2011, which saw the release of “Under The Sign Of Hell 2011” – a somewhat inexplicable re-recording of 1997’s third album “Under The Sign Of Hell”.
Following Pest’s dismissal in 2012, Infernus announced that Serbian vocalist Atterigner (of Serbian band Triumfall) would be contributing vocals to the band’s next album.
Recording sessions, with the line-up of Infernus, Atterigner, Swedish drummer Tomas Asklund and American bassist Frank “Bøddel” Watkins began midway through 2013 and were completed in December of that year. The record was mixed and mastered in the summer of 2014. June 2015, finally sees the release of album number ten, “Instinctus Bestialis”.
Right from the opening seconds this is intense and furious black metal that takes no prisoners. The production of this record lifts it’s sound above previous Gorgoroth offerings, moving further away from the low-fi sound of the early black metal bands and closer to the clear and powerful aural experience to be found with the likes of Behemoth these days.
There is no filler on this album and, at just over thirty one minutes in total, absolutely no fat. This is a killer black metal record, full of excellent riffs, very good individual performances and is a consistent and cohesive album from the opening seconds of “Radix Malorum” to the dying moments of the closing “Awakening”. That said, if pushed right now, I’d have to say that my favourite tracks here would have to be “Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus” with it’s glorious refrain of “Hail Satan!” and the excellent “Burn In His Light”. This might not be a classic black metal album, but it’s certainly a very good one!…
1. Radix Malorum / 2. Dionysian Rite / 3. Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus / 4. Come Night / 5. Burn In His Light / 6. Rage / 7. Kala Brahman / 8. Awakening