Gorgoroth – “Instinctus Bestialis” (Soulseller Records)
Named after the grim, dark plains of Mordor, Gorgoroth’s reputation and music are even more fearsome that many could hope to imagine! Formed during the early 90s in the evil heart of black metal central i.e. Bergen, Gorgoroth’s hate filled legions have included at one time luminaries such as Samoth of Emperor and Frost of Satyricon, as well as infamous members King ov Hell and Gaahl (all not without their own controversies!) thus making the band one of the most worshiped in the circles of underground black metal, despite being one of the few to be on major labels!! In keeping to his openly fierce Satanic beliefs and uncompromising vision, founder guitarist Infernus has seen his band go through it all, from prison terms served to their most controversial gig in Poland, leading the band to be dropped by Nuclear Blast, but not before massive media attention led to an increase in both notoriety and record sales for this already cult band. Impressively recruiting ex Obituary bassist Frank Watkins – rebaptised Bøddel – and ex Dissection drummer Thomas Asklund in recent times, Gorgoroth’s music and technical capability have stepped up significantly, but most importantly without any wimping out whatsoever, thus making them the most sought after original Norwegian black metal band around these days. With longtime vocalist Pest being kicked out in 2012, Atterigner of the Serbian band Triumfall now completes the inner circle on this 10th album. Musically, Gorgoroth’s sound matches their personae and reputation perfectly – hate filled war metal refined to sadistic perfection and played by superior musicianship making this the pure essence of evil. Going beyond traditional black metal to include the darkest elements of death and other extreme metal, songs like ‘Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus’, ‘Burn in His Light’ and ‘Kala Brahman’ reflect intellectual as well as emotional composition, not to mention considered arrangements to allow greater reach and appreciation of Gorgoroth’s gargantuan sound. Atterigner’s bestial growls suit the eight menacing tracks magnificently, and far better in comparison to traditional cat screeching, while Infernus’s own ultra heavy n malevolent riffing bring forth terror in no small measure. The album also has guest guitarists who definitely add their worth in classical guitarwork, quiet brooding pieces and some excellent soloing all of which add to the richness and certainly the darkness of this album. With Bøddel’s rumbling bass definitely giving the album a bottom heavy sound, Asklund’s nuclear drum work – which at times is even faster than with Dissection – leaves little doubt that Gorgoroth’s conquest is only set to go on longer to increasing international acclaim. Self produced by Infernus & Asklund with some exquisite Hieronymus Bosch artwork, “Instinctus Bestialis” is without question one of this year’s black metal albums.