Reviews : Albums : Gorgoroth, "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam"

Gorgoroth, "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam"

Few bands outside Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir’s quasi-black metal domain have caused the level of metalhead polarization that Gorgoroth has. They are alternately idolizedby their fans, scorned as ‘untrue’ by their critics, or simply ignored by those with the good sense not to get involved in such conflicts.

Recent conflicts within the band (disgruntled departure of prominent songwriter and bassist King ov Hell, not to mention the impending prison sentence of vocalist Gaahl) coupled with rather emasculating rumors (pink toilet paper on tour) have not helped the band’s current profile, either.

The first single released from ‘Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam’, ‘Wound Upon Wound’, though, silenced many of those jeering voices. Though all their troubles, Gorgoroth have kept their focus, turning out a fiery beast of an album seething with acrimony. Building upon the militaristic march tempo found on much of ‘Twilight of the Idols’, Gorgoroth have signaled the charge and blast forward nearly uninterrupted from start to finish. For the recording of ‘Ad Majorem...’, Gorgoroth re-recruited the famed Frost to man the skins, and his powerful presence compliments the churning style of Gorgoroth’s battering ram (and also reminds some skeptics that Satyricon are no slums themselves, no doubt).

However impassioned, ‘Ad Majorem...’ sometimes fades to the background. Gorgoroth’s fuzzed guitars can be trance-inducing, and towards the second half of this album it becomes somewhat monotonous. Unduly so, as these eight tracks each are stand-alone works, fairly individual in tempo and style. Perhaps it is best, then, that this album barely cracks the half-hour mark. When taken individually, each track becomes more powerful and the layered subtleties can be better absorbed, particularly the venom of ‘Wound Upon Wound’, the wretched chaos of ‘White Seed’, or the surprising melancholy melody of 'Prosperity & Beauty'.

Despite nearly unending line-up changes, Gorgoroth’s sound has remained fairly constant throughout the years, encountering mild experimentation but still retaining the grim, Norwegian tenets that brought them to fame. Especially considering the, shall we say, ‘extra-curricular’ activities some members have engaged in and the general negative media atmosphere surrounding this group, they still produce very precise, uncompromising, and effective material. Recommended, one track at a time.

Standout Tracks

   Wound Upon Wound
   White Seed
   Prosperity & Beauty