Gorgoroth – Incipit Satan (2000) Album Review

This may sound sick but i don’t think Satan is such a bad guy, after all, giving us such beautiful raw and very blasphemous music, this is more life a gift of kindness. Gorgoroth is yet another one of those black metal bands that strikes fear. Unlike Mayhem, or the other black metal band in the underground scene, they created some of the most aggressive, blasphemous (not only through their works, but also through their image) and violent music but at the same time, some of the most appreciate black metal albums.

Mayhem is the name that created the black metal sound that we hear today from bands like Gorgoroth and many more, but Gorgoroth also deserve credits for several notable creations. Albums such as Pentagram (1994), Antichrist (1996), Under The Sign of Hell (1997), Incipit Satan (2000) and especially Twilight of the Idols (2003) are works that received positive critics from metal fan and also from people that are not used with the raw side of metal.

Unlike Mayhem, Gorgoroth did not involved themselves in the Norwegian church burnings that took place at the beginning of the 90s until middle 90s. They stood calm, without much media attention and produced 5 albums in less than 6 years. Gorgoroth is well known for their elaborate and controversial stage performances where they do not hesitate to expose sheep and pig heads placed on stakes and crucified models on stage alongside with use of animal blood or fake blood (not talking about corpse paint since this is common for the majority of the black metal bands).

Gorgoroth became notorious after their 2004 concert in Poland where they filmed a DVD. Their elaborate stage performance was considered by the polish authorities as an injury addressed towards the church and Christianity (reminding you guys that Poland is actually a catholic country). The reason why the band did not release so many albums after 2000 in contrast with their works in the mid and late 90s is because of the problems that they had with the law and with the authorities in different countries and also with internal conflicts notably between the original band member Infernus and other two band members, Gaahl (vocals) and King ov Hell (bass).

Incipit Satan though cannot be considered a raw black metal album. Unlike Gorgoroth’s previous albums, they did some experiments in this one with some industrial metal influences which can be felt in songs such as A World to Win the second and probably one of the best soundtracks of this album and also on Litani til Satan the third track of this album (a song where Infernus prefered to use lyrics from the famous French poet, Charles Baudelaire). The album begins with the song Incipit Satan which features lyrics written by Gaahl, their former vocalist and music written by Tormentor.

Unlike the other two songs, Incipit Satan begins raw and it stays true to the typical black metal traits, unconventional song structure, powerful and fast tempo riffs, blast drum beats and fine bass lines. However, the song maintains some melodic influences felt especially at the middle of the song. Gaahl’s voice does a remarkable job, from doing typical shrieked voice to powerful growls that would wake even the dead.

The 4th track Unchain My Heart!!! is probably the weakest song from their album. It begins with a piano solo which in my opinion could’ve been overlooked or avoided and then it explodes with typical blast drum beats and fast tempo guitar riffs like most of Gorgoroth’s songs. In contrast with other songs, this one is way too repetitive and it struggles to maintain some melodic traits without much success. It also features additional vocals played by Tormentor. For an album meant to venture in experiments, it is a commendable thing, but the fact that it failed with this song remains a fact.

After Unchain My Heart comes another favorite of mine An excert of X the 5th track, which tends to be less rawer than the other songs, it introduces once again some industrial metal elements and it features Infernus doing all instrument parts and also vocals (probably one of the few songs where you don’t hear screams or growls.

The 6th track Ein Eim av Blod og Helvetesild once again features Gaahl at vocals and music written by both Infernus and Tormentor. It is also the most shortest song from this album and a lot more laid down compared to other soundtracks (i.e. Incipit Satan or A World to Win). The 7th track, Will to Power features synthesizer sounds this time and once again, a song where the vocalist does not scream. This album ends the same way like it began with once again, a raw black metal soundtrack, the 8th track, When Love Rages Wild In My Heart featuring Michael Krohn as vocalist in Gaahl’s place (a weird title for such a brutal black metal band).

All in all, if you consider yourself a fan of the black metal wave, then don’t miss listening to this album. It is not just mere raw black metal, it maintains a certain degree of melodic elements and it also incorporates industrial metal elements. By far, the plus in this album gets the songs Incipit Satan and A World to Win, some of the most notable songs from their albums. Gorgoroth is definitely a band that contributed heavily with their records to the development of the black metal scene. With this album, they definitely secured a place among the most important and influential black metal bands in Norway, alongside many other names.

Overall Impression: 90/100