Pentagram/Antichrist/Under the Sign of Hell
Regain Records 2007
I normally don't review represses and old albums but this time I am making an exception since these three albums are some of the best to ever come out of the Norwegian scene and represent the three greatest albums from this legendary band. Regain has seen fit to remaster and rerelease the first three Gorgoroth CDs which is a good thing. They come with nice fold out posters of the album covers but other than that there is no additional liner notes or pics or anything.
Pentagram: One of the albums that for me defined the early 90s Nordic style of icy coldness with its trebly thin guitars and epic atmosphere. Pentagram is one of the best black metal albums of all time and has made it on to my top 20 list due to its incredible riffing and the insane shrieks from Hat's hellish throat. Katharinas Vortgang blazes along with minimalist intensity and then slams out the most mind-jarringly kick-ass drum breaks in the world. Under the Pagan Megalith cruises ferociously and then at the 1:30 mark surges into a maniacal thrash breakdown. Maaneskyggens Slave is my favorite song though as it combines some of the most inventive riff combinations with drumming insanity. The way it cuts from a blistering black metal barrage into an icy gale force blast of frost covered mayhem at the 2:08 minute mark and then explodes again only to swirl like snow flurries from one passage to the next. It drives me insane with delight. Throughout this album there are explosions of unbridled black metal ferocity. To this day, listening to Pentagram fills me with excitement and as an album it has few equals.
Antichrist: Their too short (25 minutes) follow-up to their monumental debut, this release picked up where Pentagram ended but with a thicker and harder sound overall with a more streamlined and focused songwriting. This albums sounds more mature in comparison to Pentagram but it also loses a tiny bit of the youthful magic of that album as well. The cold melodic trilling for the opening riff of Gorgoroth with its masterful yet simple bass line is a stroke of genius and sets the listener up nicely for the black metal maelstrom which follows the midtempo ice storm. As a sort of prelude to the style which would later be called Black N Roll, the Possessed by Satan rumbles along with a bottom heavy groove and some thrashy riffs. Although in my opinion this is too short of a release it is still essential and sets a perfect bridge between Pentagram and Under the Sign of Hell.
Under the Sign of Hell: The last truly great album from Gorgoroth, the first thing one notices is the terrible overpowering Drum sound. This might be the most varied of their early albums as well. Listen to the Isengard/Storm inspired bombastic folk majesty of Profetens Apenbaring or the twisted vocal obliterations of Postludium to understand where I am coming from. Of course there is also the straightforward black metal darkness you've come to expect from Gorgoroth on Krig and The Rite of Infernal Invocation. The album closes out with the dirge-like plodding of The Devil is Calling. A great album and the close of the early chapter of Gorgoroth's career. As I said to me this is their last truly great album.
For any of you out there who don't own these three masterpieces, this is your chance to get them. Also I should be questioning whether or not you truly do like True Norwegian Black metal because this is the definition of that style and these albums are mandatory!!!! "The Sin of Satan is the Sign of Gorgoroth!"