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Cirith Gorgor - Sovereign

Cirith Gorgor
by Martin Knap at 02 April 2019, 1:18 PM

Benelux countries have famously awesome Death Metal scene, but with bands like FUNERAL WINDS, URFAUST, DODECAHEDRON, ANCIENT RITES, ENTHRONED, and a slew of other underground bands the Black Metal scene is as bad-ass as it gets. CIRITH GORGOR have been around since 1993 and definitely deserve to be mentioned as one of the preeminent bands from the region. They have a pretty regular release schedule: “Sovereign” is their seventh full-length album. CIRITH GORGOR play second wave-style Black Metal in the vein of MARDUK, GORGOROTH, or NAGLFAR. Their music is overall more riff-oriented then atmospheric, it has strong melodies and refined songwriting. In their songs they fuse the aggression and vitriol of MARDUK – with whom they also share the fascination with Nazi imagery and WW2, at least when it comes to this album – and evil vibes of GORGOROTH or NAGLFAR. The songwriting is top-notch – tight but refined at the same time.

In the intro titled “Funeral March for Modern Men,” we hear the sinister main theme from Purcell’s “Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary,” better known as the title melody of the movie “Clockwork Orange,” with a voice-over declaring disdain and scorn towards modern society and humankind. The first song “Hellbound” opens with MARDUK-like rage, the first verse is aggressive but the next verse has a bit more melancholic vibe, a melancholic riff with a cleaner tone deepens this melancholia even further as the song progresses. The song then shifts between raging and melancholic sections; there is a nice climax where the guitars play the melancholic melody while the drumming peaks in intensity. The title song that follows next is well worth mentioning: it opens with a melodic riff backed by a driving half-tempo drumbeat, after the opening section there is a more aggressive, but riff and the drumming shifts between the catchy half-tempo drumbeat and machine-gun blast-beats. At one point the vocalist breaks out into a chant that has an almost ceremonial vibe.

Deathcult” is another excellent song on the album. It has a brooding intro with a military drum-roll and a sinister voiceover in German. The tension builds up until a melodic guitar lead breaks out, which is followed by intense section with fast riffing and blast-beats. The song’s vibe is quite distinct: it has an air of scornful triumphalism – especially the chorus with its backing vocals – that is different from the aggression, wickedness or melancholia of the other songs on the album. This is another song on the album that builds up to a grand, emotional climax: here is a solo backed by blast-beats. It’s simple but effective. “Legio Luporum” has a very melancholic verse with evil Ghaal-esque vocals, the chorus on the other hand his very catchy with a driving riff and half-tempo drumbeat. The album goes out with a bang: “Blood and Iron” has shifts between driving, aggressive parts and parts with a majestic, solemn vibe. There is a melancholic middle section with a simple chord progression after which the guitar suddenly starts playing a complicated, “proggy”, later-ENSLAVED kind of riff. It sounds original and not in any way forced at the same time.

CIRITH GORGOR dropped one of the more notable Second-Wave of Black Metal of this year. It has memorable songs, great riffs and songwriting, and an outstanding production. If you like “orthodox” Black Metal you shouldn’t miss this.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Funeral March for Modern Man
2. Hellbound
3. Sovereign
4. Luciferian Deathsquad
5. Deathcult
6. Legio Luporum
7. Dominion
8. Manifestation of Evil
9. Blood and Iron

Levithmong – Drums, Vocals
Marchosias – Guitars
Satanael – Vocals
Waldtyr – Bass
Valefor – Guitars

Record Label: Hammerheart Records


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