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Gorgoroth - Instinctus Bestialis Award winner

Instinctus Bestialis
by Daniel Fox at 28 May 2015, 8:21 PM

One of the most iconic bands of the ephemeral ‘second wave of Norwegian Black Metal’, GORGOROTH is an engine still tirelessly powered by its mastermind and guitarist, Infernus, with Tomas Asklund and Bøddel being the band’s longest-standing members in years. Having recently fired vocalist Pest, “Instinctus Bestialis” marks the first record since 2009 – a 6 year gap – this time with Serbian vocalist Atterigner. This 6 year wait has brought us what could be considered to be the best GORGOROTH album ever made. Apparently, this is the year for fucking spectacular releases.

While “Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt” was highly regarded for having been musically taken back to the band’s roots (my ‘old’ favourite GORGOROTH album “Pentagram” bears warm memories), their 2015 opus has its own pedestal for a number of reasons. Fans and the otherwise aware will have known of the legal and interpersonal issues surrounding the band during the period between 2007 and 2011, and the firing of Pest managed to shake things up a tad in 2012. However, the band found a new grim helmsman in Atterigner; while the purest of purists are stuck in a rut over Gaahl, “Radix Malorum”, the opening track from the new record, stands as a testament to the fact that a new vocalist can indeed breathe a new flavour into the band. On tracks such as this, but also the sledgehammer that is “Come Night” or the decisive “Burn In His Light”, his proclivity for a powerful, gravelly low-end range of growls can be admired.

Even just a couple of pieces into the album, I can notice the massive improvement made in production quality and emphasis on album dynamics. Before the #IOnlyEatMyBlackMetalRaw party-poopers chime in, I am not trying to say this album is over-produced; this is not a CRADLE or DIMMU shindig, but rather the instruments are not only mixed to frequencies audible enough to be individually discerned, but it allows all parts of the songs’ timbre to glisten. For instance, the rumbling bass at the low end of the chugging riffs that make up the decisive, hellish march that is “Rage” (and, quite frankly, as they do on the other tracks) are an outpouring of audiophile goodness. In short; an album that not only conveys the emotions, messages, atmosphere and moods that a true-blue (black) Black Metal album should, but is also, at its core, a fucking awesome piece of work to physically listen to, wherein I would contend that some bands in the genre have a tendency to fall short on either front if they concentrate too hard on perfecting the other.

There’s obviously going to be people out there who disagree with me. 16-year-old-me would have disagreed with me. The fact is, GORGOROTH have continued to stay true to themselves, and “Instinctus Bestialis” is, by no means, any sign of the band signing out or dumbing down, because the music is more mature, and, arguably, more ambitious than ever; an ambition that ultimately triumphed.

5 Star Rating

1. Radix Malorum
2. Dionysian Rite
3. Ad Omnipotens Aeterna Diabolus
4. Come Night
5. Burn In His Light
6. Rage
7. Kala Brahman
9. Awakening
Infernus - Guitars
Tomas Asklund - Drums
Bøddel - Bass
Atterigner - Vocals
Record Label: Soulseller Records


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