Chief among the bands and ideologies that came out of the Norwegian black metal scene in the 90’s was Gorgoroth, a band so committed to the purity and originality that black metal espoused that they have been the center of controversy for their extreme content and outspoken opinions throughout their entire career.
With their latest album “Instinctus Bestialis” released in June, it’s clear that Gorgoroth is still earnestly committed to the purity of black metal by remaining as fiercely original and unconventional as they come.
The first track of the album, ‘Radix Malorum’ is an explosion of fast-paced riffs, off-the-wall rhythms, and the snarling, growling verses of new vocalist Atterigner. The heavy use of double pedals and cascading guitar riffs make the track sound at home in a rain of Satanic hell fire, a chief trademark of Gorgoroth’s sound.
The fifth track, ‘Burn In His Light’ is also strong, and is probably my favorite from the album. With a single instrument intro that shifts so beautifully into a heavy driving rhythm it’s as mesmerizing as it is unpredictable. This continues throughout the track by altering between fast and slow rhythms before bringing it back to form in the bridge with an awesome guitar solo and rising tension before an explosive and abrupt finale that leaves me aching for more.
Musically, the riffs, rhythms, and melodies are as strong as they’ve ever been thanks to Infernus’ heavy driving rhythms laced with resonant guitar melodies. The lyrics, on the other hand, leave something to be desired.
It’s clear that with this album, Gorgoroth is focused on capturing the fundamental ideologies of Satanism that made them and the whole black metal scene in the 90’s so original, particularly with the name “Instinctus Bestialis” (roughly translated as “Instincts of the Beast”).
While this works most of the time, there’s a feeling of overdoing it. On one particular track, ‘Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus’ there are several chorus lines of “Hail Satan!” and “Praise Satan!” Which, while working well musically, make the lyrics wander into the realm of cliche. It makes the lyrics seem more like trying to be fundamentally black metal, yet never fully succeeding.
Despite this, “Instinctus Bestialis” is an overall good album that continues Gorgoroth’s commitment to originality and unpredictability.