WORDS: David Creamer
A highly notorious name in Black Metal, and for good reason, GORGOROTH have returned once again to show us exactly why they hold court as one of the more popular bands the genre. Continuing on from their 2009 release Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt and once again parting ways with routine vocalist Pest, Instinctus Bestialis (roughly translated to English as beastly instinct) features the performance of brand new vocalist, Atterigner.
It seems now that we must become used to the ever increasing gaps in between new releases. Which is a shame considering the speed involved in pumping out some of the earlier releases, but however, considering how beastly this LP is, it seems to be quite worth the wait. This album easily caters to the desires of black metal fans as it incorporates all the different forms that black metal can take, and it certainly is a wild ride from start to finish.
From the onset, this release bombards you with an onslaught of pounding drums and furiously fast guitar work by the hands of Infernus. Many of the riffs on this LP are varied, effortlessly transitioning between atmospheric chord progressions and straight up tremolo black metal riffage, ensuring there are no disturbances within the songs flow. Songs like Ad omnipotens aeterne diabolous open up with an extraordinary atmospheric piece that almost sounds as if it were composed with several layers of guitar tracks contributing to a very thick wall of sound. Interestingly enough, an experimentation in more melodic style sounds can be heard throughout this album as well, carrying a very small hint of NWOBHM and power metal within the melodies, and sometimes in the song structure itself. Come Night is an example of these styles creeping into GORGOROTH’s music. Which is not necessarily a bad thing in itself as Infernus manages to keep things sounding somewhat black metal styled, but hardcore fans of GORGOROTH and black metal may not be too keen on this new experimentation.
The album itself was produced by Infernus and Asklund, and is very well done so. The way to describe the guitar sound can be done in one word. Large. Especially in the more atmospheric tracks, the listener is subjected to a very thick cloud of warm and tasteful distortion, engulfing everything in its’ path. This however has some downsides as the guitars can sometimes much engulf the other instruments in the mix, the drums, while they can definitely be heard, are sometimes hard to make out, especially during some blastbeat sections . One factor of past albums of GORGOROTH’s sound was also some of the more interesting bass lines, which certainly made an interesting listening experience given the bass guitar’s very diminished role in black metal. However, while the bass can also be heard, the position it holds in the mix makes each note hard to distinguish, sometimes being nothing more than just a low grumble.
From the looks of things, GORGOROTH could be taking a page out of MAYHEM’s book with regards to some aspects of the experimentation, but the route which Instinctus Bestialis is taking sounds nonetheless epic and powerful, but a whole lot less dark than the feeling of earlier releases. Still, this album is altogether incredible and definitely fun to listen to!
Instinctus Bestialis is out now via Soulseller Records