Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam
Regain Records
Black Metal
8 songs (31'39")
Release year: 2006
Gorgoroth, Regain Records
Reviewed by Alex

Some of us do their better work under trying circumstances. Notorious Norwegian black metallers Gorgoroth have probably gotten used to working under pressure, as there often must be precious little time between singer Gaahl’s prison term and founder/composer/guitarist Infernus next court appointment. Add lineup and conceptual differences (bassist and co-songwriter King ov Hell recently departing) to further complicate the picture. While possibly not the best character within Metal Reviews team to take on this review, I had really wanted to contribute my opinion of Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam as the music made a strong impression on me. With three years passing between Twilight of the Idols and this album some started calling Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam a “comeback”. It is hard to agree with that notion as Gorgoroth really did not go anywhere, except their reputation grew further. But will the notoriety be matched by the music quality? Being banned in Poland for stage decorations is no big deal these days, Madonna is making her own headlines all across Europe. However, Gorgoroth put band’s followers’ worries to rest – this album is an intensely wicked real deal, it seethes with pent up anger, pain and fury.

Perhaps the most telling compliment I can give to Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam is this – you listen to these eight tracks, slightly exceeding 30 min, and understand that this is not a gimmick. I do not accept the ideology the band espouses, but whether you are personally professing the beliefs or not, after the last note of Prosperity and Beauty stops playing you know that Gorgoroth does, and they offer convincingly crushing proof of it.

Split between songs centered on riffs or on texture, Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam delivers on either front. Opener Wound upon Wound and Exit offer galloping blastbeat (courtesy of a hired gun Frost, also in Satyricon and 1349, as if I had to tell you), which actually does not usurp the centerstage as the listener must focus on the voracious guitar tone in the former (those predatory guitar grrm grrm are awesome) or its bumblebee stings in the latter. Tempo variations and solid drumming, which is not overproduced incessant blast, make very pointed differences with lesser Norsecore winning immediate points over anything Marduk has done lately. Carving a Giant and Sign of an Open Eye offer steady riffing with later day Immortal guitar twang. Gorgoroth seems to be actually reveling in this steady steamroller on Sign of an Open Eye, banging the point home again and again.

White Seed is much rawer and more distorted, away from the blackened thrash and closer to the roots, guitars cutting and filth shoveled by the bushel. But it is Prosperity and Beauty and, especially, God Seed (Twilight of the Idols), that claim the throne with their pain (Prosperity and Beauty) and power (God Seed (Twilight of the Idols)) tinged melodies flowing through the tremolo and fast string picking. God Seed (Twilight of the Idols) is simply superb, making it a guilty pleasure to trace the harmony or come face-to-face with an unexpected practically Iron Maiden mid-song break.

With all members turning in great work, the highlight performance belongs to Gaahl, the vocals on Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam being his best to date. He is simply a devouring tower of power on Wound upon Wound (here is one fitting title), makes subtle inflections points on God Seed (Twilight of the Idols) only to squash the hesitation the very next second. He can yield to the riff as in Sign of an Open Eye, providing the sinister nightmarish background of spoken words, whispers and moans. Next track, however, he will cajole an impossible tortured sound out of his lungs/body (White Seed). He captivates, simply nailing you to the listener’s chair (or headphones) with his commanding voice, never letting go. I guess the man can punch in the face not only with his fists.

Having steadily ascended to the top, Gorgoroth has got to be one of the leading bands in the old school Satanic-oriented Norwegian black metal, the band that never mellowed and never accepted any compromises. Dark tar inside Infernus’ soul boils as intensely as the day he started. Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam proves that vividly. What the future will hold for Gorgoroth only time will show (as well as the Norwegian legal system, but it is innocent until proven guilty). It is almost unfortunate that in order to ratchet power in their music, the bandmembers have to walk the plank and live life as intensely as they are playing their dark art.

Killing Songs :
Wound upon Wound, God Seed (Twilight of the Idols), Sign of an Open Eye, Prosperity and Beauty
Alex quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Gorgoroth that we have reviewed:
Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
Gorgoroth - Pentagram - Antichrist - Under the Sign of Hell reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Gorgoroth - Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan) reviewed by Aaron and quoted 97 / 100
Gorgoroth - Incipit Satan reviewed by Daniel and quoted 67 / 100
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