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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
Nuclear Blast

Hailed as one of the few remaining "true" black metal bands, the latest from GORGOROTH is somewhat confusing to say the least. If DESTROYER was their way of weeding out those who can't appreciate a completely raw and extreme product, INCIPIT SATAN sets out to isolate those who can.

A more coherent production serves IS, and nothing seems too amiss when the title track begins the album. It's a fast song given to a couple of brief ambient interludes which return to the aggression soon enough. I'm doing this review from a promo that doesn't tell who's who in Gorgoroth 2000, but the obvious bet is founder Infernus on guitar and possibly some of the vocals. DESTROYER featured at least ten different contributors, so it's possible this does as well.

There are different vocal styles throughout, though not the recognizable switch from Gaahl to Pest to T. Reaper on the last album. Sounds like Gaahl from TRELLDOM is doing the majority this time. "A World to Win" is easily comparable to "Open the Gates," that same kind of slow melodic song, recognizable as GORGOROTH if a bit cleaner.

No, the what-the-fuck moments don't begin until track three, "Litani til Satan," when the vocals switch from the rasp to a thickly accented spoken word style that conjures comparison to RAMMSTIEN, of all bands. Sounds like Infernus doing the vox. It's another slow, moody track, effective once you’re able to put the odd vocal choice behind. "Unchain my Heart!!!" follows, and it's a song title like that that leads me to believe GORGOROTH is just fucking with us with the seemingly commercial leanings. "Unchain" is a mix of the previous two tracks but with the more traditional GORGOROTH vocal style. We detour into oddity again with "An Excerpt of X," a brooding track with a great background lead riff and sampled "vocals." "Ein eim av blod og helvetesild" harkens back to the title track, an all-out speed moment in their gloriously minimal vein. "Will to Power" is full ambient experimentation, you’ll either want to listen to it each time or skip it. The finale is "When Love Rages Wild in My Heart," yet another ha-ha title that doesn't spare us the vocal overkill. The singing is laughably commercial, which I'’m sure is the joke, but unless you could take DESEKRATOR'’s sense of humor this might not work. Luckily it’s only a couple verses and doesn't really carry through the entire song, which is another example of restrained GORGOROTH, slow and subliminally melodic.

Major GORGOROTH fans may be put off by this release. If you're like me you'’ll look at it as another calculated move to push out some fans and please a portion of the others, because I don'’t think the next album will resemble this one at all. Honestly I hope it doesn'’t because there'’s nothing like that old, raw style of GORGOROTH, but I've listened to this one quite a few times and am sure I’ll continue to do so. Insert an imaginary half-skull below for 3.5.


Perplex SkullPerplex SkullPerplex Skull

This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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