Thursday, October 22, 2009

Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt (2009)

The story behind this album should be well-known to most. In late 2007, two weaklings attempted to usurp control of Gorgoroth from its very creator. This act of betrayal split their fans into opposing camps. Some of the more braindead followers seemed to think that the utter mutiny of these two was, somehow, justified. However, the true force of Gorgoroth was Infernus. This was plain and clear, not only from the overwhelming support shown by his true fans, but by the Norwegian legal system. The battle seemed to be drawn-out but, in the end, Gaahl and King were defeated and cast into oblivion. during this struggle, Infernus worked long and hard to restore this band to its former glory. He assembled dedicated musicians to assist him in this task, secure in the knowledge that he would prevail and that a musical statement must be made. He had been working on material since before the split, and this treasonous nonsense seemed only to inspire him all the more. The resulting album, Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt, was released in October 2009, through Regain Records.

The album begins with "Aneuthanasia", and the distinct vocals of Pest are joined by the trademark guitar riffs of Infernus to recreate a feeling lost since over a decade ago. The pace speeds up as it goes along, as Infernus unleashes a vicious thrash riff to accompany the high-pitched rasp of Pest, who has long since been missed. The song is rather short and simple, but sets the tone very well. The only complaint I would make would be against the mechanical drumming of Tomas Asklund.

As "Prayer" starts out, we can see that the awful songwriting of the former members is soon to fade from the memories of those who gave up on the band after Under the Sign of Hell. This is classic Gorgoroth, something that has been missing for some time. I was completely unable to enjoy the Gaahl era, as I found his vocals grating and unfitting of the band's great legacy. This song is rather mid-paced, with a dark and sorrowful tremolo melody that will stick in your brain, alternating with thrash riffs, in the vein of Pentagram and some somber arpeggios.

"Rebirth" is the longest song on here, clocking in around six and a half minutes. The open arpeggios set a melancholic feeling, as Pest's vocals are filthy and misanthropic, just as on Antichrist. This one is mid-paced and very atmospheric. The feeling is dark and epic, in the style that Infernus is known for. You can feel some primal force rising within you as he screams, "rebirth of Gorgoroth!" This is a very powerful moment, and one filled with poignancy. You are taken on a black journey down into the depths, from which you will not emerge the same as before you started.

This is followed by "Building A Man", which slowly builds in speed. The tremolo riffs flow into some melodic thrash sound, with the double bass rumbling beneath. The drumming could have been a little lower in the mix, but this is a minor complaint. The riffs that Infernus has created are truly brilliant and take precedence over all else. The overall sound is very clear and powerful, not too different from the earliest Gorgoroth albums. As the song goes along, the intensity increases, til the end.

"New Breed" starts out with a riff that could almost have been on the last Dissection album. The transition from the previous song to this one is very natural, and it's worth mentioning that this doesn't feel like just some 'collection of songs'. There is a flow and a strong sense of coherence. Everything seems to fit together, very well. After a minute or so, the pace slows, but this is very brief as a melodic and memorable riff soon erupts, joined by blasting drums and Pest's hateful voice. Around the middle, there's another change. This is too brilliant to really describe. It pierces your spirit, letting your essence bleed out onto the frozen soil. There is something haunting and beautiful about the dreary feeling that this riff creates. It continues through the remainder of the song, leaving you utterly drained by the end.

The atmosphere changes, quite a bit, with "Cleansing Fire". This one is faster and more upbeat, in a sense, during the opening moments. Despite being only a few minutes long, it's still quite dynamic. Near the middle, there's another great riff that brings the feeling down somewhat, taking it to a darker place. Production-wise, this is beginning to remind me a bit of Reinkaos, come to think of it.

"Human Sacrifice" begins with an energetic thrash riff, but the song soon transitions to something less intense but darker and more sorrowful. This song seems to be building some sense of tension, as the album nears its end. It's fairly simplistic, yet highly effective. As with the rest of the album, the riffs here are very memorable and executed with great skill. Pest sounds as lethal as ever and the rhythm section handle their duties well, also.

The next song is likely to be the one that most are drawn to. "Satan-Prometheus" is a massively epic song that is absolutely certain to haunt your mind even after the first listen. Then again, what else would you expect from the brilliant mind that crafted "Maaneskyggens Slave"? It starts out with the classic Gorgoroth sound; raspy vocals spewing hatred over fast tremolo riffs and blasting drums. The melodies are dark and somber, weaving through your mind like venomous serpents that are soon to poison you and leave you for dead. After about a minute, a feeling of there's a brief section with clean vocals and a slower riff, to accentuate this. Following a thrashier section, this is repeated with additional tremolo riffs joining the Black Mass. The effect that this creates is very powerful. In a sense, it hearkens back to the feeling of "Sorg", though being quite different. Late in the song, the whole feeling changes and the pace is that of a funeral march. The track ends with hellish screams being drawn out over mournful melodies.

"See the hordes ascend
Crushing the face of god
See the horns rise
The eternal reign of Satan"

"Introibo ad Alatare Satanas" is a brief outro that closely follows the feeling established in the latter moments of the previous song. It possesses a Satanic and deathlike atmosphere and is a very fitting way to close out this masterpiece of an album.

This is the record that I've been wanting Gorgoroth to release for years. It's as close as you'll get the the classic period of the band's career and, really, sounds like a natural extension of those albums. It really does sound like an updated version of the musical vision that began back then, as if the middle period was some nightmare that has now been forgotten. One can only hope that Pest remains for the next album, as he has been as missed as Infernus's songwriting. Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt is a worthy addition to the musical legacy of Infernus and the mighty Gorgoroth. Buy this with confidence.