Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Gorgoroth - Destroyer (1998)

Destroyer is the fourth full-length album from Gorgoroth, and it is appropriately titled. Rather than being a normal studio effort, this is a collection of songs that were recorded between 1994 and 1998, with each track featuring a different line-up. Infernus must have been incredibly burnt-out following Under the Sign of Hell, as this was a horrible idea and only served to demonstrate that the band's creativity was running on low. This makes even less sense, considering that this was their first effort for a larger label, Nuclear Blast. As brilliant as the early Gorgoroth output is, this 1998 release did nothing to add to their legacy.

Musically, this record shows a lot of inconsistency. There are only a few songs that are even worth hearing, and those pale in comparison to those that came before. The freezing cold tremolo melodies of "Open the Gates" are memorable enough, and this track is probably the best one on here. This sounds the closest to the material on the previous album, which is natural since it includes three of the four members that were present on Under the Sign of Hell. A similar feel is found on "Om kristen og jødisk tru" and "The Virginborn", which are both performed by the same line-up. The former is somewhat reminiscent of "Funeral Procession, while the latter is much slower and possesses more of an epic atmosphere. These three songs are the only ones that would really appeal to fans of older Gorgoroth. The rest is better left unheard.

The negative aspects of this album are many. Much of it is experimental trash that has no business being passed off under the Gorgoroth name. "The Devil, the Sinner and His Journey" is a brief track that would be boring enough on its own, but the pitiful synth makes it seem like more of a joke. The keyboards have a spacey effect, as if Infernus wanted to mix Black Metal with his love of Star Wars. The title track is beyond lame and sounds like a throwaway track from Darkthrone's Total Death. Gaahl's vocals are exceptionally terrible, which would be a running theme during his entire tenure with the band. This is rather odd, as his work on the first Trelldom album was not bad, at all. "Blodoffer" is another laughable song that demonstrates exactly why Infernus never bothered to take over vocal duties for the band. His voice is drowning in effects, which only makes him sound ten times worse than he would have, already. There are also a lot of sound effects that distract from the riffs, generic though they might be. Compared to all of these, "På Slagmark Langt Mot Nord" does not sound all that bad, though it falls short is matching the level of the other tracks that feature Pest on vocals. Still, it might be worth hearing, just to decide.

One of the most disappointing songs on this album has to be the cover of Darkthrone's "Slottet I Det Fjerne". Based on Gorgoroth's previous style, as well as the fact that this is a brilliant song to begin with, one would expect it to be impossible for this to come out poorly. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened. Not only was the pace of the song sped up, but the emphasis was taken off of the great guitar melodies and the focus was shifted to the effects-laden vocals of Infernus and the terrible drum programming. Why the hell this ever came into being is anyone's guess, as Gorgoroth really butchered this song in the worst possible way.

This was the album that signified the death of Gorgoroth, for the time being. It would not have been so bad, if the few decent songs on here had been released as an E.P. Even then, the material could have used a little more work and a less irritating production. Destroyer is certainly not worth purchasing, so it is recommended that you seek out the handful of passable songs by some other means, but do not waste money on this.