Album Review – Gorgoroth / Instinctus Bestialis (2015)

One of the most controversial Black Metal bands in the world delivers some truly bestial instincts in the form of gruesome and elaborate extreme music.


instinctus bestialisNorwegian Black Metal is more than just a subgenre of Heavy Metal: it’s a renowned and very respectable movement that has been helping redefine the scope of extreme music, expanding its boundaries to a whole new level that’s not comprised of just the music itself, but of a wide variety of contentious topics such as religion, murder and ideology. If you don’t know much about it, I strongly recommend you watch the amazing documentary entitled Until the Light Takes Us (2008) to better understand the importance of this infamous musical subculture to society. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of Black Metal or not, you must listen to Norwegian black metallers Gorgoroth to understand how all that controversy and darkness translates into music.

Formed in 1992 by the only original member remaining, Infernus, and named after the dead plateau of evil and darkness in the land of Mordor, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings, Gorgoroth are releasing now in 2015 their ninth full-length studio album, the venomous Instinctus Bestialis. It’s important to say this is their first album to feature vocalist Atterigner and, more important than that, it’s indeed a solid addition to their polemic career, corroborating their status as one of the most influential Black Metal bands in history.

It’s simply amazing how violently the album starts with the opening track Radix Malorum, with its blast beats crushing our heads from the very first second while Atterigner shows why he was chosen by Infernus to be the new devilish voice of Gorgoroth. Following that ravage we have more infernal Black Metal in Dionysian Rite, with highlights to the great work on guitars by Infernus and to the demonic performances by Atterigner and Asklund with their vocals and drums, respectively. Moreover, I’m pretty sure most of the fans of the music by Gorgoroth will love the ominous Blackened Doom vibe present in the last part of the song.

gorgorothThe blasphemous and devastating Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus can be considered the most complete song of the album, showcasing a touch of melancholy, a beautiful melody, and of course that expected (but always awesome) visceral explosion of Black Metal. Asklund is kicking ass on drums once again, whilst Infernus keeps mastering the art of dark riffs and solos. And when the lyrics include screams such as “Hail Satan!”, you know you’re facing some good deranged music, right? Anyway, the short and direct Come Night is yet another melodic tune that doesn’t forget to be as satanic as Black Metal usually is, and despite not being the most creative song in the world it’s still very enjoyable; followed by Burn in His Light, where hints of Blackened Death Metal and even some progressiveness add a fresh taste to it. Besides, the robust background foundation by Bøddel and Asklund leave plenty of room for infernus to deliver more awesome riffs, increasing the song’s quality.

In one of the top moments of the album, Rage, its heavy guitar lines bring forth a wrathful Blackened Death Metal vibe, reminding me of the superb musicality found in The Satanist, the lasts masterpiece by Behemoth. This is a great addition to Gorgoroth’s weaponry and something they should be doing more in future releases, in my humble opinion. Kala Brahman, which has different meanings in Mithology depending on the culture but it’s usually a sea monster, an evil spirit or the supreme god to bring death and disease to mankind, presents a dense and obscure sonority enhanced by an atmosphere that couldn’t be more perverse and by an avalanche of traditional blast beats by Asklund. And the last track of the album, Awakening, doesn’t slow down at all, once again flirting with Blackened Death Metal and therefore resulting in a very rhythmic and imposing composition.

In summary, after all these years of controversy, depravity and radicalism, Gorgoroth prove they still got it, delivering a consistent work that sounds much more cohesive than many of their previous releases. To be fair, the addition of elements from genres such as Blackened Doom and Blackened Death Metal, rather than just sticking to raw old school Black Metal, was undoubtedly the right decision by Infernus and his horde in this album, truly expressing the most bestial instincts deeply entrenched inside the human being in the form of gruesome and elaborate Extreme Metal.

Best moments of the album: Dionysian Rite, Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus and Rage.

Worst moments of the album: Come Night.

Released in 2015 Soulseller Records

Track listing
1. Radix Malorum 3:14
2. Dionysian Rite 4:05
3. Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus 5:45
4. Come Night 2:41
5. Burn in His Light 4:02
6. Rage 4:03
7. Kala Brahman 5:23
8. Awakening 2:07

Band members
Atterigner – vocals
Infernus – guitars
Bøddel – bass
Asklund – drums