Watching Gorgoroth grow up is like watching your dipshit nephew grow up. Getting busted for stealing Bazooka bubblegum as a child, knocking up his high-school girlfriend, marrying her, divorcing her, running out on his kid, and then fighting his ex for full custody of a child he hates. The biggest difference between the trials and tribulations faced by Gorgoroth and your asshole nephew is that Gorgoroth’s are worse. These Norwegian black metallers have arrests for their goat-decapitating live performances, rape, kidnapping, torture and drinking blood. And then there’s that whole lawsuit over the Gorgoroth name. One sentence (get it?) later and I’ve recapped all the Gorgoroth bullshit to smear the pages of Blabberfuckingmouth over a decade. Since reclaiming his rightful place at the head of the Gorgoroth table, Infernus has been on a killing spree to revive his band and his drive to bring you – the tr00 believers of ‘90s cvlt-ish black metal and those “pro-Infernus” fans – a strength and voracity that not only proves Infernus still has it, but that he can achieve it without the likes of Gaahl and King ov Hell.
It’s been six years now since the impressive, fuck-the-world return of Captain Infernus and his Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt battleship, and now he brings us yet another offering of classic rehashings and balls-to-the-wall aggressions resonant of Under the Sign of Hell, Destroyer, or About How to Philosophize with the Hammer. Following the QPaST statement-maker, the fans that still remain after all the years of legal Gorgoroth dung have prayed to whatever gods they worship to keep this ship moving in a forward direction. As he did during those successful years of Antichrist, Under the Sign of Hell, and Destroyer, Infernus proves once again that he has the chops, songwriting abilities, and digestible album lengths to convert all haters into believers of Infernus the Christ.
Being one of the biggest Gorgoroth fans ever, my anticipation was brimming as I cranked the volume and pushed play on Instinctus Bestialis. And, thankfully, opener “Radix Malorum” does very little to disappoint. As expected from a band that sells its albums mainly on opening tracks (Under the Sign of Hell’s “Revelation of Doom,” Destroyer’s “Destroyer,” you get the idea), this new one is absolutely crushing. Kicking hard at your door from the get-go, it cuts it clean from its hinges with a thrashtastic breakdown just forty seconds in that sets fire to your furniture. Threatening to be a contender for my Song of the Year, it bleeds the blood of Infernus, and goddamn does it taste good. Further thrashy numbers from His Almighty Riff-ship can be found on “Burn In His Light;” a song that brings to mind riffs from Incipit Satan’s “Unchain My Heart!!!”
The fun continues with hints of Gorgoroth’s melodic side in ditties like “Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus” and “Rage.” Soaked in melodies still lingering from QPaST, “Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus” sounds nearly identical to QPaST’s “Human Sacrifice.” And when I say “nearly identical,” I mean it even has a riff in it that will send you back to its predecessor with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. While never a bad thing to be compared to such a stellar track, be warned that some originality is lacking here. “Rage,” on the other hand, is a disjointed chaos of BM riffage that shuts down completely and restarts with an air of haunting melancholy. This is naturally followed up with another disjointed, herky-jerky, stop-start number in “Kala Brahman” and some blasts from Tomas Asklund that further prove that he can make just as much of his own stamp on Gorgoroth as did his predecessors, Grim and Frost.
After being stoked about Pest’s return as vocalist for QPaST and the unnecessary re-recording of Under the Sign of Hell, he departed just as quickly before recording began on Instinctus Bestialis. Though bummed, their choice of Serbia’s Atterigner (Triumfall) was a wise one. Sporting similarities to the rasps and shrieks of Pest, Gorgoroth doesn’t skip a beat with Atterigner. Add an enjoyable recording and mixing job (which sounds way better than its DR5 rating implies) and you have an end product on par with QPaST. With some rehashings and similarities to past albums that keep it from being overly fresh, Instinctus Bestialis is still exciting and stands as an example of a “very good” album that (so far) has a spot on my year-end list.