Gorgoroth – Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt
Rating: 3.5/5.0 – Not the barely controlled chaos of the King/Gaahl years, but old school and well done
Label: Regain Records
Websites: gorgoroth.info | myspace.com/gorgoroth
Release Dates: EU: 21.10.2009 | USA: 11.11.2009
Gorgoroth is almost more infamous than famous these days. Known for the extremity of its members, its outrageous and genuinely evil and offensive stage shows and, most recently, its law suit, the band has gained the respect of the black metal scene in recent years for moving ahead of the pack with a calculated but extremely raw sound. 2003’s Twilight of the Idols and the band’s 2006 release Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam had seen the band slipping from the hands of the former primary writer into the hands of King ov Hell. With that, the sound of Gorgoroth became far more aggressive, blasty and chaotic. Of course, with the split, Gorgoroth reverted to Infernus who wasted no time in producing a new ode to Satan: Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt.
Honestly, as a fan of the later Gorgoroth material, I was a little bit worried that this album was not going to be very good. I certainly had come to see Gaahl and King ov Hell as the primary members of the band and as the blackened heart at the core of Gorgoroth. However, that part of me had forgotten what a stellar album Destroyer was, in my ignorance. Fortunately for me, Infernus came to remind me that Gorgoroth is far from done. Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt should be seen as a statement of intent from Infernus, I think. A reminder that Gorgoroth became a black metal powerhouse not through the later albums, but through the early albums which were instrumental in helping form what we see as the “traditional” black metal sound, but were still high quality black metal. All of the songs were written between 2006 and 2009, when Infernus was, in essence, being frozen out of the band and Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt puts this material forward and says “I never went away.”
Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt is definitely much more controlled and conventional than the previous incarnation of Gorgoroth. In fact, I was quite taken aback by it at first. I had been expecting something else, and what stood out for me was how clean this record is and how it really is an orthodox but at the same time remarkably beautiful album. Black metal has always had a certain dark mystique for the majority of us who like it. Raw, dark and extreme is what many look for, but I’ve always had a soft spot for bands like Taake who could weave good melodic influences into their work at the same time as being dark and extreme. This is done beautifully on this album, which is littered with fetching harmonized tremello-picked guitar parts and even have chanting on the stand-out track “Satan Prometheus”.
In a way Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt is a return to form for the mighty Gorgoroth more than anything else. If you want to see the band as a band that was hijacked and has now been reclaimed, that is how this album plays. And I think it is a beautifully produced, well written album that balances old school, slow, riffy black metal with other more traditional black metal conventions.
A final note for the traditionalists: this was not recorded in a forest and therefore the production is probably too good for you. In fact, as I stated earlier, the production on this album is actually crystal clean and very well-balanced. The rawness and atmosphere of the older material isn’t there, even if the writing style is a lot more in that vein. For me, this isn’t an issue. I like good production so long as it’s not over produced and this album isn’t overdone. And fans of the genre, honestly, should check it out.
Unfortunately, this review didn’t quite make it to 666 words either.