Album: Instinctus Bestialis
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Soulseller Records
Release Date: June 8th 2015
Gorgoroth needs no introduction among black metal fans. This Norwegian black metal band has been one of the leading acts in the genre for over two decades. And albums like ‘Under The Sign Of Hell’ or ‘Incipit Satan’ have found their way into the hearts of many metalheads.
With Infernus being the only original member remaining, Gorgoroth has seen many lineup changes. They’ve gone through too many drummers and bassists to list. They’re even on their fourth vocalist already. I don’t think there are many bands out there that have
gone through the same amount of vocalists. And this time, it’s up to Atterigner to provide them. Infernus as usual on guitars, Boddel on bass and Thomas Asklund once again behind the drums.
What becomes immediately apparent right from the start, is the change in pace from Gorgoroth’s usual sound. Sure, they’ve never been afraid to incorporate different elements from other genres into their sound, but it was always, without a doubt, black metal. On this new release however, the death metal influences are a lot more prominent, up to a point where I wouldn’t even call this a black metal album anymore. This is blackened death metal, or ‘heavily blackened’ death metal, if you will. But no longer ordinary black metal.
What certainly contributes to this are Atterigner’s vocals. They’re much deeper than Pest or Gaahl before him and they simply have more of a death metal vibe to them. But that doesn’t say anything about his vocal abilities on their own of course. So let me tell you right now, they’re great. He sounds genuinely angry, frightening and outright powerful. He delivers an excellent performance throughout the entire album, and he is definitely a worthy successor to any of his predecessors.
So does this new approach from Gorgoroth pay off? Short answer: yes. The album starts off ferociously with Radix Malorum, filled with extreme riffs and fast tremolo picking, this song leaves you no time to catch your breath. It’s instant chaos from the start.
Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus, the third track on this album, is a perfect display of what Gorgoroth is truly capable of. They deliver some crushing, yet melodic riffs that make this song, instrumentally, one of the best on the album. I say instrumentally,
because the lyrics (as far as I could understand them) are just the usual Satan worshipping we’re all used to by now. It’s not necessarily starting to get old, but sometimes it feels more like an obligation than anything. “We can’t write an album without at least yelling ‘Hail Satan’ a couple of times, now can we?” Because that’s literally how the chorus goes: ‘Hail Satan, Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus’ (And if my Latin doesn’t fail me for once, that means: to the almighty and eternal devil). Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had anything against these sort of lyrics, but at some point it tends to come off as a little uncreative.
Then there’s Kala Brahman, which has this huge Polish blackened death metal feel to it. There’s no more denying it now. I’ve had this feeling before, when bands like Azarath often came to mind (especially on ‘Dionysian Rite’). But when I first heard
Kala Brahman, I couldn’t think of any other band but Behemoth. Atterigner even sounds similar to Nergal. It’s nevertheless a great track. And you start to wonder: are they officially making the same transition from black metal to blackened death metal, like Behemoth did? It appears so. Do I mind? Absolutely not.
Because the album shows very little flaws. Perhaps the biggest flaw would simply be its length. 31:13, really? That’s way too short! I wanted more. And that’s the biggest compliment I can give an album. ‘Awakening’ is one of the best album closers I’ve heard in a while. It’s simple, haunting and effective. It makes you want to listen to it all over again, immediately. So that’s exactly what I did.
Instinctus Bestialis is definitely a breath of fresh air in Gorgoroth’s discography. I admire the fact that a great band like this wasn’t afraid to try something new after all these years. They’ve changed, but they now spew forth some of the best bone-crushing, spine-twisting blackened death metal you can imagine. It’s Gorgoroth after all, these guys know how to make metal. Whether it’s black or death.
1. Radix Malorum
2. Dionysian Rite
3. Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus
4. Come Night
5. Burn In His Light
7. Kala Brahman
Total Playing Time: 31:13