Gorgoroth

Under the Sign of Hell

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Anyone who listens to Under the Sign of Hell alongside Gorgoroth's first official full-length album, Pentagram, can see that in terms of production, the Norwegian black metal combo had come a long way in the course of a few years. This early 1996 recording (which Regain Records reissued and remastered in 2007) offers much better and sharper production values than Pentagram, a 1994 recording. But the improvement in production values did not mean that Gorgoroth was becoming slicker or turning to symphonic black metal; that wasn't the case at all. In 1996, Gorgoroth still favored a brutal, jagged, uncompromising approach and adhered to a firm take-no-prisoners policy. Having better production values did not mean that Gorgoroth was becoming more accessible by mainstream standards; rather, the better, sharper production one hears on Under the Sign of Hell actually does more to bring out the band's heaviness and intensity. The production captures more of the harshness of Gorgoroth, which had experienced its share of lineup changes since Pentagram. On Under the Sign of Hell, guitarist/bassist Roger Tiegs, aka Infernus, is joined by lead singer Pest and drummer Grim; bassist Ares is added on the opener, "Revelation of Doom." In 1996, Infernus was the only remaining original member of Gorgoroth; singer Hat, bassist Kjettar, and drummer Goat Pervertor were gone. But having a revolving-door policy did not prevent Gorgoroth from being consistent; Infernus saw to it that the band maintained its focus regardless of who was coming or going, and sonically, Gorgoroth took it to the next level on the occult-obsessed and unapologetically blistering Under the Sign of Hell.

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