Here is a phrase you will never hear in connection with Gorgoroth: symphonic black metal. While symphonic black metal bands have used keyboards extensively and offered a more melodic, intricate, and elaborate vision of black metal, Gorgoroth has always thrived on toughness and rawness. They favored that approach in the late '90s, and they certainly favored that approach when they recorded their first official full-length album, Pentagram, back in early 1994. Originally released by Embassy Productions in 1994, Pentagram has been reissued by Malicious in 1996, Century Black in 1999, Season of Mist and Agonia in 2005, Back on Black in 2006, and Regain in 2007 -- and every time Pentagram gets reissued, people are reminded of how stubbornly uncompromising Gorgoroth has been. There have been many different Gorgoroth lineups along the way, but regardless of who was on board, Gorgoroth's intensity has not been compromised. On Pentagram, one hears an early Gorgoroth lineup consisting of Hat on lead vocals, Infernus on guitar, Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen, aka Samoth (of Emperor and Zyklon fame), on bass, and Goat Pervertor on drums. That was not Gorgoroth's very first lineup (Kjettar played bass on Gorgoroth's 1993 demo A Sorcery Written in Blood), but it was definitely an early lineup -- and it was a lineup that really identified with the raw, primal, bare-bones nature of old-school punk. In fact, it is impossible to listen to Pentagram and not be reminded of black metal's punk, hardcore, and thrash metal roots. Many of Gorgoroth's subsequent albums were better produced than Pentagram, but even so, this was an exciting debut for the Norwegian black metal combo.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson