Gorgoroth

Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiricy With Satan)

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Norwegian black metal vets Gorgoroth have long been an underrated band, never matching the critical acclaim of Darkthrone or Emperor, the sales of Cradle of Filth, or the legendary infamy of Mayhem or Burzum. Still, since the mid-'90s at least, they've had as much to offer as any of those bands (and not simply because the other bands' members all seemed to be dying or going to jail). With Twilight of the Idols, they stick to the sort of nihilistic, unpretentious yet still musically daring black metal that is their strong point. Whereas their previous album, 2000's Incipit Satan, was about halfway brilliant but weighted down by a few experimental excursions that didn't quite work, Twilight is all meat and potatoes, and it all hits the spot. Opener "Procreating Satan" sets the tone, combining hypnotic, Darkthrone-like minor-key riffing with fierce blastbeats and distorted vocals screams that approach the realm of pure electronic noise. Subsequent tracks find the band veering into classic midpaced metal tempos, dirgeful doom sections, and a few instrumental passages that might impress some as "technical" if they weren't also so musical and effortless-sounding. The production is excellent, too, keeping the band out of the black metal basement ghetto without getting too slick or polished. Twilight is less flashy than recent efforts by fellow Norwegian-scene veterans like Emperor and Arcturus and less obviously experimental than Incipit Satan or something like Enslaved's Below the Lights, but it works on a very direct level and is one of the stronger efforts by a member of the genre's old guard to come out in the early 2000s.

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