GORGOROTH are a much overlooked band when compared with the likes of IMMORTAL, DARKTHRONE and MAYHEM, yet when all is compared GORGOROTH have as much to offer the Black Metal listener as any of those more celebrated bands in the shape of their early masterworks "Pentagram" and "Antichrist". I have not heard a bad word said (other than short running time) about either of these two necro Black Metal masterpieces and the only unfortunate thing is that I have not heard enough opinions at all as most people tend to overlook GORGOROTH in favour of their more famous countrymen.
Many people felt that when GORGOROTH changed their style with "Destroyer" that they would never again contest to be the best of the elite Black Metal bands but that they would fade away into the chaotic haphazard world created in "Destroyer". GORGOROTH however continued on in this fashion and after two attempts with "Destroyer" and "Incipit Satan" have returned with "Twilight Of The Idols", a more refined and less random approach.
"Twilight Of The Idols" continues in the same vein of "new" GORGOROTH as being very heavy modern Black Metal with more affinity to the sound of battle than the sound of winter. A much more brutal album than the standard set in Black Metal "Twilight Of The Idols" is delivered with a more precise stab than "Destroyer's" wild slash and sounds all the better for it as this album reeks of hateful directed aggression.
The opening of the album "Procreating Satan" has some throwbacks to early MAYHEM and IMMORTAL in its ferocity as it leaps out of your speakers with relentless drum beats and pummelling guitar riffage heavy enough to blow you away. The vocals appear to be a lot more aggressive than ever before and have a similar effect to Satyr on SATYRICON's "Volcano" album. The more rhythmic sections of this album especially in the fantastic "Exit Through Carved Stones" sound strongly influenced by later day DARKTHRONE with its mid tempo marching beat which is very effective, as effective as the brutality in fact, in heightening the war like feel created by this album.
A common thing these days in war like Black Metal albums is the use of unusual chanted clean vocals and GORGOROTH are no exception yet thankfully we are spared the cheese of Maniac's performance on "A Grand Declaration Of War". Aside from this the vocals are fitting with the more brutal approach of GORGOROTH's modern efforts but although they are technically much stronger they are not as individual or characteristic as those on their early masterpieces.
The guitar work however is great as GORGOROTH use plenty of IMMORTAL styled tremolo strummed riffs as well as some great Death Metal inspired chugging, which is often more fitting for this more brutal approach. The chugging even goes as far as to remind me of Jon Schaffer of ICED EARTH fame in its tightness. The drumming interchanges frequently from relentless kicking and blast beats to nice DARKTHRONE style rhythmic work, which is great in the slower mid tempo sections.
"Blod Og Minne" is a fantastic up tempo war like track with great screaming vocals and guitar work before a break into the march drums and some great mid tempo chugg riffing. This is possibly my highlight of the album for its variation and intensity. A classic in every way. "Of Ice and Movement" opens to a fantastic "Transilvanian Hunger" inspired section of pure grimness and is a brilliant tribute to the early days of Black Metal. The track progresses into a slow paced outro, which again is a great tribute both to DARKTHRONE and to early GORGOROTH themselves. This track is also amongst the finest cuts from the album but the outro is really unnecessary as it sounds too mechanical for my liking and goes on for far too long. The final synth track should also not have been included as its simply filler and serves no purpose other than to annoy and destroy the fantastic atmosphere created by the rest of the album.
While "Twilight Of The Idols" is a fantastic work of modern Black Metal which shows that Black Metal is still alive and kicking it lacks that powerful mystique achieved by the more classic works of the more traditional styled Black Metal bands and I for one have always and will always prefer the mystery and majesty of the cold winter landscape painted by this band in its earlier days. (Online July 8, 2003)