CIRITH GORGOR is a name that you will no doubt recognise, but whether from the Lord Of The Rings books or from this Dutch Black Metal band is another story. CIRITH GORGOR had always been a name I had heard mentioned in discussions of quality Black Metal with melody, and with "Firestorm Apocalypse", their new album and first on Ketzer Records, the band delivers exactly what was to be expected.
Clocking in at just under an hour "Firestorm Apocalypse" uses many intricate devices to create very seamless tracks. Their use of melody in combination with very aggressive DARK FUNERAL or even later GORGOROTH inspired sections allows the contrast to create very varied, yet balanced atmospheres. Considering their lengthy compositions, three tracks here break the 10 minute barrier, CIRITH GORGOR gave themselves a difficult taste of blending the melodic passages with the more aggressive without letting any track become stale before its end. It pleases me to report that the band have indeed succeeded in achieving this and more as "Firestorm" apocalypse proves to be a very impressive listen.
The production is quite interesting on this album as it is very powerful and very clear, much more so than the vast majority of albums in the genre, yet there is little or no bass. The production however is very effective for showcasing the interesting riffs and their everchanging compositions. The percussion is allowed to shine and, although being quite low in the mix compared to the guitars, provides a very solid backdrop for the more detailed guitars. Vocally also CIRITH GORGOR come across as full of passion and heart for what it is they are trying to accomplish. Harsh mid to high pitched screams are delivered at times powerfully and at others relentlessly showcasing more variety in mood and objective.
Musically the band doesn't venture into uncharted territory. They merely play a powerful blend of Black Metal that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to those who appreciate both eras of the mighty GORGOROTH, and while this may not quite reach the dizzying heights of those great Norse men it does prove itself to be a very rewarding and worthwhile listen. The melodies they create are powerful and catchy yet don't quite reach the presence of say "Transilvanian Hunger", yet for all out speed, power and evilness this record is definitely one of the most impressive I have heard recently, and sits comfortably just below the recent WATAIN album. (Online October 10, 2004)