Gorgoroth - Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan)
Nuclear Blast
Modernized Black Metal
8 songs (32:54)
Release year: 2003
Gorgoroth, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Aaron
Archive review

Gorgoroth just won’t give up, will they? Now that Ghaal is in prison, but able to record vocals, and the band as a unit is working together better than ever, they can finally write the music that they wanted everyone to listen to on Incipit Satan, but somehow screwed up. I blamed it on Ghaal’s sudden distractions, but that’s just me. (NOTE: I know this probably isn’t the case, but allow me to delude myself, alright? I’d rather not think that Gorgoroth can actually write lousy or mediocre music)

Incipit Satan was received… how shall we say… in a rather lukewarm manner. Reviews found it to be overly experimental and lacking in any real vision. You see, in the black metal world, in order to innovate, you can do it one of two ways.

Way one is attempted by many and done correctly by few. Start off as playing traditional Darkthrone/Burzum rip-off metal, but write really good songs. Put out… maybe two or three albums of that, steadily increasing an aspect of the music… such as the epic qualities or the progressive, overly technical tendencies, and then make an album that leans heavily on this concept or aspect. Chances are, your fans, who will have become steadily accustomed to this, will embrace it, as long as the songwriting remains excellent.

Way two is to just change greatly after a few albums, but send no real hints of this beforehand. This way usually gets the lukewarm reception that Incipit Satan received and usually not in such a kind manner when addressed to bands without Gorgoroth’s pedigree.

Incipit Satan was them attempting way two, but botching it. The industrial aspects of that album were way overblown, and made for mediocre listening, despite their brilliance. Industrial sound passages have to convey a certain mood if used by a black metal band, and must be used in moderation. Most of the songs on Incipit Satan did neither, and it ended up sounding pompous and exaggerated in a desperate attempt to distinguish themselves from the pack.

Luckily, on Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan), it all comes together, and in an absolutely brilliant manner.

Since it’s Ghaal on vocals again, everyone knows what to expect. His vocals sound somewhat like the next evolution in melodeath more then black metal throat-tearing screeches, but they suffice due to the aggression and conviction with which he screams and roars out his sickeningly evil lyrics. He’s aided quite a bit with the distortion that the production lays onto his voice, but that’ll be discussed in the next paragraph. Really, Ghaal is a superb vocalist who dares to try and sound different. Really, how many more Ihsahn clones can get away with what they’re doing before everyone gets sick of it? I’m already tired of them.

The production on this release is oddly distorted. Nothing is really so far back in the mix that you can’t keep track of it, and the vocals aren’t too far up. The drums are perfectly audible and have no irritating sound to them, the guitars have a nice, heavy crush (not crunch) feeling to them, as if they’re describing or rhapsodizing about the house that’s about to land squarely upon your head and kill you instantly. The bass is juuuuust right.

Now, as for the ‘industrial sound samples’ part of the equation, don’t you worry: They’re kept to an overall minimum and don’t figure as prevalently in this release as they did in Incipit Satan. There are a couple of midway passages and outros that make use of them, but if you don’t want to hear them, you can usually skip them quickly. The last track, admittedly, is a fifty-second ambience piece that does nothing except take up space, so I recommend that you skip it.

The album makes a statement in brutality by blasting out of the gate with the extremely fast Procreating Satan. Dizzying tremolo riffing combined with Ghaal’s harsh and powerful screams and some well-done drumming combine to form a song that dominates the air that it can influence effortlessly- the sort of song that most older black metal bands eventually forget how to write.

The second song has the potential to blast you out of your seat as well, though it does so in a more subtle way with a slower tempo and more precise, deathy riffing. Around 1:38, there’s a series of extremely loud and deep roars that make me wonder if Ghaal is actually from Jupiter or someplace of the sort, as it doesn’t sound like a human would have the lung capacity to perform such screams, let alone hold them for so long.

On and on Gorgoroth speed, creating bestial atmospheres and ominous themes through total cleansing black metal, especially in the utterly brilliant Exit Through Carved Stones and the vile Forces of Satan Storms. Certain portions of the album paint a doomy landscape, evoking Forest of Equilibrium-era Cathedral in terms of riffing and general feel, though, luckily, Ghaal never tries to sing.

Twilight of the Idols (In Conspiracy with Satan) is an example of a band at the very top of its creative hill, at the very peak of artistic form. May Gorgoroth stay there for as long as this stays in my playlist (IE: forever.)

Killing Songs :
Procreating Satan, Proclaiming Mercy (Damaging the Instinct of Man), Exit Through Carved Stones, Forces of Satan Storms, Blog Od Minne, Of Ice and Movement
Aaron quoted 97 / 100
Daniel quoted 96 / 100
Other albums by Gorgoroth that we have reviewed:
Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt reviewed by Alex and quoted 93 / 100
Gorgoroth - Pentagram - Antichrist - Under the Sign of Hell reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Gorgoroth - Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam reviewed by Alex and quoted 88 / 100
Gorgoroth - Incipit Satan reviewed by Daniel and quoted 67 / 100
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