Sound — 9
Gorgoroth, for me, have always been the kings of Norwegian black metal. I find this album very similar in style to their last album "In The Twilight Of Idols" musically, lyrically and in it's atmosphere and spirit. A lot of their early material had a very harsh, thin sound, easily comparable to early black metal like Darkthrone and Mayhem, but this album has a brutal, thick and violent sound running all the way through. Songs like, "Wound Upon Wound", "Godseed" and "Whiteseed" hold tremendous blast beats from the drums (frost from satyricon), screaming from the gaahl and a havoc of guitars from infernus and king. where as songs like "Carving A Giant", "Sign Of An Open Eye" and "Prosperity And Beauty" hold maginificent brutal riffs and atmosphere. To me, this new black metal sound created by Gorgoroth could be classed as the beginning of the 4th wave of black metal.
Lyrics — 9
I think Gaahl has been the best lyricist, front man and vocalist for Gorgoroth yet. I do not think there is one word on this album that is not about satanish, anti-religion, spiritualistic freedom etc. Many of the lyrics on the album (the ones which you can decipher) hold such an epic atmosphere that it would frighten of a whole horde of viking warriors. Twice in the album Gaahl screams in a tortured manner, once at the beggining of a song and once at the end of a song where he is chanting and it dissolves into a wail that is so beautiful it is almost painfull to listen to.
Overall Impression — 9
As I previously mentioned, this album is not so different musically from their last. But these two albums were a massive move from albums such as "Under The Sign Of Hell" and "Destroyer", which are equally as impressive. I would certainly say that this album is worth listening to for all black metal fans, even though, it is undergone more production than the 2nd wave of black metal bands would have done. My favourite songs on the album are "Sign Of An Open Eye," this track has a phenominal, almost doom-metal riff, against a keyboard back drop and deep mutterings from gaahl, "Godseed" and "Prosperity and Beauty". I would certainly buy this album again if I lost it.