Gorgoroth- Under the Sign of Hell

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, January 20, 2008

Completing our look at Regain Records’ three Gorgoroth reissues, we now take a look at the group’s third album Under the Sign of Hell. Originally released in 1997 and featuring vocalist Pest taking over the reigns from Hat (who left shortly after the release of Antichrist), this album features better production values than its predecessor while still offering raw, uncompromising black metal. Though there may have been numerous lineup changes in between the group’s previous release and Under the Sign of Hell, it doesn’t hurt it in the least.

Though vocalist switches can sometimes mess up a band and turn away their fan base, Pest thankfully has a vocal range that isn’t that different from Gorgoroth’s former vocalist Hat. Still higher pitched than the majority of the black metal vocalists at the time and even more insane and maniacal in style than Hat was, Pest’s involvement signals a welcome direction for the group. He may have only been with them as a full time vocalist for this album, but the maniacal screams that are demonic sounding (and fully audible thanks to a better production) make Under the Sign of Hell a blistering black metal masterpiece.

While the first couple of tracks have some strange drum compositions (with the drum work sounding mechanical and a little off the beat) the rest of the album delivers. Gorgoroth has better production and mixing qualities this time around, but despite making everything clearer and easier to hear their riffs are just as raw and loud as ever. Infernus still cranks out Grade A riffs, though it sounds like on Under the Sign of Hell he is beginning to dive into those traditional heavy yet atmospheric riffs that the band would continue to make use of in the albums to come.

Gorgoroth’s third album shows that even with some lineup changes and increased production values a black metal band can stay raw and deliver black metal on par with any of their previous material. With slightly more likeable vocals (compared to Pentagram and Antichrist) and some absolutely killer riffs, this is yet another album from a band that doesn’t have many duds in their discography. Perhaps now that Regain Records has reissued the band’s first three albums Infernus will take a look at them and gain some inspiration for Gorgoroth’s next release.


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