Hailing from Norway in the midst of the black metal boom of 1992, the band's early line-up featured vocalist Hat, guitarist Infernus and drummer Goatpervertor. The moniker had been, naturally, borrowed from Tolkien who had christened the uplands of Mordor Gorgoroth. A demo entitled A Sorcery Written In Blood was recorded in 1994 with the help of bassist Kjettar.
The band's debut was a slab of raw black metal featuring a guest appearance by Samoth of Emperor on bass. Samoth a church burner, etc. had replaced Kjettar who was imprisoned for arson himself! With Samoth jailed the band recruited Storm. Goat left in April of 1994. Hat left in late 1995. The band played shows with Gehenna and Hades.
1996 brought Antichrist and the band was now fronted by Pest who also sang for Obtained Enslavement. The band's new label, Malicious Records, also re-released the band's debut. The band toured in support of Satyricon and Dissection. Under The Sign Of Hell saw the introduction of guitarist Tormentor, bassist T. Reaper and vocalist Gaahl.
Destroyer was issued on Nuclear Blast. More changes were in store when Grim died in 1999. He, reportedly, had overdosed on drugs. Drummer Vrolok sessioned on the next album. Sit Erichsen was the band's next drummer. Live dates, in turn, were further completed with Satyricon's Frost! He was soon replaced by Kvitrafn (ex-Det Hedenske Folk).
The band's future was placed in doubt when Gaahl was incarcerated in Norway in the summer of 2002. Simultaneously Tormentor departed leaving the band with one guitarist in the studio setting. The act had become the domain of Infernus over the years and so the band forged ahead with the recording of a new album in the autumn of 2002 with completion pending the release of Gaahl. Twilight Of The Idols (In Conspiracy With Satan) was released in May, 2003. It featured Kvitrafn on bass.
Following a controversial gig in Krakow, Poland on February 1st. 2004 prosecutors in Poland launched an investigation into whether the act's concert and the filming of a DVD breached that country's laws protecting religion. The show, which was filmed for an upcoming DVD, featured two naked women (with hoods over their heads) and one naked man crucified and covered in sheep's blood, a number of sheep heads on spikes, sheep entrails thrown all over the stage, as well as approximately 80 litres of fresh sheep blood. The whole controversy lead to the band being dropped from the roster of Nuclear Blast. Following being turfed from the Nuclear Blast roster, the band announced that the planned cooperation between the band and drummer Frost had also been cancelled! The main reason was the planned Europe tour in October of Gorgoroth and 1349. Frost's dedication and full-time work with his main bands 1349 and Satyricon made it difficult for him to focus on Gorgoroth as well.
The band ended up not signing with Season Of Mist despite the reports in 2005 after the parties could not reach an agreement and instead signed with Regain Records. Shortly thereafter, singer Gaahl was sentenced to 14 months incarceration for the beating of a 41-year old man and threatening to drink his blood in Norway in 2002. The recording of the album marched on undeterred.
January of 2006 was the harbinger of much news on the band. Infernus was convicted of sexual assault by a Norwegian court. The band continued recording an album called Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam for Regain Records, while bassist King Ov Hell and ex-drummer Kvitrafn formed a new band called Jotunspor. The black metal group’s Gleipnirs Smeder album was issued by Candlelight. King Ov Hell departed from the infernal crew due to personal differences in June, 2006. Guitarist Infernus (a.k.a. Roger Tiegs) founded his own label, Forces Of Satan Records in 2007. The first bands on the label were Black Flame (Italy) and Ophiolatry (Brazil). Regain Records issued a live mini-CD of Gorgoroth entitled Bergen 1996. The two-song CD was recorded at the Garage in Bergen, Norway on May 23rd, 1996 and was originally issued as a seven-inch single called The Last Tormentor.
The group experienced a bona fide rupture in late 2007. Regain Records sided with Infernus on the rights to the name Gorgoroth. Infernus had recruited Tomas Asklund of Dissection and Frank Watkins of Obituary and was working on album called Quantos Possund Ad Satanitatem Trahunt. A version of the band featuring Gaahl existed and had been touring claiming the support of the Norwegian patent office. This version of the band had ceased cooperation with Regain. Poland’s Metal Mind Productions issued the band’s Krakow show of 2004, which lead to much controversy and the eventual dropping of the band by Nuclear Blast Records, on DVD in 2008. Regain Records was ordered to stop selling Gorgoroth’s Live In Greighallen album in July of 2008. Gaahl and King had won their case that the album’s bass tracks were erased and subsequently remixed. Regain Records cautioned that the court has only placed an injunction on the release. Gaahl came out of the closet in a Hard Rock magazine interview in late 2009 and spoke openly about his homosexuality. In March of 2009 Infernus reported that he won the lawsuit in the dispute regarding the ownership of the name of the band. Other band member, King Ov Hell’s, trademark of the band had been overturned apparently. The Oslo District Court stated that King Ov Hell and Gaahl excluded themselves from the band when they tried to fire Infernus in October, 2007. The losers, King and Gaahl, launched God Seed. The team, including guitarist Infernus, that won the rights to the Gorgoroth name spent time at Threeman Recording studio in Stockholm in the middle of 2009 with producer Nico Elgstrand where frontman Pest replaced Gaahl's vocals on the True Norwegian Black Metal - Live In Grieghallen album, which was originally released in June 2008 through Regain Records.
Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt, the ninth full-length from the band, was completed in the summer of 2009. The album was recorded in Tomas Asklund's Monolith Studio and featured Pest on vocals, Infernus on guitars, Frank Watkins of Obituary on bass and Tomas Asklund on drums. Since Infernus wrote all the music and because of all the rehearsals prior to the return of second guitarist Tormentor in 2008, Infernus recorded all guitars on the album. The record was produced by Infernus and co-produced and engineered by Tomas Asklund. It was released through Regain Records on October 21st in Europe and November 11th in Canada. Pulverised Records signed Norwegian black metallers Den Saakaldte in 2009. It featured Mikael Sykelig (ex-Gorgoroth session guitar player) which would issue an album entitled Kapittel II: Faen I Helvete in the autumn of 2010. Gorgoroth returned from Tomas Asklund's Monolith Studio in October of 2010 after putting the finishing touches on a project that had been a secret until then: a complete re-recording of the band's third album Under The Sign Of Hell. It had long been guitarist Infernus' wish to do such a re-recording and now the work was close to complete. In addition, the band would also begin work on the as-yet-untitled next full-length, tentatively scheduled for a late 2011 release. Regain Records would release both albums. Gorgoroth and Vader would tour as The Sign Of Hell Tour 2011. The European trek, which would include more than 45 shows, would begin at the end of October. Sweden’s Regain Records was under financial pressure in 2011. Due to the label’s financial situation, the label postponed the release of Under The Sign Of Hell 2011, which was a re-recording of Gorgoroth's third album. An independent version was being sold by the band on the road however. The band was continuing work on a new album. Gorgoroth would embark on its longest trek yet. Set to cover over 30 cities throughout Europe, and dubbed the Sign Of Hell Tour 2011, the tour was to coincide with the band's re-release of Under The Sign Of Hell in November. Support came from Vader and Valkyrja. The band completed recording its new album, Instinctus Bestialis, due for a mid-2014 release. A label was being sought. The band, featuring remaining original member Infernus, signed to Soulseller Records for a worldwide deal in early 2015. The band's new and tenth studio full-length was entitled Instinctus Bestialis and would be released on June 8th 2015 on digipack CD, limited black vinyl, limited picture vinyl and digitally. In late 2015, Former Obituary and Gorgoroth bassist Frank Watkins died due to cancer. He was 47.
GORGOROTH - TWILIGHT OF THE IDOLS (IN CONSPIRACY WITH SATAN) - NUCLEAR BLAST
"Gorgoroth... always forged their own path," states the band biography. The band's own path is the same path as Darkthrone apparently. That is not a bad thing lest it comes across that way. After all, these Norwegians could easily have incorporated K&F (keyboards & Female vocals), worn a top hat and perpetuated the myth of joke bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of whatever being metal. Instead Gorgoroth - now a quartet - has conjured another album of primitive black metal full of razor sharp rhythms and menacing vocals - the Atari-inspired outro excepted. The band is obviously (still) inspired by Darkthrone, but as the album's title suggests there are hints of Bathory and Venom to be found here as well. The speed, accordingly, can be fast or slow depending on the song. Elsewhere, true black metal fans have to raise an eyebrow given the title of the album's opener Procreating Satan. Imagine the temerity! The delivery might be a little workmanlike, but overall fans may thank hell that one band out there sticks with its roots, evil, face paint and all! - Ali "The Metallian"
GORGOROTH - AD MAJOREM SATHANAS GLORIAM - CANDLELIGHT
Featuring Satyricon drummer Frost, Gorgoroth’s latest opens with a bio listed Wound Open but elsewhere noted as Wound Upon Wound. Speedy black metal intertwined with slower heavy riffing is one simple way of describing song after song of this thirty-one minute release. Devilish, noisy vocals and production carry it further into the depths, of an increasing, rare, true and crushing black metal release. No less beastly in any of its eight songs, Frost, Infernus, King Ov Hell and Gaahl even throw in one or two classic heavy metal riffs in Carving A Giant. They do slow down but don’t stray far in God Seed (Twilight Of The Idols) and Sign Of An Open Eye. Untamed Forces blasts its way in a way not heard of much anymore, and as suddenly as the song ends Exit picks up and carries on even heavier than before.
A look at the bands site seems to point further discrepancies in the order of the songs listed on the provided bio but the impact of the eight songs is undeniable. - Anna Tergel