Of all the old early 90's Norwegian black metal classics, Gorgoroth's debut, 'Pentagram' has always ranked among my favorites. With a simple title, cover artwork and a straightforward true to the bone black metal sound and production, it's an undeniable must hear recording.
Formed as early as '92, in Bergen, Gorgoroth had released the demo, 'A Sorcery Written in Blood' & 'Promo '94' before this recording, and all but one of the songs from these early efforts are present on this debut, although re-recorded, of course.
Largely overshadowing everything the band would release after this, Pentagram is a supreme recording of raw, yet quite melodic and utterly evil sounding black metal. Vocalist, Hat (Norwegian for Hate) writhes loose some of most malevolent raspy shrieks every captured on tape, which still to this day give me the fucking creeps with their sheer larynx ripping terror. Infernus' guitar work and his punishing melodious riffs have that ability to make the hairs on my arm stand on end, which to me is the sign of something truly dark and baneful, while Samoth's rumbling low end bass work is like the bowels of hell about to erupt below me and Goat Pervertor's galloping drum work makes me feel as if I've got the Devil on my heel's. In the end what I'm trying to say is that no matter what way you look at it this recording has an aura of pure calamitous wickedness around it and I love every single second of it.
At just twenty nine minutes and eight songs deep there is plenty to love on, Pentagram too. From the powerfully, speedy and may I say catchy opener, 'Begravelsesnatt' to the slightly slower and more atmospheric, 'Crushing the Scepter (Regaining a Lost Dominion)' and onwards to the direful, 'Ritual,' Pentagram starts off flawlessly. 'Drømmer om Død' has one of sickest and darkest riffs ever wrote, while, 'Katharinas Bortgang' is a pummeling affair with one of the best build ups ever. 'Huldrelokk' is easily the best black metal instrumental I've heard with a lot of those hair raising parts to it, whilst '(Under) The Pagan Megalith' is a fucking shredding head banger of a song and the closer, 'Måneskyggens Slave' is some of the most nefarious black metal ever heard, simple as that.
Two years after this release, 'Antichrist' was unleashed, which is almost identical in style and production quality, while in '97, 'Under the Sign of Hell' proved to be the last decent Gorgoroth album. Much of what the band did from here on was painfully bland blast beat driven black metal or even slightly experimental stuff and when all the crazy hi-jinks involving the bands members began to happen the band had truly reached a state of hopelessness. Although 2009's, 'Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt' was a bit better and definitely a step in the right direction.
Regardless of my personal opinion on their other efforts, you need, 'Pentagram' in your collection. Absolutely one of my all-time favorites.