You might not be familiar with the name God Seed, but the name Gorgoroth should ring a few bells. Infamy, blasphemy, and violent sounding music at its finest, the band has made its presence well known to extreme metal fans and government officials alike.
Gorgoroth was formed in 1992 by the only remaining constant member Infernus after he ‘made a pact with the Devil’ (in his own words). He and the band have experienced a revolving door of bandmates throughout the years, but were finally able to find a relatively permanent bass player and vocalist in the late 1990’s, King ov Hell and Gaahl. Both King and Gaahl performed on/wrote for Gorgoroth albums Incipit Satan (2000), Twilight of the Idols (2003), and Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam (2006), but in 2007 these long-time members tried removing Infernus and secretly copyrighting the name Gorgoroth. Infernus took the issue to court and ended up winning the legal rights to the name by 2009, however, during the dispute, King and Gaahl were preparing material for a new album using the name Gorgoroth. Obviously, that didn’t work out, so King and Gaahl announced that the material they had been preparing would be used for God Seed, their new project. Later that year (2009), God Seed performed at Hellfest Summer Open Air and the With Full Force festival, but at With Full Force, Gaahl revealed that he was quitting (King clarified later he was temporarily retiring from metal) and the band was superseded by Ov Hell. Ov Hell’s debut album used the material they had been preparing during the name dispute; the vocals, however, were taken over by Dimmu Borgir’s Shagrath. To the shock of some, Gaahl recently announced his return to metal and God Seed, which lead to the release of the first album under their name.
I Begin shows a great similarity to Gorgoroth, but also shows a valiant effort to not write more of the same. Although God Seed is an entity of it’s own, it is still deeply tied to its past with Gorgoroth, even down to the band name (a song off of Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam). Their first release as a band was a DVD of a live performance from 2008, where they played at Wacken with a stage recreating the infamous Gorgoroth show in Krakow, PL (you know, the one that got the group banned from the country and had footage confiscated by police…yeah, that one). God Seed had played an incredibly small amount of shows before the release of I Begin, but even those were brought to an end with Gaahl’s departure. Since King ov Hell and Gaahl were primary songwriters for Gorgoroth before the split, this album can almost be seen as a continuation of that era. In fact, the songs released on the DVD of the Wacken show are only those that were composed by King and Gaahl. The fact they can fill a DVD of songs they alone wrote while in Gorgoroth, shows the large magnitude of influence they had in that band.
If you were listening to something other than Black Metal before turning on I Begin, the first track, Awake, serves as a wake up call. It almost becomes necessary to increase the volume in order to be able to decipher what’s being played…not that the playing is sloppy, but conforming to the stereotype of the genre, it sounds like it was recorded with a toaster. The tendon ripping speed of playing serves its purpose, and creates the cold and dark atmosphere you’ve come to expect with anything written by King and Gaahl. As the song progresses, the alternating notes slowly becomes easier to process, and you’re even met with sound effects that portray a disturbing alien encounter. The second track off of the album, This From The Past, was the first song released by the band under the name “God Seed” and also served as their first single. Once again, the song features generated effects that resemble extra terrestrials, making you wonder if the entire album has an overall theme. Up to this point you can easily tell the similarities between Gorgoroth and God Seed, as well as the differences. Gaahl’s voice has slightly changed since the last album he recorded on, but the intensity is the same. The drumming for God Seed is very similar to those in Gorgoroth and it accompanies the music as beautifully as it did in their former band.
Alt Liv is nothing like the first two songs, and is actually very difficult to describe. Instead of creating emotion at a high speed of playing (as they normally do), the song is heavily generated and features a very distinct bass and echoed vocals. If you didn’t know you were listening to Gaahl you may have a hard time figuring out who the singer is, but if you know what you’re listening to it doesn’t seem too incredibly different. Compared with everything else that has ever been composed by King and Gaahl, the song sounds almost ‘out of place’, but still can’t be mistaken as a the product of anyone else. From The Running Of Blood starts with the same style as the second song, but turns into something that sounds more like the first track. The fast pace of playing isn’t subsidized, but it calls upon the use of effects for a period of time and even includes a man screaming. Hinstu Daga utilizes a slower speed and ‘clean’ vocals to portray the dark mood intended, even having moments where Gaahl sings in an over-lording, ancient-sounding tone. Aldrande Tre is my favorite track off of the album, it almost goes back to a Gorgoroth sound and the ending creates a great transition into track 7, Lit. Lit could stand out from any other Black Metal song, it’s interesting, but it definitely suits the album. The Wound, like track 6, is similar to Gorgoroth and the abrupt end makes room for the closing track, Bloodline. This track is, again, quite interesting, but it is a perfect ‘outro’ song.
Overall, the album wasn’t what I was expecting, (even though I don’t think I really know what exactly to expect) but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t pleased. The album is incredibly hard to describe, but out-of-the-ordinary elements come together to draw the album into one and give it a clear separation from Gorgoroth while keeping a good portion of their old sound. The songs jump around from their trademark Black Metal composition to well produced effects which makes it a slight bit confusing, but I guess it’s one of those ‘must listen to to understand’ kind of things. No matter if the album is your cup of tea or not, it proves that the musicianship of the writers has not dissolved, and you can easily tell the large amount of thought that went into the album. All together, it’s definitely worth checking out to make your own verdict, and shouldn’t be passed over in lieu of Gorgoroth just because it doesn’t have the name.
2. This From The Past
3. Alt Liv
4. From The Running Of Blood
5. Hinstu Dagar
6. Aldrande Tre
8. The Wound