MusicMight





In Association with Amazon.com
Musicians | Biography | Discography | Links
NORWAY, Hyllestad

Date Formed 1992

Categories: Black Metal, Death Metal

GORGOROTH

Current Members

Past Members

Live Session Members

Studio Session Members

Biography

Arch Black Metal band GORGOROTH, named after the Tolkien mythical landscapes that breed evil and led by guitarist Infernus (a.k.a. Roger Tiegs), emerged in 1992 as a trio including vocalist Hat ('Hate' in Norwegian) and drummer Goat Pervertor. Having scaled the rankings in the latter part of the genres evolution, GORGOROTH is probably the only major Norwegian contender to still provoke establishment outrage by way of the outlandish exploits of the unit onstage and singer Gaahl's (Kristian Eivind Espedal) frequent brushes with the law and, in 2008, his announcement that he was gay.

The band, based in Hyllestad, debuted on 28th April 28th with a demo, entitled 'A Sorcery Written In Blood', featuring two tracks 'Sexual Bloodgargling' and '(Under) The Pagan Megalith' preceded by the intro 'Gathered At Blåkulla', actually a minute plus of incoherent screaming. A further cassette, simply entitled 'Promo' 94', captured two more songs 'Katharinas Bortgang' and 'Maaneskuggens Slave'. The opening 1994 'Pentagram' album, recorded at Grieghallen Studios with producer Pytten (a.k.a. Eirik Hundvin) for French label Embassy Productions, featured EMPEROR's Samoth (a.k.a. Tomas Thormodsæter Haugen) on bass, due to the group's original bassist Kjetter being imprisoned for his involvement in the burning of the 800 year old church Skjold Stavkirke.

A deliberate absence of lyrics, artwork and self-aggrandising promotion neatly served to focus purely on the musical content. The antecedent demo tracks all benefited from a re-cut whilst 'Sexual Bloodgargling' would be re-recorded under a revised title of 'Ritual'. 'Pentagram' gave no quarter, GORGOROTH's grim and disciplined machinations unfettered by keyboards, atmospherics, effects. Further contributions also came from SATYRICON drummer Frost (a.k.a. Kjetil Haraldstad). Samoth himself was imprisoned for church burning and was duly replaced by Storm.

On the heels of the album Malicious Records issued the 7" red vinyl EP 'The Last Tormentor', two live tracks recorded at The Garage venue in Bergen on May 23rd that year. The June 1996 'Antichrist - True Norwegian Black Metal' album saw a switch to the German imprint Malicious Records, who also re-issued 'Pentagram', and featured second vocalist and guitarist Pest of OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT. Essentially a studio project of Infernus at this juncture, GORGOROTH's second album, clocking in at a rather sparse 25 minutes encompassing just five full tracks and a 20 second intro 'En Stram Lukt av Kristent Blod', found the mainman supplying both guitar and bass for these sessions. For touring in Europe alongside SATYRICON and DISSECTION the band's line-up evolved further to comprise Infernus, ex-IMMORTAL drummer Erik Brødreskift, as 'Grim', with AETURNUS front man Ares on bass.

It was all change again as further line-up ructions hit GORGOROTH after the October 1997 'Under The Sign Of Hell' opus, again cut by Pytten at Grieghallen Lydstudio. For this outing the group de-tuned for a more guttural effect but dramatically increased the quota of riffing. Further experimentation resulted in the montage of backward spliced chanting that comprised 'Postludium' and the ponderously uncharacteristic 'The Devil Is Calling'.

Infernus was now joined by guitarist Tormentor (a.k.a. Bøllo Heyerdahl), MALIGNENT ETERNAL and OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT bassist T. Reaper (Torgrim), TRELLDOM vocalist Gaahl with AETURNUS and THY GRIEF drummer Vrolok (Erik Heggernes). GORGOROTH switched to the aggressive Nuclear Blast label in Germany for the high profile 'Destroyer, Or About How To Philophize With The Hammer' album in May 1998. This outing, mixed by HYPOCRISY's Peter Tägtgren, included an unaccredited version of DARKTHRONE's 'Slottet I Det Fjerne'. Keyboard contributions for these sessions, poignant on the industrialized 'På Slagmark Langt Mot Nord', came courtesy of Daimonion (a.k.a. Ivar Peersen / / Ivar Bjørnson) of BORKNAGAR, BLOODFLOWERS, DESEKRATOR, ENSLAVED, MYSTICUM, VULCANA, PHOBIA and OBNOXIOUS repute.

Grim and Infernus would also be operational as members of BORKNAGER. Infernus featured on the DESEKRATOR 'Metal For Demons' album of 1999. That year Gaahl activated the solo project SIGFADER, issuing the 'Sigfaders Hevner' sessions. On October 4th of the same year erstwhile drummer Grim would die, some conjecture being as to whether the cause being the results of drug abuse or suicide.

With King Ov Hell now installed on bass, GORGOROTH's February 2000 album 'Incipit Satan, laid down at Sunlight Studios, was to be the group's most adventurous to date, employing samples, keyboard enhancements and the quite surreal prospect of the 50s 'Death Rock' excursion 'When Love Rages Wild in My Heart'. The record saw the drum stool now occupied by former MOLESTED man Erlend 'Sersjant' Erichsen. However, this latest recruit would soon be supplanted by Kvitrafn (Einar Selvik) of DET HEDENSKE FOLK. The instability on the drum stool continued as, scheduled to play South American dates in Mexico and Colombia, Kvitrafn injured his arm. Frost of SATYRICON would take the position temporarily.

GORGOROTH rounded off 2001 by donating their take on 'Life Eternal' to a MAYHEM tribute compiled by the Avant-garde label. Recording of a new album would be delayed as Gaahl, sentenced to a year in jail, appealed his sentence. Gaahl was sentenced without parole after an episode of extreme violence where he had repeatedly assaulted his victim. In addition, he was ordered to pay 158,000 kronor in punitive damages. By early May it would be revealed that Gaahl was indeed serving time, his sentence scheduled to run until December. During this period Tormentor had left the band.

With Gaahl released from jail, GORGOROTH began laying down vocals at Shimmer Recordings in Bergen for the album 'Twilight Of The Idols (In Conspiracy With Satan)'. The original album sleeve was withdrawn in Europe as it depicted the ruins of the 12th century Fantoft stave church burned by BURZUM's Count Grishnackh on June 6th 1992. The GORGOROTH duo of Tormentor and Infernus founded the ORCUSTUS band project in league with ex-ENSLAVED drummer Dirge Rep. This trio debuted with a limited edition 'World Dirt Nap' 7" single.

The band landed themselves in a legal situation due to a supposedly "horrific" live performance in early 2004. GORGOROTH's show on February 1st at the Krakow TV studios in Poland before an invited audience prompted an investigation to determine whether the group had violated the country's laws by having "offended religious beliefs". GORGOROTH filmed the performance for a projected DVD release. The show included two hooded, naked girls and a naked man, all in the crucifixion position and daubed in sheep's blood. On top of this, the scene was made the more gory by having sheep's heads on spikes and sheep entrails strewn about the blood soaked stage. The show's producers claim they were not informed in advance of the nature of the performance. Metal Mind productions had procured the sheep parts and the group had set up the staging behind a curtain.

To add to the band's woes Gaahl faced a court appearance in April for allegedly "ritually" beating a man in February of 2002. According to the alleged victim's statement this abuse of a man in his forties was supposed to have been conducted at a remote farm in Fjaler in Sunnfjord, ending with the vocalist taking blood from the victim and then drinking it. If convicted the singer faced up to nine years in prison. Gaahl's mother, appearing in court in his defence, claimed she found the allegations of blood drinking unbelievable because the singer is "a vegetarian and very fussy about food". Gaahl was sentenced at Sunnfjord court in Forde to 18 months in prison. In addition to the jail term, Gaahl was ordered to pay 75,000 NOK to the victim, plus an additional 29,000 NOK in damages.

Adding to the band's turmoil GORGOROTH parted ways with Nuclear Blast Records in April. Drummer Kvitrafn would also be replaced by the familiar figure of Frost once again. However, after a matter of weeks this union would be broken off, Frost citing conflicting priorities with SATYRICON.

In July GORGOROTH wrapped up songwriting sessions for the 'Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam' album and set about auditioning drummers. Meantime, Gaahl had appealed his sentence. In September the band recruited drummer Dirge Rep (a.k.a. Per Husebø) of ORCUSTUS, ENSLAVED, EMPEROR and GEHENNA repute alongside guitarist Teloch of ORCUSTUS and NIDINGR as session musicians for their Mexican and European tours. 1349 acted as support for the latter shows. Once on the road in South America GORGOROTH soon hit the news yet again as a show in San Salvador erupted into a full scale riot.

The French label Season Of Mist licensed the band's early catalogue of albums, 'Pentagram' from 1994, 'Antichrist' of 1996 and 'Under The Sign Of Hell' first issued in 1997 for remastered, digipack release in early 2005. For a new studio album, the group signed to Regain Records. However, on 22nd February Gaahl was sentenced to one year and two months in jail by the Gulating court of appeals. Despite this, GORGOROTH announced European touring, partnered with 1349, for November, concerts on this run being recorded for a live album 'True Norwegian Black Metal'.

The band's woes continued though when in early May guitarist Infernus, along with a friend, was sentenced to three years imprisonment by a Norwegian court. The musician was found guilty of assaulting a 29 year old woman on 27th April 2004 after meeting her at the Garage nightclub in Bergen. Infernus, who appealed the verdict, was also ordered to pay 100,000 NOK in court costs plus an additional 55,000 NOK in punitive damages.

GORGOROTH bassist King ov Hell, together with ex-GORGOROTH drummer Kvitrafn, founded a new Black Metal project billed JOTUNSPOR in early 2006. A debut album, 'Gleipnirs Smeder', was readied for release. The same duo also forged trad Doom outfit SAHG in alliance with MANNGARD singer Olav Iversen and AUDREY HORNE guitar player Thomas Tofthagen.

GORGOROTH wrapped up recording of the 'Ad Majorem Satanhas Gloriam' album in early April. That same month brought news that both Gaahl and Dirge Rep had participated in SECHT, a Black Metal collective boasting an impressive cast involving CARPATHIAN FOREST personnel Vrangsinn, Nattefrost and Nordavind, Nag of TSJUDER, Nocturno Culto from DARKTHRONE, Apollyon of AURA NOIR plus Høst from RAGNAROK and TAAKE amongst others.

In June GORGOROTH parted ways with bassist King ov Hell, issuing a statement "King has recently had problems fronting some of the ideological aspects of his band GORGOROTH's agenda. As a result, it has now been mutually agreed upon that henceforth he is no longer a member of the band."

Infernus was released from prison in March 2007. That same month former drummer Kvitrafn joined DEAD TO THIS WORLD.

GORGOROTH first DVD, released by Polish label Metal Mind Productions and entitled 'Black Mass Krakow 2004', featuring video footage of the band's infamous February 1st 2004 concert in Krakow, Poland plus performance footage recorded live at the 'With Full Force' festival in Leipzig, Germany in 2000, entered the Norwegian Music DVD chart at no. 4.

It then transpired that both Infernus and King were equally stoic in laying claim to the GORGOROTH band title as both musicians utilised the brand for career advancement. Patentstyret, the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, granted King the legal right to use the GORGOROTH name and logo for commercial purposes.

In December Infernus revealed his version of GORGOROTH was to include Tomas Asklund of DISSECTION and Frank Watkins from OBITUARY for a new album entitled 'Quantos Possund ad Satanitatem Trahunt' through Regain Records.

In 2008 Gaahl revealed that he was gay, the first high profile Black Metal musician to admit so. Gaahl's former boyfriend, 20-year-old Norwegian modeling agent Dan DeVero, subsequently told Norwegian media that he had received death threats from the Black Metal community by phone and e-mail.

'True Norwegian Black Metal - Live In Grieghallen' was released in June 2008 via Regain Records. However, the Swedish Hovretten appeal courts in Malmö upheld a decision by authorities at Tingretten in the matter concerning Regain Records' unauthorized release of the album. Regain Records was found in violation of copyrights and agreements made with Gaahl and King.

GORGOROTH entered the studio on 25th August 2008 in the band's hometown of Bergen to begin recording eight new tracks composed by bassist King ov Hell. Along with Gaahl, King and Frost, of 1349 and SATYRICON, on drums, the recording line-up included guitarists Teloch and Ice Dale.

That September Infernus filed a lawsuit against King ov Hell asserting that King, being pointed out as being the sixth bass player in GORGOROTH's history, secretly applied for trademark protection of the GORGOROTH band name and logo in September 2007, which Infernus had been using since 1992.

In early 2009 the legal battle over the GORGOROTH title was finally settled as Infernus secured the rights to the GORGOROTH band name. According to a posting on Infernus' MySpace page, "The court has decided that King ov Hell's trademark registration of the band name GORGOROTH is NOT valid and shall therefore be deleted. The court states that King ov Hell and Gaahl excluded themselves from the band GORGOROTH when they tried to fire Infernus in October 2007. The court further states that Infernus cannot be excluded from GORGOROTH, unless he himself decides to quit." Gaahl and King duly switched title to GOD SEED.

The 2009 incarnation of GORGOROTH, recording the album 'Quantos Possunt ad Satanitatem Trahunt', consisted of vocalist Pest, guitarists Infernus and Tormentor, bassist Frank Watkins and Tomas Asklund on drums. In June GORGOROTH spent time at Threeman Recordings in Stockholm with producer Nico Elgstrand, during which frontman Pest replaced Gaahl's vocals for the 'True Norwegian Black Metal - Live in Grieghallen' album, which had been originally released in June 2008 via Regain Records. Meantime, the new album was wrapped up in early July.

Garry Sharpe-Young

Copyright Musicdetector Websites 2009