God Seed – I Begin
Release: LP, 2012 (Indie Recordings)
Genre: Black Metal
Sonic Brethren: Gorgoroth, Emperor, Marduk
It took me some time to get around to listening to the new God Seed. I’ve never been a huge fan of the straight-forward second wave Scandinavian stuff, partly because I didn’t grow up during that time and partly because I’ve always liked my black metal spicy; with a little dash of something extra thrown in. But after I was blown away by the newest Marduk offering I decided that once in a while you need to listen to something that doesn’t pull any punches and just goes straight for the jugular. The recent batch of Indie Recordings outputs have also been of pretty damn high quality, so after seeing a surprisingly low amount of press surrounding this album, I finally caved and decided to give Gorgoroth 2.0 a shot.
Gaahl and king return with an undead army, but not one you would think would be capable of cobbling something entirely unique. And the ripping, straight-forward barrage seems to be about what you would expect, until the trve black metal façade gets turned on its head three minutes into opener “Awake,” because a fucking keyboard rears its head. Maybe if I had done a few seconds of research this would have been expected, but I didn’t and I’m glad of that; because this surprise curveball is what makes the album. It’s not just an ambient, chord-enhancing backer that are enlisted in many a Norwegian horde, it’s a retro organ, seemingly ripped right from the hands of a recent Opeth release or hell, even Ghost. And it’s fucking fantastic.
But it’s far from the only surprise on I Begin. Third track “Alt Liv” already cools the album’s blistering pace, showing off a beautifully trilly keyboard ditty that drives this crushing mid-tempo beast and handily creates the best track on the album. For the duration of the full-length, the infamous Norwegians continue to break black metal boundaries left and right. Rich, beautifully recorded instruments have been accepted into the bm canon for a while now, but combining them with so much palm muting, floating song structures and the aforementioned keys is not something you would expect from such a group, it all blends together perfectly.
It would be a hard sell to label this as experimental black metal, but if the band progresses any further that descriptor could be perfectly fitting… and there’s nothing wrong with that. This album is the ultimate “fuck you” to Pest and the legal issues that created this project, not to mention kvlt purists that worship the church burning days of yore. With that said, don’t expect to hear a genre–changing album as there are many nods to the former iteration of the band as they carve giants and battle many an untamed force. What makes I Begin great is the shattering of all illusion and expectation and the showcase of musicians who were born to play together.
Final thoughts: A pleasantly non-canon black metal release from some of Norway’s finest, God Seed put legal troubles behind them and speak out with an impressive and unique debut.