Release DetailsLABEL Indie Recordings
RELEASED ON 10/22/2012
Thoroughly compelling, masterfully crafted, and strictly professional, I Begin lives up to the expectations without necessarily obeying them.
After several years of quarrels, court disputes, and confusion over when the album would see the light of day, Gaahl and King ov Hell’s post-Gorgoroth vision has finally arrived; and boy oh boy is it a doozy. After recruiting some journeyman members of the Norwegian black metal community, God Seed laid down the 43 minutes of black (and blackened) metal that make up I Begin. Long time fans of the Gaahl-King-Infernus Gorgoroth days will be pleased at how this absolutely lives up to any and all expectations of quality. However, the amount of variety spread throughout the riffs, instrumental stylings, and songwriting choices is something that may come as a bit of a surprise (even to those who are familiar with some of King of Hell’s other works). They didn’t toss any book out of a window, but they certainly shredded a few pages. This is a flat-out ballsy and open presentation to the grizzled Norwegian black metal hordes, not to mention a debut to remember.
The touches of variety that God Seed offers up on I Begin work so brilliantly because they made sure to inject them into every facet of the music. Guitars whirl in tremolo action, flutter strum, machine gun fire, gallop, and chug. Keyboards range from quirky oddball effects and grandiose symphonic metal all the way to sounds of a Hammond B3 straight out of a Deep Purple album. The drums follow suit, blasting, rocking, driving, and generally setting the stage. Gaahl himself offers up a varied performance, screeching, singing, and whispering to fit the passage. And of course everything is crystal clear and perfectly balanced without offering an ounce of sheen that would betray God Seed’s death-by-icicle-to-the-eye-socket intent.
On one hand, this shows off the various talents of the members of God Seed, but on the other, more important one, it serves to make this album feel alive. Opener “Awake” moves from its hyper-blasting beginnings to proggy hooks and wacky keys straight from latter-day Emperor, all while building towards a raging finale. “Alt Liv” is a showcase for Ghaal’s preaching side, setting the stage with mid-tempo symphonic work before he delivers a determined chorus. “Hinstu Daga” lets him do a bit of crooning, “Aldrande Tre” brings the fucking guitar flurry, “Lit” offers what could be brooding blackened doom had it been slowed by about 40 BPM, all before “The Wound” kicks it up with its blend of Dissectionesque melody and catch-and-release riff violence.
It seems as if God Seed wanted to indulge all of their various musical ambitions but still stay true to what was expected of them. They have done just that and more. While purists (who live in their grandparents’ basements) may scream foul that this isn’t just Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam Pt. II, the rest of us can sit back and feast on the veritable bounties within. Thoroughly compelling, masterfully crafted, and strictly professional, I Begin lives up to the expectations without necessarily obeying them. Gaahl and King ov Hell could have just made a raw, single-minded, blistering black metal album – it likely would have kicked an army of ass – but instead they chose the more difficult path, and in doing so have reaped greater rewards.