Originally reviewed here.
Any discussion of God Seed will necessarily include some discussion about the band's origins. The album title here is particularly apt because of this. God Seed is made up of King ov Hell and Gaahl, formerly of black metal psychos Gorgoroth. In actuality, these two members attempted to carry forward with the name Gorgoroth after splitting from Infernus. A lengthy court battle ensued with Infernus actually being granted the rights to the name Gorgoroth. In the meantime, God Seed formed for a couple of months and then disbanded when Gaahl retired temporarily. King used the material written for God Seed for a project with Dimmu Borgir's Shagrath which was called Ov Hell. Gaahl eventually returned and God Seed was formed.
God Seed has already released a live album from Wacken and a single. This is the debut full-length however and the first exposure that a lot of people will get to the band. Expectations are certainly high as Gorgoroth has been a stalwart in the Norwegian black metal scene for a very long time.
Gorgoroth has always been known for particularly hateful black metal that had moments of softness to it. God Seed for the most part follows this same formula. The riffs are explosive and Earth-shaking. The atmosphere is still cold and terrifying. One of the things that I always liked most about Gorgoroth was their ability to be punishing and brutal one second and be dissonant and unsettling the next. God Seed accomplishes this same fluid shift throughout most of this album. For example, the band shifts easily from the darkwave-sounding "Hinstu Daga" to the much more traditional black metal crunch of "Aldrande Tre".
The truly unusual moments are the usage of electronics, keyboards, and organs. Gorgoroth did not do a lot of experimenting with different instrumentation in their releases, but God Seed actually employs a member to play the keyboards. This is kind of an unusual thing for a black metal band that does not fall into the melodic black metal genre. But the keyboard moments do work. They add a certain unsettling flair to the already destructive and evil riffing and vocals.
This is a widely varied album. Gorgoroth had been working towards that and perfected it. Their early albums were simply fast barrages of riffs. The band slowly added more and more atmosphere to their music. God Seed does a fantastic job in carrying this forward on this release. Gaahl's vocals fit in well with this constantly evolving sound. He uses a variety of vocal styles from high-pitched rasp, to deep-throated bellow, to some actual clean moments. One thing is for certain though, they are never boring.
So we finally got that God Seed album from the dismissed members of Gorgoroth and it is everything it was hoped to be. This album proves that the second wave Norwegian black metal band members are still capable of putting out some high-quality releases.