GORGOROTH Black Mass Krakow 2004 DVD

Back in 2004, black metallers Gorgoroth put on a show in Poland. Somehow or other, they got their evil little hands on about 50 sheep heads which they impaled on stakes or left strewn randomly about the stage. They also convinced 4 people (2 women and 2 men) to hang naked from crosses, hooded and covered in fake blood. With the stage appropriately set, they put on a show and filmed it for a DVD release. Unfortunately, they did such a nice job visualizing their evil aesthetic that the Polish government confiscated the film, only just recently releasing it to the world.

It was worth the wait. This is a very nice complement to the True Norwegian Black Metal photography book released earlier this year (in fact, that book contains some photos from this show). Black metal, though, is a love it or hate it genre, and if you're not interested or repulsed, then this DVD won't change your mind. But if you dig it or are just curious, this DVD won't disappoint. Judged on technical points alone, it rates highly. There are plenty of camera angles and the film quality and sound are solid. The editors also made the excellent decision to limit the color palette to black, gray, red and yellow, giving an almost art house feel to the production that perfectly complements the single-minded view of the band.

Gorgoroth are a fairly traditional black metal band, which has its negative points, but also makes them a perfect subject for a live DVD from a genre document point of view. Front man Gaahl, considering how immobile he is, is a rather engaging front man and the close-ups of his dead-eye stare are rather cringe-inducing. The rest of the band plays their part well, mugging evilly but not going over the top.

Like I said, this is not for everyone and if nothing discussed above interests you, ignore this review, put on some Stereolab and rest content knowing you are a happy, well-adjusted person. But for those interested in the intersection of evil and culture, this comes closest to being an essential document.

-Brett Horn


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