Almost like no other Black Metal band from the Dutch scene, Cirith Gorgor turned out to be the child of its time. When they put out their first two Osmose Productions released albums (in 1999 and 2001), the band sounded distinctly melodic. Not quite as bombastic or theatrical as Dimmu Borgir, Covenant or Emperor, but still predominantly in line with the then prevailing Black Metal fashion trend. It was with 2004’s Ketzer Records released album that they went for the black-and-white aesthetics while musically also harkening back to the more basics of the Black Metal scene.
It was after the release of that last Osmose Productions album that the band started to explore these new territories. A period in their career that they have gained the comparison to the more speedy Black Metal from the Swedish scene at the time. Just as they were never as symphonic as Dimmu Borgir, they are now not as sharp and relentlessly ruthless as Marduk was at the turn of the century.
On their subsequent releases they have seemingly blended in both of their penchant for speed as well as their good sense of melody. The band’s eponymous fourth album was originally released in 2007 and marked the first of their albums in which Cirith Gorgor pretty much struck the perfect equilibrium. Still the band must have felt that it deserved a bit of polishing as at the very edge of last year the album was reissued in a totally remastered fashion. Their long-term companions Heidens Hart Records and Ketzer Records signed up for the release of this new edition on vinyl and CD respectively.
Indeed, the album sounds fuller and sharper in this capacity, with the guitar sound in particular coming out a bit better. At the predominantly speedy character of the music, this improved sound arrangement makes the whole thing seem less chaotic, thus enhancing the listening experience. But, in all fairness, the original wasn’t even that bad, production-wise, so the premise was more than decent to begin with. However, this album once again proves to be a definitive tipping point in the band’s career, a point where that aforementioned balance was reached and made the band ready for the next decade in Black Metal.
Although, in the majority of cases, I think that remastering or even completely re-recording an album is mostly something that the musicians in question do themselves a favour and the listening-in audience is usually rather unsympathetic or even extremely sceptical about it. I can therefore imagine that even this whole excersise will not necessarily be appreciated by everyone, however, I think the subtle changes do give full credit to the recordings. And if diving again and extensively into this self-titled album proves anything, it is that the band, as a Dutch Black Metal entity, is strongly underappreciated.