Gorgoroth is yet another Black Metal outfit who took their name from the Lord Of The Rings epic. Founded by guitarists Infernus and Tormentor who in turn hired Hat (vocals; presumably of the black kind), Emperor bassist Samoth (who replaced original member Kjettar soon after founding) and Goat Pervertor (drums; [no laughing in the back]). Their debut album Pentagram (1994) was released on the small Embassy' label. The album barely got out when internal membership upheaval was the order of the day forcing Hat and Goat out to be replaced with Pest and Frost (of Satyricon) respectively. The release of Antichrist (1996) didn't help the membership issues for Storm replaced Samoth, Ares (of Aeturnus) then replaced Storm, not to mention Grim (of Borknagar) replacing Frost for Under The Sign Of Hell (1997). By Destroyer or About How to Philosophize with the Hammer (1998) the membership was in flux both before and after with Infernus and Tormentor recruiting all new members: Vrolok (of Aeturnus) replacing Grim, and T-Reaper replacing Ares with Frost appearing again and Daimonion (keyboards) as guest performers moving in before the recording. But after it more changes were in the works with Gaahl replacing Pest, (appearing for the first time on a single track on Destroyer...).
The move to 'Nuclear Blast' was controversial among many black metal enthusiasts who pertained to the tenets of an 'underground black metal scene', however Gorgoroth sought to use 'Nuclear Blast's' distribution.
King Of Hell then replaced T-Reaper and SGT. Erichsen replacing Vrolok in time for Incepit Satan (2000).
After a couple of Norwegian concerts in 2000 and 2001, the band made their (thus far) only live appearance in the US, at the Milwaukee Metalfest in August 2001. In September and October 2001, the band went on two mini tours of Mexico and Colombia. In 2001 Gorgoroth was also featured on a tribute album to the Norwegian black metal band Mayhem, with a cover version of that band's Life Eternal from their De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas album.
Now featuring the stable membership of Gaahl (vocals), Infernus (ex-Borknagar; guitar), King Ov Hell (bass), Kvitrafn(drums), and over-all throughout their career, Gorgoroth have remained a strong but unremarkable act that managed to master the standard old-school Norwegian Black Metal sound to a T and deviated little from it, including the follow-up, Twilight Of The Idols (2003).
On February 1, 2004, during a concert being recorded for a DVD in Kraków, Poland, the band displayed sheep heads on stakes, 80 litres of sheep's blood, Satanic symbols, and completed with four naked crucified models on stage. The police investigation and trial that ended in 2007 for 'religious offense' (which is punishable under Polish law) and cruelty to animals. Though these charges were eventually dropped ruling that the band were unaware of the fact that what these acts were illegal, the concert organizer was fined 10000z in 2007 as he knew about it and neither informed the band that it was against the law nor intervened. The whole controversy led to the band being dropped from the roster of the 'Nuclear Blast' Tour and the footage of the concert being confiscated by the police. Controversy notwithstanding, Gorgoroth had achieved their distribution goals with the label and the contract between both parties was later terminated. This decision was not fought too hard by the label since the live shows raised problems from the label and that the band had secured a reputation as a band with a vehement anti-Right Hand Path agenda, of which certain employees in the company were alleged to have felt uneasy.
Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam arrived in June 2006 through 'Regain Records'. A short time after the album was released, bassist King... quit the band citing differences with the band's ideology.
Gaahl served a sentence in jail from spring to December 2006 for an assault in February 2002 while performing Satanic rituals. Infernus served a 4-month sentence for 'gross negligent rape' between October 2006 and March 2007, for an incident which took place in 2003. In January 2007, Gaahl was under investigation once again by Norwegian Police for his comments in an interview in Metal: A Headbanger's Journey (2005), which had been broadcast on Norway's Lydverket NRK 1 on January 24, 2007, where he said "church burnings are things that I support one-hundred percent, and they should have been done much more and will be done much more in the future."
Gaahl and King... claimed that they had "fired" Infernus when he announced he was leaving the band and claiming the rights to the name of the band, with King... having made a trademark application the previous month. This dispute was concluded in March 2009 when a court verdict was announced, which recognized Infernus as the owner of the name and that Gaahl and King... had excluded themselves from the use of the band name upon attempting to remove the founding member. Infernus soon after said that he was in the process of finishing and preparing the material and all previous material would be minimized.
The controversial 2004 Kraków concert was finally released on DVD in June 2008.
June 2008 saw the completion of True Norwegian Black Metal - Live in Grieghallen, an album which had been recorded live in studio in mid-October 2007. The recording line-up consisted of Infernus (guitars/bass), Gaahl (vocals), Teloch (session guitars) and Garghuf (session drums). However, in part to the circumstances of the ongoing name dispute, the distribution of the album was temporarily halted in July 2008, with the final decision to be made in a yet-to-be announced trial in Sweden.
In September 2008, Tormentor had accepted the offer to rejoin, together with Tomas Asklund and Bøddel (Real Name: Frank Watkins). Soon later, Pest had returned as the vocalist. Soon after, True Norwegian Black Metal - Live in Grieghallen was re-opened to replace the vocals with Pest, thus negating the need for a hearing and allowing the record to be released; several albums were also later re-recorded using Pest on vocals, most notably a re-recording of their 1997 release Under the Sign of Hell.
But the love affair with Pest would not last for when he announced he could not participate on the 2012 Latin America tour he was sacked. Taake's vocalist Hoest performed vocals for the Latin America tour. Atterigner of the Serbian band Triumfall was announced as vocalist for the next, Instinctus Bestialis (2015).
On October 18, 2015, bassist Bøddel died from cancer.
Footnote: Frost did not return to replace drummer Kvitrafn as originally intended as his dedication to 1349 and Satyricon proved to be a conflict.