Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Welcome to the cryptic realm of Yorkshire, England's BAL-SAGOTH. These guys are hands-down the biggest nerds in all metal. Which is saying ALOT. Vocalist Byron Roberts apparently has a penchant for the weird fantasy and horror works of such authors as Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, and Robert E. Howard (the band is named after Howards' short story 'The Gods of Bal-Sagoth'), and explores their worlds extensively in his lyrical content. Musically, his delivery is like no other in the metal kingdom. Half of the time, he's belting it out in a gurgly, better-than-average At The Gates impression, but the other half is where it gets interesting. It's as if Sauron himself is narrating a trip through the netherworld, mocking your pathetic mortal ignorance. In a deep, reverbed-out monotone, Roberts tells us tales of Lemuria, Atlantis, Mu, and other places best not spoken of. These asides were what drew me to Bal-Sagoth initially. Like a 5-year-old child, I like having sweet stories told to me by creepy old dudes. And B.S. is chock full of this stuff. The rest of the band shreds quite proficiently throughout Roberts' antediluvian tales, churning out some rippin' black/symphonic thrash, heavy on the synthesizer. The guitar riffery is impressive, bouncing from one vaguely proggy arrangement to the next seemingly at random. The drumming is also top notch, alternating between upbeat thrash and tight-as-fuck blast beats (the drummer from Dragonforce got his start in this band). I think my favorite part is the song titles, though. "The Splendour of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon of The Hyperbolean Empire (Part III)","Six-Score And ten Oblations To A Malefic Avatar", and "Unfettering The Hoary Sentinels of Karnak" being a few of my favorites (wasn't Karnak the character Johnny Carson played when he did the bit with sealed envelope? Anyone?). Bal-Sagoth is the type of band none of my friends would ever like, so over-the-top dorky that only the nerdiest Lovecraft-phile could enjoy them. But I dig the hell out of them, and hopefully someone out there will too. I'm posting their most recent 3 albums, They put out 3 more before these but i think they were at their best later in their career, when their sound had fully matured. So here you go. Light a candle, unsheath your broadsword, and march into battle with some BAL-SAGOTH!
BAL-SAGOTH - THE CTHONIC CHRONICLES (2006) Download HERE
BAL-SAGOTH - ATLANTIS ASCENDANT (2001) Download it HERE, PUNY MORTAL!
BAL-SAGOTH - THE POWER COSMIC (1999) Download HERE