Lord Belial - _The Seal of Belial_
(Regain Records, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (
Lord Belial -- in my humble opinion at least -- have always been the token underachievers in black metal. Going right back to the early days of _Enter the Moonlight Gate_ and _Kiss the Goat_, the band have consistently remained several steps behind those they have tried so desperately to emulate -- Dissection, Sacrilege et al --, and their latest effort, _The Seal of Belial_, is no exception. The band may have slowed things down since the formative blasting of "Unholy Spell of Lilith", but very little has changed in as far as their penchant for recycling ideas from classic albums by other bands. The slow- to mid-paced blackened doom of "Chariot of Fire" as an example presents absolutely nothing that hadn't been done to death on a hundred albums doing the rounds in Scandinavia around the mid to late nineties. The record's singular saving grace comes in the form of the haunting "Legio Inferi", which shows the band in a rare moment where they're able to throw together their paramount influences into a song that actually works. Yet, while this is a highly enjoyable song, it mostly serves to only make one marvel even more at the complete lack of invention displayed on the rest of the record.
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