Bishop of Hexen - _Archives of an Enchanted Philosophy_
(Hammerheart Prod., 1997)
by: Andrew Lewandowski (7 out of 10)
With the possible exception of _The Filemnice Occultist_ by Master's Hammer, no "concept album" has ever truly impressed me. _AoaEP_ is almost the first exception. Throughout the album, Bishop of Hexen closely align the path of their music with that of the story, an original metaphorical tale concerning transcendence achieved through Satanic transgression. While not the most revolutionary of concepts for a black metal band, lead singer Balzamon wields a surprisingly potent grasp of lyricism, although the band's Israeli origins occasionally manifest within a few incongruous phrasings. Musically, the band relies on the keyboard and synthesizer work of Dimrost to provide the story with a background. Dimrost's work benefits from one of the richest keyboard sounds on a metal album, yet this comes at the expense of the guitars and drums. Since they're relegated to inconsequential roles, they add almost nothing to the overall sound. Thus, BoH would benefit from phasing them out completely, and possibly adding some more diverse instrumentation to support the melancholic synths and add further embellishment to the plot. More importantly, I would not have to call BoH a black metal band, nor would I have to waste time inventing a new classification under which BoH can wallow along with every other former "black metal" band that utilizes synthesizers and a clean production. As is, this is still a relatively adventurous endeavor, and BoH undoubtedly succeeds in relating their concept.

(article published 9/14/1997)


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