Bal-Sagoth - _Battle Magic_
(Cacophonous, 1998)
by: Brian Meloon (7 out of 10)
Not being familiar with this band's previous efforts, I wasn't sure what to expect from this album -- but never did I think it would be anything like this. This is one of the cheesiest metal albums I've ever heard. It reminds me of a heavier version of Manowar, or a metallized version of the "Rocky IV" soundtrack. It's pompous, pretentious, and very self-indulgent. There is little here that's "black metal", or in any sense "extreme", (except for the cheesyness), yet it's billed as "symphonic black metal". The vocals are raspy like black metal in parts, and there are spoken parts as well. The music is extremely melodic. A lot of the melodies are so happy they make me want to puke, and some of them still make me laugh out loud. The playing is fine, and the material is sufficiently challenging to make that a compliment. The production could be better, as the synths are too high up in the mix, tending to drown out the other instruments. I recently got ahold of _Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule_, and I find _Battle Magic_ to be distressingly similar. The overall sound is nearly identical, and they even use some of the exact same melodies. The only thing that's really different is that the song titles on _Battle Magic_ aren't as long.

(article published 7/6/1998)

8/12/2001 M Noll 3 Bal-Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant
12/9/1999 P Schwarz 6 Bal-Sagoth - The Power Cosmic
2/4/1997 D Schinzel 8 Bal-Sagoth - Starfire Burning...
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