Bal-Sagoth - _The Power Cosmic_
(Nuclear Blast, 1999)
by: Paul Schwarz (6 out of 10)
Hammy lyrics accompanied by pompous musical themes can only be tolerated to a certain extent before they become stupid, amusing and, at the least, mildly irritating. Bal-Sagoth have, debatably, always been either right on the line or merrily dancing on the wrong side of it -- that is if you, like me, don't listen to extreme metal to laugh -at- it. Now, if this was the end of the story, if Bal-Sagoth were merely one more musically unaccomplished symphonic, percussive and melodic black metal band, then it would be very easy to dismiss them as one more unappealing and perfectly ignorable prospect in a sea of many. However, Bal-Sagoth are far from talentless. Many of the riffs and keyboard segues which are present on _TPC_, though not stretching into the realms of brilliance or originality, are well-written and combined into a solid, consistent and cohesive whole. True, the major key progressions they are prone to using resonate no feeling of darkness or chilling mystery (their overall effect being closer to the emotion and atmosphere invoked by the credits to "Star-Trek"), but this should not to be a failure from the perspective that this seems not to have been Bal-Sagoth's aim. Ultimately, though, the pomposity present primarily in the lyrics and keyboards makes _TPC_ unappealing to my tastes. I find it impossible not to laugh at the tales of cosmic conquest expounded throughout the album, which from what I can garner hardly reach even the most amateur level of sci-fi/fantasy storytelling, and specific passages where the vocalist makes proclamatory statements like "From a time beyond time, we come. We, who once crested the waves, of the great astral sea. And who now, must strive again, for the domination, of the stars" are just cringeworthy and cheesy to an extent where what comes after it is dented by my resulting inability to take it seriously. Musically, Bal-Sagoth have created something which is consistent and worthy, but it neither gives me enjoyment to listen to on the same level as other black metal -- for its viciousness backed by a cold atmosphere -- or traditional, macho heavy metal (i.e., Manowar), for its brash lyrical invigorations and the accompanying listenable but muscular catchiness of the music behind it. Lyrically I prefer Rush, and musically I prefer Immortal or Emperor: Bal-Sagoth are an in-between point I find both unnecessary and unenjoyable, though if the style was my thing, I'd choose Bal-Sagoth to play it over certain others.

(article published 9/12/1999)

8/12/2001 M Noll 3 Bal-Sagoth - Atlantis Ascendant
6/7/1998 B Meloon 7 Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic
2/4/1997 D Schinzel 8 Bal-Sagoth - Starfire Burning...
RSS Feed RSS   Facebook Facebook   Twitter Twitter  ::  Mobile : Text  ::  HTML : CSS  ::  Sitemap

All contents copyright 1995-2024 their individual creators.  All rights reserved.  Do not reproduce without permission.

All opinions expressed in Chronicles of Chaos are opinions held at the time of writing by the individuals expressing them.
They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else, past or present.