Lord Belial - _Enter the Moonlight Gate_
(No Fashion, 1997)
by: Drew Snow (9 out of 10)
Lord Belial's debut album, _Kiss the Goat_, was received with mixed reviews by most; signs of brilliance occasionally shone through, but on the whole the majority of people considered it an average release, nothing spectacular. However, this time around it is a different story. Crushing melodic Swedish black metal. Those four words just about sum up Lord Belial's latest offering, _Enter the Moonlight Gate_. After you begin to hear the fast riffing which opens the album, you know you're in for a treat, and the remainder of the album definitely does not disappoint. Taking the main elements of the genre: acoustic interludes followed by buildup in energy, cleanly played melodies, and skilled musicians, Lord Belial has put together a release which should satisfy any fan of Dissection, Mork Gryning, and others of their ilk. That's not to say that this album is completely derivative, it does have some of its own original (or at least original to the genre) facets: some heavy riffing, outrageous and particularly Bethlehem-like vocals in one section, and a flute (also used on _KtG_). A flute? Don't worry, it's not used much, and when it -is- used, it's perfectly mixed in with the music and truly great. Also present in one song are very moderately used female vocals, but again, they are sparse (only in the closing moments, in this case) and well done. Of course, what would any black metal album be without cliched lyrics and song titles? Both are here, but neither matter very much. Let's review: Lord Belial, _Enter the Moonlight Gate_, awesome melodic black metal, highly recommended.

(article published 4/2/1997)

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