Lord Belial - _Nocturnal Beast_
(Regain Records, 2005)
by: Jackie Smit (8 out of 10)
At first listen, it certainly seems as though the contract that Lord Belial entered into with their namesake is finally starting to pay dividends. After nearly a decade spent trying to emulate the likes of Dissection, _Nocturnal Beast_ is as much a surprise release as it is a crucial lifeline for the band. Gone is the relentless and, more often than not, pointless blasting. Tossed out the window alongside that are the quasi-classical flourishes that really hit their overwrought pinnacle on Lord Belial's last album, _The Seal of Belial_. Instead, "Insufferable Rituals" and "Fleshbound" slow things down to a brooding simmer, showing off a dark, foreboding side of the band that prior to this effort was very rarely let out for air. The results are stunning; this is clearly the style that Lord Belial are more comfortable with and, most importantly, are highly adept at playing. While the doom-tinged black metal that's on show here is definitely against type for the band, at no point does it feel as though the Swedes have entirely cast aside their identity; rather, _Nocturnal Beast_ is rebirth of sorts for the band and definitely a direction which one would hope is not just a one-off bout of casual experimentation.

Contact: http://www.lordbelial.com

(article published 24/11/2005)

9/14/1997 D Schinzel Lord Belial: As Black As They Wanna Be
11/7/2008 J Smit 7 Lord Belial - The Black Curse
6/10/2007 J Smit 5.5 Lord Belial - Revelations
8/11/2004 J Smit 5 Lord Belial - The Seal of Belial
2/4/1997 D Schinzel 9 Lord Belial - Enter the Moonlight Gate
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