Home > Music > Quickie: Bal Sagoth – A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria

Quickie: Bal Sagoth – A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria

This is probably the only album that these fellows put out that can reliably be labeled as “black metal” without receiving flack or ridicule from the rest of the scene. Not that it’s a bad thing, but Bal-Sagoth’s later works are definitely less dark, less brooding, tending more towards an “epic” sound. A useful corollary is Candlemass – they also have a relatively dark debut with epic qualities, followed by more epic, sonorous works.

Regardless, this subscribes to the maximalist school of black metal, exemplified by bands like Emperor, who show off a certain degree of technicality, as well as a lot of synthesizer/keyboard backing. More controversially, such is the sound associated with Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, who both have used large orchestral backings at various points.  Here, it shows up in much the same way, although vocalist Byron Roberts adds bass-pitched narrations to much of these songs. The lyrics are (albeit often cheesy) very verbose, offering plenty of vocabulary – if you don’t know the vast majority of the words used, you may need to go back to school.

Where this album excels is in its aesthetics and in its melodic sense – the synthesizers add a lot of voices (melodic lines as well as the actual sounds) to the overall sound, while the guitars anchor the lower end of the sound (but provide plenty of riffage in the meantime). The band also did a good job of tying the various riffs together – the songs flow well, but also have a decent amount of variety in them.

It’s definitely an immature work, and darker than what the band would do even on their next album, but it’s still worth the listener’s time.
Highlights – “Witch-Storm”, “Spellcraft and Moonfire”, the title track


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