Lord Belial


Regain Records 2007


With Revelation we see Swedish veterans Lord Belial unleash their 7th full length album.  Lord Belial has always remained sort of sitting in the shadows of its more prominent Swedish brethren, namely Marduk and Dark Funeral.  I got their first two albums, Kiss the Goat and Enter the Moonlight Gate but quickly became sort of bored and didn’t bother following them anymore.  And here we are in 2007 and what has changed?  Not much.  Revelation finds Lord Belial hammering out solid though easily forgettable Swedish styled black metal though the songs are much more mature and “classy” than they were on those early disks.  Take Aghast for instance with its catchy melodic main riff and smooth guitar solo.  They also can pen a seriously furious and blistering song of hate filled wrath such as Death As Solution but then they sort of kill its momentum with tepid slow parts and clean guitars.  But they don’t make this same mistake really on my favorite track, Unspoken Veneration where they hit all the right notes in their breakdowns and “tricks” and the main melodic riff is colder than a thousand frostbitten corpses.  On Gateway to Oblivion Lord Belial try slow things down again and sound excellent until the clean vocals soar over the cursed evilness of the midtempo melodic black metal below and somehow it just sounds sort of forced and doesn’t work well to me.  And so it goes with several other attempts at making the songs more varied and atmospheric like with Black Wings of Death.  I must admit though that the guitar solos on Revelation are all top notch and I love the guitar tone that they utilize.  And Thomas Backelin’s vocals are also a joy because they have such a unique sort of feel to them that bridges death and black metal.  Lord Belial has matured over the years but I fear they will continue to dwell as a second tier band that never makes it to the next level due to workmanlike songcraft that doesn’t seem to escape the legendary status of their peers.