Bal-Sagoth is one of the most original bands when it comes to British black metal. From the very beginning they menage to shape their own style: epic, dark and grim, based on layers of most epic orchestrations and keyboards. Altogether with Robert Byron’s narrations and story-telling this makes Bal-Sagoth one of the most important symphonic black metal bands from 90s. The band is also very well-known by fantasy (sword and sorcery) background. Byron actually writes short stories for each song and that’s one more thing that separates Sagoth from other groups….
A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria Cacophonous Records (1995) the debut issue turned out to be a cult one. A sort of mixture between black and death metal with symphonic and orchestral elements. Lyrical pure fantasy-sword and sorcery background. For those who are more familiar with the band this was one of the best ever records. Very much influenced by Emperor’s In the Night Side Eclipse at that time. The first great record in their glorious opus!
Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule (Cacophonous Records,1996) the second full-length more complex comparing to debut, colossal songs and epic orchestrations. A huge step forward at that time. One of the most original records when it comes to British black metal. Most of older fans keep this one as the best record. Layers of the most epic keyboards and orchestrations including quite malicious vocals plus the most original story narrations done by Byron. A true dark-gleaming gem!
Battle Magic (Cacophonous Records, 1998) A next level of composing. Very dynamic, epic and marvelous. Keyboards play the most important part, but yet the guitars are brilliant. One could say that Battle Magic is more polished variation of Starfire…that’s my opinion, too. No doubt, one more black-shining gem!
Cosmic Power (Nuclear Blast, 1999) 4th record in their discography. More open for SF themes while sword and sorcery themes are in the background. Very bombastic record, an epic voyage between the stars…all in all great album, although at that time there were different critics here and there.
Atlantis Ascendant (Nuclear Blast, 2001) 5th full-length once more different form the previous one, but the same ingredients are always present: bombastic songs, layers of keyboards, malicious vocals and story-telling narrations. Complex work, with more polished production which lead to conclusion that this one was more black/power metal…
The Chtonical Chronicles (Nuclear Blast, 2006) With the 6th and the last record Bal-Sagoth has returned once more to grimmer and more evil themes. This one could be linked with the first three records including sword and sorcery themes, grim atmosphere and raw-like production closer to black metal.
- Marko Miranovic