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Bal Sagoth: A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria

Here is one of my all-time favorite bands.  Actually their first disk is the only one that's very good.  They basically play a fusion of black/death and powermetal.  The first disk was more Lovecraftian in nature and the later ones were more Conan powermetal, very technical and bombastic but not near dark enough for my tastes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M64GOKg0RBs

You may or may not like this.  I understand many people cannot stand them.  I think they're absolutely amazing.

Here's an all-keyboard piece. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HyP42Uf6yQ

Graveland and Summoning are better but I still enjoy Bal Sagoth on occasion. Growing up on 80s sci-fi/fantasy helps.

I think this band was part of the rather curious "2nd wave of British black metal" which meant that death metal riffs and structures were incorporated into ultra-cheesy synths, vocals and horror stories. I mean, it's exactly what Cradle of Filth also did with their first album.

That being said, I never became so "grown-up" I couldn't enjoy the earliest and most blasphemous releases from these bands. Lately I've been listening to Thus Defiled, whose older albums fit neatly into this crowd.

Too bad that this kind of bands are tempted to embrace the worst, crowd-pleasing aspects of their sound - so it becomes circus metal or gothic theatre, instead of neo-classical Lovecraftian death metal (like, say, updated Nocturnus/After Death) as it should be! Recall also what happened to: Ancient, Dimmu Borgir, Septic Flesh...

I think this band was part of the rather curious "2nd wave of British black metal" which meant that death metal riffs and structures were incorporated into ultra-cheesy synths, vocals and horror stories. I mean, it's exactly what Cradle of Filth also did with their first album.

The British do well at heavy metal, and have failed almost everything else since.

Yeah, I can't think of another british band that I like very much at all.  Never could stand Gaydle.  Actually Bolt Thrower are awesome.  Other than that not so much.

I do love the classical structures of Bal Sagoth.  Their arrangements are insanely complex and get more so in later releases.

Sabbat and Benediction are two solid British bands. Napalm Death, Godflesh, Amebix, Doom, Extreme Noise Terror, the UK has pumped out its fair share of good stuff.

As for Bal Sagoth, never been into em. My musical lactose intolerance forbids me from listening.

I don't know what's the deal with the British but the core bands nearly always have one or two good albums, then WTF!?

At least Angel Witch, Diamond Head, Carcass, Cathedral, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride besides what was mentioned earlier.

If a bunch of theatre studies students and roleplaying game nerds got together and tried to make epic music like Summoning, something like Bal Sagoth would be the result.

Having said that, I did for some reason quite enjoy the "Black Moon..." album when I first got hold of it, though I've not listened to it for about 10 years probably.
The other albums are cheesier than a rancid croque monsieur and more melodramatic than a brazilian soap opera.

They supported Emperor's UK "comeback" gig in 1997 and were treated quite badly by the crowd, but then no one had turned up to see Bal Sagoth I guess. When they weren't being completely ignored, someone shouted: "go back to Sheffield you Northern wankers", which seemed a bit unfair considering from whence Emperor had come.

Yeah, the later stuff is unlistenable.  I don't know why they went that route, it just seems stupid.  Even "Starfire Burning" has some good moments but the later stuff is just execrable.

I wonder if maybe record company personnel in Britain put a lot of pressure on acts to get lame.

I wonder if maybe record company personnel in Britain put a lot of pressure on acts to get lame.

Or maybe British society puts a lot of social pressure on young men when they get past 20 or so?

To do what, make terrible power metal?  If success were the problem they would be doing something different with their time.

An example of a British band that's beyond awesome is Akercocke.

It's not just a British phenomenon either.  Lots of bands release one or two albums and then fall off severely, losing the way.  When you're in a mental place required to make good metal, you may not be in that same place two or three years later, and if you are the "scene" has most likely changed.

A lot of bands are still out there making 1988 thrash.  I'm listening to one right now-- Stone.  Trouble is, the kids aren't listening and so you end up with this sort of tongue-in-cheek retro headspace.

Then there are the guys who are still True when they're pushing 40.  I find something suspect about that.  Example: Decker from Anal Blast just got a pentagram tattooed on his head.  A HUGE pentagram.



Good luck with ALL that, Decker.

I think maybe it's better to release a few really killer albums and then quit before you become laughingstocks.

A lot of bands are still out there making 1988 thrash.  I'm listening to one right now-- Stone.  Trouble is, the kids aren't listening and so you end up with this sort of tongue-in-cheek retro headspace.

The Finnish Stone? Are you stoned? Those guys play in trendy bands such as Children of Bodom and Suburban Tribe nowadays and have had absolutely no interest in thrash except the occasional "reunion" stuff to rip off the new generations that discovered this stuff last year.

 
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The British do well at heavy metal, and have failed almost everything else since.

But it seems like there was/is a hell of a lot of British record labels that released classic stuff from other countries, even if there weren't many actual British artists:

Peaceville
Earache
Misanthropy
Candlelight
Cacophonous
etc...

From what I've heard there was a huge "Denim and Leather" sort of NWOBHM culture in Britain until the early 90s.  Maybe that has something to do with it, that black metal and death metal acts didn't have enough of a scene to get big.  Also I think the crust crossover, sort of Bolt Thrower / Terrorizer vibe was big there.


"Battle Magic" is their apogee.