Saturday, January 28, 2017
BALFOR - Black Serpent Rising review
BALFOR - Black Serpent Rising
You know that saying, "if you listen to something long enough it'll grow on ya". Well this one did and now I have my misgivings about it. I guess it was about 5 or 6 years ago when people really started looking into the whole Ukrainian black metal scene to see if there was more than just DRUDKH or NOKTURNAL MORTUM. That's when BALFOR rose out of obscurity with their full length Barbaric Blood which actually was on a decent label too, Pulverised Records. Musically it was early DIMMU BORGIR sounding melodic symphonic black metal with equal parts melo-death thrown in. Nothing original but at the time the DIMMU jokes were getting old and it was ok to like that type of black metal again. Although the line "Do they have Hot Topic stores in the Ukraine" seemed worthy.
Fast forward to 2017 and after a long silence BALFOR are back somewhat. There's only one original member left from their last album. Also they've really taken on the whole DIMMU style to the hilt. The sound/production on Black Serpent Rising is obviously impressive. The new line-up seizes the day with powerful riffs accompanied by Thorgeir Berserk's savage vocals. There seems to be a more battle metal plus folk metal theme going on. Ya got some female vocals added to a couple of songs. Hey is that Myrkur? Yeah I know but I couldn't resist.
Getting back to the music, BALFOR uses a wide range of weapons to get their extreme epicness across. Along with the previous mention implementations the band uses keys to add texture to the whole grand and thunderous atmosphere. There's plenty of guitar solos throughout and various signature changes to give the songs a wider range than two dimensional symphonic black metal of the past. But after many plays I was left bored. Sure at the center the band is essential black metal but has crossed over to a more epic standing kinda like when DIMMU BORGIR brought in the orchestra. Sure it was interesting for a few minutes but in the end looked for something more.