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Blood for Boudicca...Carnage for the fans! - 80%

Rakhai, July 30th, 2002

Bal-Sagoth! Everyone who is interested in fantastic metal should know about this band, and specially about this album. Why? So far, it's their best record (and if I'm correct, it's the most popular too). Don't worry, peasants, I will tell you why it's their best record, in my own humble opinion. The lyrics are excellent, and the music suits it well. The world where the action is happening is mysterious but also, strangely familiar. Some of the songs (which are actually stories) are talking of well-known characters of our History.
Still, there's some works to be done. No, I don't want to receive your rotten vegetables (which is all you got, ha!), peasants, but you know, the band isn't perfect.

Let's talk about the lyrics and the music of Battle Magic. The lyrics, as I told before, are about historical figures of the Antiquity, such as Boudicca (Boadicea for those who prefers Latin), and also about the world of Byron, the singer of Bal-Sagoth. We can see that Byron has plenty of imagination, because the description he gave can make us see the battle before our eyes. All you need is your weapon of choice, good armour, a helmet, and damn good reflexes (and if you like, a strong faith in a Celtic god, like Cerunnos) to fight the invaders. I swear! You will want to fight for the British crown! Okay, maybe not the British crown, but for something you believe in!

The music is good, generally. I don't like much keyboards, but they're not annoying in Battle Magic. The music is able to send us in the good atmosphere most of the time. However, I've begged for more, and unfortunately, my prayers haven't been heard. In other words, I would have preferred their music with more speed and heaviness in some moments. Still, a song is (in my opinion) perfect in the album: When rides the Scion of the Storms. The speed and heaviness are correct. The lyrics are pretty nifty (It talks about a man (British, probably) who is always raising from the dead after being killed), and the vocals are well done. What can I ask more? More songs like that.
So what about the vocals? Byron is a damn good singer, in my opinion. He got a clear and dark voice when talking smoothly, and his "harsh" voice is shrieking, actually. The songs are well balanced between the two voices.

So, what's wrong with the album? Well, I'm not a big fan of keyboards. I prefer a solo of drums than a solo of keyboards. What does that mean? Bal-Sagoth is doing "war" metal, according to a lot of people. Their songs on Battle Magic are mostly description of epic battles. If you do the math: War + battles = violence, you will agree that aggressiveness is the point to improve on this album. And what do you need to show violence in a song? Drums and electrical guitars!
And no, the word "fuck" isn't needed to make a violent song.

In conclusion, Battle Magic is a pretty good album. In my opinion, it's the best album of Bal-Sagoth so far. Buy it if you want to feel like a warrior killing invaders of your motherland (specially for British fans who want to fight with Bouddica). Don't buy it if you want something like Rhapsody, because it's not the same thing at all.