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The Power Cosmic is a special album. Not only is it one of Bal-Sagoth's most defining albums, it is also the album that reinvented Bal-Sagoth. After one death metal album (A Black Moon...) and two speed-metal-meets-extreme-metal albums, Bal-Sagoth decided to tackles the field on bombastic, pompous metal mainly inspired by classic metal. The Power Cosmic is far more symphonic than their previous efforts, and far heavier as well.
The album starts off with "The Awakening of the Stars", which (suprise!) is a keyboard intro. It sort of sounds like something you would hear on Star Trek, or maybe a battle during Star Wars.
I must warn you, this album is a complete album. You will not understand it if you only listen to one or two songs. The entire album must be listened to in order to grasp the feel for it. The album, as a whole, starts of slow, and gradually builds up to an earth shattering conclusion in "The Thirteen Cryptical Prophecies of Mu". There are fast parts (and slow parts) between, but the general flow of the album is always getting faster.
This album is also a concept album, save for two songs. The lyrics (sans "Of Carnage..." and "The Scourge...") tell the story of Zurra; a rogue demigod hell-bent on omnipotence who will stop at nothing to become the ultimate god.
The best track on here, surprisingly, is the one that stands out the most. "Of Carnage and a Gathering of Wolves" is a straight out speed metal fest. If you like speed metal, you like this song. The keyboards are not overpowering like the rest of the song, and the guitars are actually the main focus (except for the last 30 or so seconds). Not to mention that it has one of the coolest lyrics in metal: "I am annihilation Incarnate!". How can you argue with that? YOU CAN'T, DOUCHE BAG! Byron owns you and your little fuckin' dog.
Now if you are looking for technicality, you won't find it here. These guys know how to compose music, but you'll find no Marty Friendman or Dave Lombardo here. If you want some killer solos, you came to the wrong place (hell, the only solo on the entire album is a short bass solo in Callisto Rising). All of the musicians do their part, and the outcome is far greater than the parts. Hell, save for Byron, no one in the band is anything extraordinary (maybe Jonny for doing some killer keyboard stuff, but I don't really know anything about that, so I make no claims).
All in all, this album is great. Awesome atmosphere, great rollercoaster feel, and superb storyline. Not to mention that they hail to Stan Lee (The Scourge... is based on the Silver Surfer series), which automatically makes this album awesome.
"The alpha and the omega, as all life was created from chaos, so shall it be destroyed!" - Zurra