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So Belial And I Were Sipping Wine By The Fire... - 89%

OzzyApu, July 9th, 2007

…And he spoke to me about the growing trend of black metal. I thought twice about informing him of my awareness because I was drinking with a demon, not Gaahl. He spoke of bands that he himself watched turn corrupt by selling his name and essence to the masses, something he has time and time again notified Satan. After handing me a slice of chocolate cake, I asked, “What of Lord Belial? Not only do they carry your name, but” – yet he cut me off before I had the chance to finish. I ate a piece of the cake he handed me and was much delighted by its familiar taste. After another sip of his fine, Cannubi Boschis red wine, he dismissed their latest record and immediately addressed their 2005 output, Nocturnal Beast. Thankfully, that’s one of two albums I’ve heard by the band in its entirety.

Although many underground black metal acts tend to dismiss the importance of production, Belial hailed the effort Lord Belial made with this album. I told him how impressed I was as well, yet he lectured me on the cavernous, broodingly evil-natured sound the album holds. Both of us agreed on the emphasis taken on the bass, which happens to be just as audible as the guitars. With such a rare shift, the overall sound of the album has a much heavier and deeper tone, one that causes the guitars to become very secondary. Infact, the bass seems to be the instrument carrying most of the riffs, while the guitars provide a melodic and menacing timbre. This formula causes the entire mood of the album to loom in a depressive state, one that Belial and I drank and joked about with bands such as Maniac Butcher who fail at this step.

After I finished my cake, he asked if wished to accompany him on a stroll. Understanding the risk if I didn’t comply, we soon were off trekking to a stream in the woods behind his cabin. While we sat there observing the glorious Canadian landscape, he and I agreed that a wicked album doesn’t necessarily need frostbitten themes and chilling production. Compared to most black metal albums, he went as far as considering this record “warm” and “comforting.” I was puzzled at first with the adjectives he used, but he took out his iPod, switched it to play “Monarchy Of Death,” and I knew exactly what he meant. With such a heavy bass, the sound was no doubt like pillows colliding with your ears. The drumming pattern adjusts as each track progresses; as the vocals speed up, so does the pace of Micke’s (the drummer) hitting and vice-versa in a catchy manner. In no way does this album make you feel cold or hollow, but rather snug and full, like after a hot, hardy meal.

While walking back to his cabin, a solo popped up while we were listening to “Fleshbound.” At the exact moment it emerged, Belial beat me to an air guitar, yet I caught up to him. While solos in black metal aren’t particularly the centerpieces of the music, the ones that appear here are no doubt extremely enjoyable enough to replicate them – slow or blazing fast, it’s all present.

Before we reentered his cabin, Belial let out a demonic, ear-shattering roar. Apparently when I regained my hearing, I realized he was trying to replicate the shriek imposed by Lord Belial’s vocalist, as we were apparently listening to “Nocturnus.” We both giggled like schoolboys and went on in, pouring some more wine and throwing more wood in the fireplace. While we both agreed that LB’s lyrics clearly are worthy of impurity, the vocals standout the most. Thomas (vocalist) evidently doesn’t go outside his limits, which is a safe step, since his shrieks of turmoil superbly fit with the music. No clean vocals, satanic lines, or howls were required in the process, though speaking is present on the short outro, “Death March.”

Belial was overjoyed when I told him I was sleeping over, since he usually doesn’t get much company. Although Nocturnal Beast was an overall success to both Belial’s ears and mine, we couldn’t see an album like this exceeding the time length given, as it’d sound dragged and eventually boring. Besides that, everything on here sounds evil, which shows that there isn’t much variety to please everyone. “Regardless,” I exclaimed after a small sip, “I feel that the album truly stands out in their catalogue.” After all our chatting, Belial was quick to concur. Before we hit the Xbox 360 (Belial was dying to play Gears of War with me), he concluded our evening discussion by approving Nocturnal Beast and with words I won’t soon forget.

“Evil,” *sips wine*, “Does not have to sound like shit to be evil.”