Friday, June 29, 2007

BAL SAGOTH: (1998) Battle Magic

Nipping at the heels of Bal-Sagoth's second full-length album, 'Starfire Burning', 'Battle Magic' hits you full force with another CD chalk full of utter ear candy. From the whimsical, almost feel good, opening synthesizer intro 'Battle Magic', to the epic fanfare romp of 'Blood Slakes the Sand at Circus Maximus', to the mysterious and suspenseful soundscape of 'Return to the Presidium of Ys', this album covers a wide range of themes and emotions, as any Bal-Sagoth album does masterfully.
Production wise, everything on Battle Magic is much clearer than any Bal-Sagoth album coming before it, though I wish the guitars were a bit more pronounced as there are some interesting riffs. The drumming could've been a bit louder as well. Lord Byrons vocals and the simply fantastic keyboards have taken center stage on Battle Magic. Not a bad thing. While I like the song composition better on 'Starfire Burning', 'Battle Magic' comes in at a close second place. It should also be noted that this album has a more light hearted feel to it overall, than the ominously thunderous and mysterious sounds of 'Starfire Burning'. I can pick my favorite song on every other Bal-Sagoth album but each and every song featured on 'Battle Magic' is so good I've given up trying to pick a favorite. As with any Bal-Sagoth album, I'd highly recommend this. Whether it's the first time you listen to it, or the fiftieth, it just never ceases to be an entertaining journey through the mythological universe that Bal-Sagoth's tasty music is set in.
Bal-Sagoth are not for everybody. If you can accept the fact that they are not trying to be the most brutal band on earth, and you appreciate bands that innovate and do their own thing, you should give them a shot. They take their music very seriously and it shows... M. Weir

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