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Review: Bal-Sagoth - The Chthonic Chronicles
The Chthonic Chronicles

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2006
Duration: 60:39
Tracks: 12
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: April 11, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
The Chthonic Chronicles

Rated 4.44/5 (88.73%) (55 Votes)

Five long years have we waited for the sixth Bal-Sagoth album. Hard to believe that "Atlantis Ascendant" was released in 2001, and here it is 2006. Since that album seemed to show the mighty Bal-Sagoth growing a bit stale, I was worried by the long wait, and at times I confess I doubted if we would ever be graced with another installment, and that the great saga would remain unfinished. But lo, at long last we have "The Chthonic Chronicles" in our grasp, and not only is it a worthy album, it is probably the best album this band has ever produced.

In places on the last few albums, it seemed like Bal-Sagoth were going through the motions – the songwriting was getting more and more self-referential, and the keys were running over the guitars almost completely. But with this new one, Bal-Sagoth have actually done what so many bands promise but rarely deliver – they have taken the good things from each of their past albums and forged them together into a chaotic, epic metal maelstrom. Even if this is their last album ever, this would be the one you'd want to end on. "The Chthonic Chronicles" rips and storms with a heavier attack than has been heard since their debut, while not forgetting the epic keys that make this band so unique. At last Bal-Sagoth have effectively combined heaviness with symphonic sweep while not sacrificing either one. Byron's vocals are back on track too, as his screeches are sharper and more aggressive, while his arcane intonations have rarely been more entertaining. "The Deep Ones knoweth Thy secret name, The Hydra knoweth Thy lair…", "Storm prow cleaving, dragon rending, nighted deeps far far below, Hail-scur scouring, sea devouring, sunken realm's ethereal glow.", "I call thee forth , Ogre Mage of the Black Lake! I call thee forth, Swordmaster of Kyrman'ku!" – it just doesn't get any cooler than shit like this. Again the lyrics are that unique Bal-Sagoth stew of Lovecraftian horror, Howardian Sword&Sorcery, and Marvel Comics sci-fi that's so geeky it may well be the coolest thing ever.

With a solid hour of Bal-Sagoth in top form, you can't go wrong with this disc. If you love Bal-Sagoth already, then this is a no-brainer purchase. If you don't know Bal-Sagoth, then this is the album to start with. And if you hate this band, then prepare to choke on your own blood in a heap of your cooling viscera, for the Star-Gods have returned!

Other related information on the site
Review: A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Apocryphal Tales (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Atlantis Ascendant (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Battle Magic (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Battle Magic (reviewed by Ulysses)
Review: Starfire Burning Upon the Ice-Veiled Throne of Ultima Thule (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Chthonic Chronicles (reviewed by Jason Cominetto)
Review: The Chthonic Chronicles (reviewed by Ulysses)
Review: The Power Cosmic (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Byron (Vocals) on April 6, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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