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Review: Kull - Exile

Label: Black Lion Records
Year released: 2019
Duration: 54:56
Tracks: 11
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: June 10, 2019
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3/5 (60%) (5 Votes)

It's been thirteen years since the last Bal-Sagoth disc, and I guess the other members of the band got as tired of waiting as the rest of us. Kull is essentially Bal-Sagoth over again, minus Byron himself. All the members of Kull are from the last Bal-Sagoth lineup, and even replacement vocalist Tarkan Alp has served as a live vocalist for that band. I'm not sure what happened with Byron, but he is apparently not coming back, and that's a shame.

Still, here we have the brilliance of the Maudling brothers doing their epic/symphonic thing, and it sounds pretty good. Tarkan is not quite on the level of Byron, as his rasps are less venomous and his narration lacks a bit of oomph, though that could partly be the result of the production, which is oddly weak. I expected a real monster of a recording job, but this is merely adequate. The guitars sound thin, the vocals are mixed too low, and the whole thing lacks separation and is a bit muddy. I don't know, I am guessing they maybe were on a tight budget.

Some of these songs, like "Vow of the Exiled", sound almost like the old days, but too much of this album kind of blends together. They need more bottom end, and to put the narration more upfront if they want to really stack up to the glory of Bal-Sagoth. Tarkan does not manage the wonderful syncopation that was a trademark of Byron's delivery, and the lyrics are not as good. Still, this is a tremendously promising debut from four fifths of a legendary band, and I will be excited to see what they can do.

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