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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: Ulysses
Readers Rating
The Chthonic Chronicles

Rated 4.45/5 (88.93%) (56 Votes)

Bal-Sagoth are back! The Gods of Metal are once again walking the Earth, and this time they have returned to reclaim the throne and rule us pathetic mortals with an iron fist and all those inferior who attempt to restrain Bal-Sagoth will be utterly vanquished. Never in my years as a Bal-Sagoth fan would I ever expect an album as significant as this to be created by Lord Byron and co., but my praises cannot do this album justice. The Chtonic Chronicles is just too good for words; it's absolutely stunning from the first note to the last. The album does start off with the rather typical keyboard instrumental, but you can instantly tell that there is something different about this one. You can tell that there will be more depth to it, that there is a small hint of the slightly new direction you'll be traveling through as if it a small taste of the grandeur that you are eagerly awaiting (Don't worry though! Bal-Sagoth still remain true to their sound, they've just improved from their earlier works so immeasurably it almost seems as if they were taking an incredible new direction).

The next track "Invocations Beyond The Outer-World Night" kicks off wrathfully, Byron's voice has noticeably improved since their previous album and he truly gets aggressive, creating a incredibly mystifying yet ferocious track. Another evident aspect of the Chtonic Chronicles is the production job, which has really given Bal-Sagoth the unmistakable epic splendor they have been seeking through their career. In Bal-Sagoth's previous albums I couldn't help but notice a certain trivial flatness in their music which bothered me at times when I began to pay undivided attention to their songs. However I can safely say that this so called flatness has been rid of and the depth and the overall epic opulence has become amplified! One thing that you may notice in Bal-Sagoth is that the lead guitar is usually an accenting instrument while the keyboard and the drums sustain the general sound, but the keyboard and guitar duties seemed to have switched this time around and I can honestly say that it makes the music much sharper than I could ever have predicted. Each track on this album is a classic and you'll be eagerly awaiting track after track since each are honestly as genius as the other. Never does this album get repetitive or does it lose its focus, what it does maintain however is absolute luminous songwriting at its finest; with passion and inspiration. I also shit you not when I say there are no less than three keyboard instrumentals, all beautifully melodic and very catchy. There is also an ambient track which is the last song on the album named "Return to Hatheg-Kla". It's a rather mysterious track, but no less a hauntingly fresh finish to a flawless album. The Metal tracks on the albums are all wicked and they also all contain and stay true to that "dark fantasy" atmosphere which Bal-Sagoth are so well known for.

The plot in this final chapter of Bal-Sagoth's grand hexology is also admittedly the clearest to comprehend. Lord Byron has honestly evolved into a master lyricist and I couldn't be prouder to be here listening to his work. The music is also once again written by the brothers Maudling who are both genius, their compositions can create the perfect sound for the world that Lord Byron created. The album not only focuses on the grand saga of sorcery, ancient civilizations, demon-gods and warriors infused with divine cosmic-powers, there's also an excellent tribute to the works of HP Lovecraft with the track "Shackled to the Trilithon of Kutulu". I can honestly say that it is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and also a relief. We don't need more goth-faggoteering bands to write songs on the works of Lovecraft when the all-mighty Bal-Sagoth can do the job. In the end, everything checks out and I can say that this is a wonderful release and truthfully my favorite Bal-Sagoth album, which is in turn one of my favorite albums of all time. We have been three months into 2006 and I think I found a healthy contender for album of the year.

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 Sargon the Terrible)
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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