Rating:
10
Bal-Sagoth - Battle Magic
1998


01. Battle Magic
02. Naked Steel (The Warrior's Saga)
03. A Tale From The Deep Woods
04. Return To The Praesidium Of Ys
05. Crystal Shards
06. The Dark Liege Of Chaos Is Unleashed At The Ensorcelled Shrine Of A'Zura-Kai (The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire Part II)
07. When Rides The Scion Of The Storms
08. Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus
09. Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampyre Hunter)
10. And Atlantis Falls...


Do you know what a special album is like? The ones that are so good that you listen to the entire disc with extremely high volume, following each track with all your senses while reading the lyrics; completely disabled from the rest of the world? If no, here's your chance. Because this is just as the title suggests, magic.

Bal-Sagoth is a band which hails from UK, playing black metal with huge symphonic influences... actually I'd rather say that they play symphonic metal with minor black metal influences since that's more how it sounds. Their texts are about fighting, warfare, blood, swords... etc, this might make you think "Oh crap, cheesy power metalish lyrics!" but this is not the case; since these lyrics are far more advanced than your usual glory anthems such as the likes of Rhapsody.

The tracks vary in shape, we have the instrumental interludes such as Battle Magic & Crystal Shards... epic pieces like A Tale From The Deep Woods (personal favorite!) and of course heavier stuff in the form of Return To The Praesidium Of Ys & Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampyre Hunter). All these tracks also have a story, which makes it even more
fantastic. The album has a "red thread", or undertone if you may, related to Atlantis... but each track is like a separate battle. For example, the pre-mentioned Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampyre Hunter) is about a vampire hunter who wants to get revenge at the undead. The Dark Liege Of Chaos Is Unleashed At The Ensorcelled Shrine Of A'Zura-Kai (The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire Part II) is probably a nominee for "longest title ever", and besides that it's a epic song about a full-scale war between rivalling forces. Album highlight Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus which clocks in at 8:53 is about a gladiator fighting in the circus of emperor Nero during roman times.

As you can see, the album offers great variation and depth. But be aware, because this isn't to me an album where you can just grab a track and headbang to it... this album is really deep, and to enjoy it fully I recommend that you seal off the outside world and listen to the entire disc from beginning to end; only then will the true magic unfold. And believe me, it's worth every second of your time. It's like an enchantment, it's compelling... it's Bal-Sagoth!


Band profile: Bal-Sagoth
Album: Battle Magic


 


written by Lanfawn | 03.06.2004


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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The Alchemist - 18.07.2006 at 00:53  
Great album, for the musical arrangement and for the lyrical content.

Personally, I wouldn't hear the whole album with high volume, but there are some really good songs, that I never get bored of them, like "A Tale From The Deep Woods" or the instrumental ones "Battle Magic" or "And Atlantis Falls..."
Baz Anderson - 26.07.2007 at 17:49  
quite simply one of the best albums ever, one of the best bands ever
rebel - 29.09.2008 at 14:57  
Fantastic album by Bal Sagoth,every aspect of it is so damn good.There are no complains,no week spots,except by those who does not like this type of metal.
Richard - 29.09.2008 at 19:30  
Battle Magic is a masterpiece! It took many listens for it to grow on me originally, as the keyboards are rather more upfront than before, and it isn't as aggressive as the previous two albums. But this is definitely Bal-Sagoth's best album, IMO - a shame they've never quite managed to recapture its excellence.

I agree with the review that 'Blood Slakes...' is the ultimate highlight, too - even though the amusing 'circus' tune in the first part sounds ridiculous on the first few listens! Bal-Sagoth have never been afraid of being OTT!
Luciferion - 26.11.2008 at 18:32  
One of teh wickedest Bands ever. Craziest sound ever and their material are masterpieces. Every cd has that Epic feel, and this cd is no different. Love the album ad definetly one of my to get list.
Ellrohir - 30.08.2009 at 22:33  
I really "sit down on my ass" when i heard this
Uirapuru - 25.12.2009 at 06:44  
Wow. OK... its good. But not that much... The lyrical content sure is amazing, and the album does have an unique sound.

To me it all sound too much chaotic. One thing is to make a complex song structure, another is to simply play randomly.. is hard to remember which song is which, because apart from the initial part of the songs, they all extremly look alike.

''The Dark Liege Of Chaos Is Unleashed At The Ensorcelled Shrine Of A'Zura Kai (The Splendour Of A Thousand Swords Gleaming Beneath The Blazon Of The Hyperborean Empire Part II)''... damn this title Its one of my favorites of the album, along with the ''Blood Slakes The Sand At The Circus Maximus'' and ''Thwarted By The Dark (Blade Of The Vampyre Hunter)'' have a bizarre atmosphere that is very cool. The rest, unfortunatly, is easily forgetteble.
Brogkul - 29.12.2009 at 00:27  
An epic classic from one of the best bands, Battle Magic is a timeless masterpiece made of both, genius lyrics and majestic music.

All songs are amazing, but I´d like to comment on Blood Slakes the Sand at the Circus Maximus. If you ever read a Conan story by Robert Howard, you´ll love this song it´s the perfect soundtrack.
I thought the beginning was ridiculous at first too but it definitely grew on me with time, even more so when I aquired the Conan stories by Howard.

Hail Bal Sagoth!
Luneth - 19.10.2010 at 23:55  
Oh yes, what a perfect album, another one for the 90's

Did anyone else get the distinct feeling a lot of the tracks sounded like the composition used in Batman Returns? Or is that just me :p
Chainer - 13.12.2010 at 04:05  
Written by Luneth on 19.10.2010 at 23:55

Oh yes, what a perfect album, another one for the 90's

Did anyone else get the distinct feeling a lot of the tracks sounded like the composition used in Batman Returns? Or is that just me :p


Lol, I think that it might just be you.
Luneth - 13.12.2010 at 13:31  
Written by Chainer on 13.12.2010 at 04:05

Written by Luneth on 19.10.2010 at 23:55

Oh yes, what a perfect album, another one for the 90's

Did anyone else get the distinct feeling a lot of the tracks sounded like the composition used in Batman Returns? Or is that just me :p


Lol, I think that it might just be you.


Lol, trust me, listen to 'Atlantis Falls' and Batman Returns and here the similarity xD
Chainer - 13.12.2010 at 21:45  
Written by Luneth on 13.12.2010 at 13:31

Written by Chainer on 13.12.2010 at 04:05

Written by Luneth on 19.10.2010 at 23:55

Oh yes, what a perfect album, another one for the 90's

Did anyone else get the distinct feeling a lot of the tracks sounded like the composition used in Batman Returns? Or is that just me :p


Lol, I think that it might just be you.


Lol, trust me, listen to 'Atlantis Falls' and Batman Returns and here the similarity xD


I thought a lot about what you said after I made my post. Psychologically speaking, I am more likely to hear Batman after you mentioned it, but upon further consideration/listening (and sub-conscious processes aside) I think you may be right. Kinda weird, but I know that they borrowed melodies from Star Wars on The Power Cosmic so I guess Batman isn't too much of stretch for Battle Magic. Either way Bal-Sagoth kicks it
Luneth - 13.12.2010 at 22:40  
Written by Chainer on 13.12.2010 at 21:45

Written by Luneth on 13.12.2010 at 13:31

Written by Chainer on 13.12.2010 at 04:05

Written by Luneth on 19.10.2010 at 23:55

Oh yes, what a perfect album, another one for the 90's

Did anyone else get the distinct feeling a lot of the tracks sounded like the composition used in Batman Returns? Or is that just me :p


Lol, I think that it might just be you.


Lol, trust me, listen to 'Atlantis Falls' and Batman Returns and here the similarity xD


I thought a lot about what you said after I made my post. Psychologically speaking, I am more likely to hear Batman after you mentioned it, but upon further consideration/listening (and sub-conscious processes aside) I think you may be right. Kinda weird, but I know that they borrowed melodies from Star Wars on The Power Cosmic so I guess Batman isn't too much of stretch for Battle Magic. Either way Bal-Sagoth kicks it


Exactly xD Bal-Sagoth ftw.
M C Vice - 26.12.2011 at 02:31  
Are the vocals like this on other albums, or is it just this one that the singer talks through most of it?
RavenKing - 26.12.2011 at 03:59  
Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 02:31

Are the vocals like this on other albums, or is it just this one that the singer talks through most of it?


All their albums are like that. The only exception is "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria".
M C Vice - 26.12.2011 at 12:31  
Written by RavenKing on 26.12.2011 at 03:59

Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 02:31

Are the vocals like this on other albums, or is it just this one that the singer talks through most of it?


All their albums are like that. The only exception is "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria".

That one would be mostly black metal-style vocals, right? And are the symphonic parts still as prominent in that one?
RavenKing - 26.12.2011 at 18:17  
Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 12:31

Written by RavenKing on 26.12.2011 at 03:59

Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 02:31

Are the vocals like this on other albums, or is it just this one that the singer talks through most of it?


All their albums are like that. The only exception is "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria".

That one would be mostly black metal-style vocals, right? And are the symphonic parts still as prominent in that one?


A mix of Black Metal vocals and Death growls.
The vocalist abandoned the growls completely after their first album.
It has symphonic elements but the album is more extreme that any other album in their discography.
M C Vice - 27.12.2011 at 07:19  
Written by RavenKing on 26.12.2011 at 18:17

Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 12:31

Written by RavenKing on 26.12.2011 at 03:59

Written by M C Vice on 26.12.2011 at 02:31

A mix of Black Metal vocals and Death growls.
The vocalist abandoned the growls completely after their first album.
It has symphonic elements but the album is more extreme that any other album in their discography.

Musically, is it similar to Emperor or Mustis-era Dimmu Bordir?

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