Rating:
8.7
Potentiam - Bálsýn
August 1999


01. To Know Is To Die
02. The Pleasures Of Suffering
03. Voices Within
04. In Unity
05. Álfablóð (Fairy Blood)
06. Látum Oss Biðja (Let Us Pray)
07. My Journey Into Darkness
08. Sorcery
09. Flames Of Potentiam


I first heard this album in a desperate attempt to broaden my horizons. While I did this, I found completely unknown bands from the vast North; and interestingly, Potentiam are a band who comes from Iceland and their album Bálsýn has a very chilling, cool sound. What better way to produce this type of music from a place where the phrase 'cold' is derived?

From first impressions, I actually felt like a giant picked me up with tweezers, visited Reykjavik and placed me in piles of freezing snow! As well as the atmosphere I felt, there was a thorough style I could hear - something that can only be described as progressive black metal with a Bay Area thrash vocal influence. This is something I've never heard before in a metal band, and after giving the release a few more listens, it got better and better. If you happen to take a look in the band's discography, then I suggest this is where you start. The opener "To Know Is To Die" lasts for 11 minutes, introducing a unique sound that many black metal fans will appreciate. "My Journey Into Darkness" is another example of a song that shows off their capabilities, with the use of blast beating drums, crunchy riffs with an undeniably brutal performance.

While I'm not a huge fan of black Metal, I was blown away by the combination of styles in the background. It was captivating to hear influences like Metallica - with a musicianship that's similar to Mayhem or Emperor. The guitars give an energetic atmosphere and the cold sound of many songs is what drives such a mysterious edge. The raw production elevates their style of music they incorporate and this actually becomes very creative in the album itself. Fans of this style will particularly enjoy "Svart" for it's incorporation of keyboards that should remind the listener of Dimmu Borgir's Enthrone Darkness Triumphant era. Aside from the sound, Potentiam are a relatively unknown act, but with a release like this, it's surprising they receive such limited attention! Their musicianship is more than capable to attract fans the album deserves...but for many other reasons, it may remain as a hidden gem in the scope of black Metal.

If you want a blast of the Arctic and something different for your ears, just give Bálsýn a listen. I guarantee it has some interesting styles of metal you don't hear every day. The album has areas of tranquility, merciless bass guitars and overall it's varied enough to give some very enjoyable moments.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Production: 7


Band profile: Potentiam
Album: Bálsýn


 


written by Sword_Chant | 03.03.2011


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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Boxcar Willy - 22.08.2011 at 19:49  
Imma check this out, to Youtube AWAY!!!
Aebsi - 17.10.2011 at 16:56  
Just got this album and I have to admit I'm kinda sad I didn't try harder to get this album sooner, really enjoying it so far.

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