I had been looking forward to the new BAL-SAGOTH album ĄThe Chthonic Chroniclesď giddy like a little kid. Now that the album is finally out Hawk is having a very long face. I donít know how many times I listened to the album by now, but I just donít find my way in. Could be the sound, because the guitars are too far in the back, while the drums play a very dominant role. But the vocals by Byron are anything but the bringer either. The spoken words are ok, but the CRADLE OF FILTH-like screeching is just far too much to take.
And overall the songs just seem too complicated, single parts show the great class of days gone by, but I miss the cohesiveness in the arrangements, at times the whole thing soudns like Free Jazz with heavy guitars. I donít have any problems with the material going back towards "Starfire Burning Upon...", but the band had impressively proved in the past that they have the skills to combine demanding song writing with brilliant melodies. Hell, the spacy parts are so damn cool, but is that everything? Or am I just not mature enough to understand the genius of this recording? Only time will tell!
But somehow the CD still has its own appeal, no idea how to put it into words though. At least they have one absolute killer track on board in form of "The Hammer Of The Emperor", which makes up for much. Before Iíll tear out my last few remaining hairs, Iíll give a 6.5 and go get a beer! (Online June 1, 2006)