Belial, Belial, oh Belial, why must you continually tease us with your many pseudonyms and musical manifestations? Be thee a just a pal of Satan, Dark One himself, or the fallen angel in Milton’s Epic? Have you no shame and do us the favour of at least sticking to one bloody name? How about Evil Bastard? I mean, is it just me or is Belial one of the most used monikers in Metal? Well enough of names, how’s the music I hear you ask? Pretty damn good I say.
Hailing from the Metal haven of Sweden, LORD BELIAL are a quirky little quartet who go back over a decade to when underground demos rarely were heard outside a band’s local vicinity. “The Seal Of Belial” is the band’s fifth full length release and perhaps their finest to date. Though name Belial (as I have so indulged at the beginning of this review) is more often associated with Black Metal, “The Seal Of Belial” is musically much more entrenched in the Death camp. The opening riff on the second cut “Sons OF Belial” establishes this immediately, with a mid paced slab of pure, sludgy Death Metal. There is even a nice little nod to Lovecraft’s “The Nameless City” in the song, just as many Metal bands have before them, including the cover of IRON MAIDEN’s “Live After Death”. Truthfully, after a few listens this album really grew on me with its many solidly structured songs and the well fitted melodic segments. There is something quite engaging about the changing pace in a song like “Mark Of The Beast” for instance. Not arresting in a visceral way, nor slowly grabbing you in with the waves of Doom, but a sway that quite captivates in its more mid level range.
What does make many think of Black Metal with LORD BELIAL are the higher pitched screams of guitarist and vocalist Thomas “Dark“ Backelin. But, musically LORD BELIAL are more akin to playing the aggressive but mitigated sounds of country men AMON AMARTH. For me, this works very well, even with the odd female sounding background fluttering that often doesn’t fit for me in other albums. “The Seal Of Belial” pours on some nice cutlets of brooding and solid grounded Death Metal. Nice wee album this. (Online February 28, 2006)