Balfor - Black Serpent Rising (2017, Drakkar Productions)
With the coming of 2017, many things are on the way and we have our first review of an album we received way before 2016 ended and we started getting our ears on it since many weeks. Ukraine has been a huge provider of new Black Metal acts and Balfor is one of the front runners of the Barbaric Black Metal coming from Ukraine. Their new album Black Serpent Rising pinpoints every element one must expect from a Melodic Black Metal record. To many, Melodic Black Metal has been defined by Windir, personally Dissection did the original path on this and its best successor is Mgla.
Melo Black Metal is a more accessible form of Black Metal because it is often really well produced and the melodic elements are easier to get into the music. However, I kind of have a shorter fuse for it and the melodic elements often wear out fast to me. The Balfor version of MBM, is well rendered with a strong production and lots of strong moments like the song ‘’Among The Fallen Ones’’ the use of chorus, clean vocals, and even guitar solos give an epic depth to their BM. We hear every instrument and my first complaint is the screamed vocals that just don’t do it for me. They are flat and ugly and not the right kind of Black Metal ugly. The solid guitar work compensate for the one note vocals and the percussion are well handled as well.
Overall, Black Serpent Rising is a good record and it might please the fans of the band and the fans of the genre. It wasn’t convincing enough to make me return to it and as the repeated listens went, I found the album good but not great and it says everything it has to say. A record that is driven in the middle of the road and not taking any risks. No surprise you get what you signed for.
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