The Power Cosmic
“I am that which gives the night air its chill” - Byron Roberts, Bal-Sagoth.
Epic metal from the distant future, conveyed in modern times through the minds of a handful of top blokes from the North of England, The Power Cosmic visits legendary characters from scripture, fantasy and the mind of the human joint consciousness. The first thing to draw me in over this classic album is the iconic artwork. Bal-Sagoth are famous for inspiring their listeners with visions of grandeur only comparable to Tolkien or William Blake. The artwork isn't always a sign of great music, alas so many bands have fallen at this second hurdle, yet these guys certainly do not stumble, falter or even look like it. The record opens with classic spectacular synths and melodies which immediately whisk us away into the fantastical dimension of Bal-Sagoth, a name derived from a classic Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian) novel of the same name.
This cult fictional universe is descended upon time and again with every Bal-Sagoth release. The Power Cosmic takes a look at some distant future scenario in which humanity is challenged by ancient star gods to hand over its evolutionary power. With an epic battle played out during the nearly hour long orchestrated death metal, fantasy fans are treated to swerving story lines, vocals dripping with literary class and crowd pleasing death chants. As if a theatre, Byron Roberts voices the characters of humankind, the overlords and various forms of narration to the sound of the frantic pounding of drums and thrashing guitars. A layer of synths grants a totally unique feel to this group, and they are formed of brass-fare, strings and various sounds of bloody inference.
1999 was a year wrought with drama, the oncoming millennium, the dawn of a new future, a healthy interest in ancient scriptures, it was the perfect time to release this album. After a classical prelude, the knitting of the story begins. We are reminded of the vastness of space and its utter deadliness. The timescales of astronomy, the mystical relevance of astrological symbols, an almost theological scoring of fictional art drags us into an intense and flammable musical experience. As music with classical and rock fusions go, Bal-Sagoth did it before Metallica made S&M and their audiences are allowed to go mental. Plus it sounds devastatingly awesome.
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