HistoryFormed in 1992, Trollhättan, Sweden’s Lord Belial is a Swedish death metal band with a reputation for xenophobia. The band’s The Art Of Dying demo tape kicked things off in 1993 and was followed by Into The Frozen Shadows, which featured a flute. The three Backelins and Niclas Andersson signed with Stockholm’s No Fashion Records and issued the mildly zoophiliac Kiss The Goat in 1995. The album’s release was delayed due to the band’s dissatisfaction with the cover print. Enter The Moonlight Gate was recorded at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg. The album featured female vocals courtesy of Dark’s female consort. Headline shows and tours with Dismember and Disfear followed. The group also found time to appear on Iron Maiden and Bathory cover albums. The Unholy Crusade was recorded with Andy LaRocque at Los Angered studio. Vassago would depart in late 2000 citing personal differences with the Backelins. He would return in 2001 for two years before departing again. The guitarist would reappear in 2006.
Angelgrinder was supported through a tour with Corporation 187. Fredrik Wester departed reporting a lack of time. Micke would also temporarily leave. His replacement was Daniel Moilanen who himself would quit during the next album’s recordings precipitating Micke’s return in late 2003. The Seal Of Belial would be the band’s first for Regain Records and would be released with a one-year delay. The band had reportedly left No Fashion Records after the label refused to issue the song Purify Sweden. Metal Fortress Entertainment issued the Scythe Of Death EP in 2003. It featured the Purify Sweden track. Hjalmar Nielsen would join on guitar. He would depart after the completion of the recording for Revelation. His replacement would be the perennial favourite, Andersson.
The group was booked to play at the Wacken festival for 2008. Regain Records would re-release several demos of the band on CD. The release was called Ancient Demons. Regain Records released its new album, The Black Curse, in September through Regain Records. Seventeen years on Sweden’s Lord Belial called it a day in February of 2009 effective immediately. Drummer Micke Backelin had tinnitus and needed a medical break. The band returned only in the summer of 2010 and was writing new material. Lord Belial signed a deal with Dozer Records and would begin recording a new album. The gang split up in 2011, made the inevitable return in 2013 and split up of course in 2015.
LORD BELIAL - ANGELGRINDER - NO FASHION
This is the fourth album of the Swedish black/death quintet which is now back up to full strength with three guitars with the recent return of Niclas Pepa Andersson into the fold. Recorded at Los Angered Studio by Andy LaRocque, the album presents a gruesome image befitting its title. Flesh and blood is strewn and hacked everywhere. It's pretty gory all around. You have to love the album title too. One can imagine a big apparatus set up somewhere. You shove the angels into one end and obtain 'Turkey Bologna' at the other end.
Musically, a song like Burn The Kingdom Of Christ shows the band's influences. Representing the original Swedish death sound, Lord Belial comes across as incorporating elements akin to Vomitory and Necrophobic. They do incorporate melody and slower breaks amidst the mayhem. Sadly one hears keyboard and flute interludes here and there as well. A re-recorded and older song, Satan Divine, shows the band's lyrical progression more than anything with its simpler and shorter lyrics. The track packs a lovely solo though.
Sadly whatever the merits of the album, and there are several as you haveread, these are negated by the drum machine which covers most of Angelgrinder. The monotonous and lifeless drone of the offending computer plasters the album with a sound so generic and dreary that one frankly wonders why bands insist on using these. Will it really kill you to have your drummer play on the album? It could have saved your album you know.
LORD BELIAL - THE SEAL OF BELIAL - CANDLELIGHT
Long after its European release The Seal Of Belial, Lord Belial’s fifth, gets to North America through Candlelight. The three minute ”˜intro’ called Prolusio: Acies Sigillum somewhat reminds one of Cradle Of Filth. An atmospheric, slow to mid tempo Sons Of Belial opens the album. Chariot Of Fire is another of the relatively long five-minute plus songs here with a surprising and unexpected solo and double bass drums, but remains mostly at a slow tempo. Abysmal Hate starts off with a higher tempo and the band throws in a few growls and blasting drums, the guitar solos, however, still remain somehow unexpected but add a positive note to the songs. Legio Inferi features a few background effects and synthesizers making it less listenable but somewhat of a standout compared to the rest of the album. Mark Of The Beast reveals a bit of a Swedish metal influence but remains true to what preceded it. One of the highlights of the album is the, perhaps cliché, chorus of the song with its screams of “behold...666.” Armageddon Revelation and Scythe Of Death are further good indications of Lord Belial’s slow black metal style. - Anna Tergel
LORD BELIAL - REVELATION - THE 7TH SEAL - REGAIN
The Testament style intro, 7th Seal, paves the way for Ancient Splendor, which is quintessential melodic black metal. This is basically the standard black metal riffs, raspy vocals, melodic guitars and, unfortunately few, moments of speed. Aghast follows and the standard formula is not deviated from. Death As Solution takes a more heavy metal route and becomes less black metal despite or perhaps because it picks up the tempo for extended periods. It also includes a somehow unexpected dose of screaming vocals. Unspoken Veneration steps back into what is the norm, somewhat reminiscent of At The Gates. Death Cult Era is black metal on the simplistic raw side. Vile Intervention is slightly heavier. Gateway To Oblivion features another acoustic intro and some clean vocals, all in all this is Lord Belial’s version of a ballad. Unholy War features a hard rock-ish start and is mostly forgettable. Black Wings Of Death is unspectacular. Grievance is a kind of melancholic, atmospheric closer or outro. Revelation’s best moments are those that move it into the realms of Necrophobic but those moments don’t come along often. - Anna Tergel