This is upbeat black metal that uses blackened melodies and aspects of death metal as weapons in the war against their enemies. If you’re looking for music that’s direct and aggressive, yet still has depth and longevity, you’ve come to the right place.
With a solid sound Balfor have come to crush, maim and destroy. However, the way they do this is not without its nuance. The music may be muscular and taut, but it’s this without losing any of black metal’s inherent snake-like fluidity or slithering lethality.
The singer rasps and croaks his way through the tunes. With a voice that fits the style of blackened carnage well, he acts as a focal point for the energetic warmongering that’s raging around him. Clean vocals are used sparingly, sometimes at the fore of the music and at other times in a backing, support capacity. Both types are done well.
This isn’t unrestrained barbarity and brutality though; Balfor do have some considerate bones in their collective bodies. The music is heavy and aggressive, yes, but it’s tempered by good use of melodies and some aspects that see them occasionally emphasising an atmospheric riff over one that could easily just be a throwaway aggressive one. Subtle keyboards are also added into the mix here and there, further tempering the aggression and enhancing the atmospheric qualities of the music.
This is one of the reasons that Black Serpent Rising is better than a lot of ostensibly similar releases – the band know how to write decent songs and know that the aggression they have is all good fun, but it needs to be backed up by some depth of songwriting and guitarwork; thankfully these are things that the songs on this album don’t lack for.
Black Serpent Rising is heavy and energetic black metal that’s backed up with atmosphere, melody and a considerate assault.